1. Environmental Sciences Department Seminar

    "Exoplanets"

    Presented by Warren Wiscombe, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Friday, June 14, 2013, 11 am
    Conference Room, Bldg 815E

    Hosted by: Ernie Lewis

    Exoplanets are being discovered at an accelerating rate since 1995. Beginning with Jupiter-sized and larger planets, the gallery has enlarged to include super-Earths (1.5 to 2x the radius of Earth) and bodies smaller than Earth as well. There are no less than four different methods used to detect exoplanets, although the transit method, exemplified by the Kepler telescope in space, has bagged by far the largest number of detections. The watchword in exoplanet research has become "we can predict nothing" since many of the discoveries have defied traditional theories. Categories of exoplanets have been discovered that "should not" exist, for example hot Jupiters and planets around binary stars. This talk shall attempt to overview the methods used to detect exoplanets, a few of the important discoveries, and what lies ahead.