APL Colloquium

December 20, 2019

Colloquium Topic: Hubble’s Panchromatic Comparative View of Exoplanet Atmospheres

To date, Hubble has played the definitive role in the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres.  From the first planets available, we have learned that their atmospheres are incredibly diverse. With HST, JWST, and TESS a new era of atmospheric studies is opening up, where wide scale comparative planetology is now possible.  Such studies can provide insight into the underlying physical process through comparative studies.  Hubble’s full spectroscopic capabilities are now being used to produce the first large-scale, simultaneous UVOIR comparative study of 20 exoplanets ranging from super-Earth to Neptune and Jupiter sizes. With full UV to infrared wavelength coverage, an entire planet’s atmosphere can be probed simultaneously and with sufficient numbers of planets, it will be possible to statistically compare their features with physical parameters. The panchromatic treasury program aims at build a lasting HST legacy, providing the UV and blue-optical exoplanet spectra which will be unavailable to JWST, providing key insights into clouds and mass loss.  I will review the highlights of the program to date, which include atmospheric water resolved in emission and new absorption features seen in transmission such as escaping ionized metals.  I will also present the latest findings from the ongoing Hubble Treasury program and discuss synergies with JWST.

Colloquium Speaker: David Sing

David Sing earned his PhD at the University of Arizona in 2005 where he studied cataclysmic variable stars.  He was a postdoc at the IAP in Paris for three years starting in 2006 and his research since that time has concentrated on characterizing the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets.  He joined the University of Exeter as a faculty member in 2009 and moved last year to John Hopkins University where he is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor.