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Lonely Planets – direct imaging discoveries of gas giant exoplanets with the Young Suns Exoplanet Survey

Abstract: We have indirectly detected thousands of planets beyond our Solar System through the effect they have on their parent stars, either by the reflex motion of their orbit or when the planet’s orbit causes the planet to transit the disk of the star. For young gas giant exoplanets, they glow in the near infrared from the latent heat of their formation, and we can directly image these planets and understand their chemistry and cloud formation in their atmospheres.

In Leiden we have been leading the Young Suns Exoplanet Survey (YSES) using the Very Large Telescope with the infra-red imaging camera SPHERE to look at 70 stars that are very similar in mass to the Sun, but are only about 17 million years old. We will describe how we take the observations and show the exoplanets that we have discovered over the past two years, explain what we can learn about planet formation, and discuss planned observations with the James Webb Space Telescope and the Extremely Large Telescopes.


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Prof. Matthew Kenworthy, Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands

January 26, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm