Dr. Sasha Hinkley
Date: March 2, 2022
Time: 3:30 pmTitle: Direct Imaging and Characterization of Exoplanets with JWST and Beyond
Although most of the extrasolar planets identified to date have only been indirectly detected based on some effect they have on their host star’s light, we now have direct images of a number of massive gaseous exoplanets at wide orbital separations. This collection of directly imaged exoplanets is already providing valuable direct atmospheric characterization. In this talk, I will discuss how our opportunities with the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope will begin to address some of the most fundamental questions in exoplanetary science. These questions center around our ability to ultimately link our measurements of the atmospheric compositions of exoplanets with a formation history, as well as how we can once-and-for-all address the demographics of low-mass exoplanets at wide separations by utilizing the promise of techniques rooted in Data Science. I will also discuss how the Gaia astrometric mission is already pointing the way to numerous additional massive planets that will be well-suited for direct characterization with instruments like the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). Observations with instruments like GPI will enlighten the earliest thermal histories of these self-luminous planets, still an area of great uncertainty for models of planet formation. Lastly, I will discuss upcoming opportunities in the next 5-6years with the 39m Extremely Large Telescope, which will have the capability to directly observe Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of their host stars.