Directly Imaging and Characterizing Extrasolar Planets

Direct imaging is the new frontier in exoplanet detection and the means by which we will eventually discover a true Earth twin around a Sun-like star. In this talk, I introduce the new observing techniques/powerful image processing methods used to directly image planets.  I will describe in detail several imaged exoplanetary systems – including Fomalhaut and HR 8799 — which have surprising properties, in particular their atmospheres/sources of emission.   The next 5-10 years will see an explosion of new discoveries in this field due to the commissioning of ground-based extreme adaptive optics imagers capable of revealing young Jupiter/Saturn planets and (perhaps) molten super-Earths almost ten million times fainter than the host stars at small angular separations. I will close by discussing the design, performance, and science case for the first (working) extreme-AO system — the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) project with which I’m involved.

Cody Hall

Thayne Currie (Toronto)

September 20, 2013
14:00 - 15:00