Distant Worlds: the remarkable Diversity of Planets outside the Solar System
by Dr. Monika Lendl (IWF - ÖAW)
at SMI - Boltzmanngasse 3, 1090 Wien ( 3-2-08 - Seminarraum )
Dr. Monika Lendl
Planets outside the Solar System, "exoplanets", have become one of the most active research fields in Astronomy. Since the first discovery 22 years ago, more than 3000 planets are currently known to orbit stars other than our Sun. These planets and planetary systems have revealed to be remarkably different from our own Solar System, featuring highly irradiated "hot Jupiters" and low-density mini-Neptunes. Planets passing in front of their host stars as seen from Earth are Rosetta stones, as we can measure their true masses, radii and densities, as well as study their atmospheric properties.
In this talk, I will review the currently known exoplanet population, and discuss implications for planet formation and evolution processes. I will highlight the most tantalizing recent discoveries and pathways towards the discovery of an Earth analog. I will further discuss our observational program to study planetary atmospheres with 8m-class telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope. I will conclude by discussing the expected progress from upcoming space missions and their Austrian contributions.