Friday, February 16, 2007
Population Studies of Planets and Brown Dwarfs Orbiting Nearby Stars
Jet Propulsion Lab
I describe in this talk numerical and observational investigations into the populations of planets and brown dwarfs (brown dwarfs being the slightly larger counterparts to planets) that orbit nearby stars. The described numerical simulations push the envelope in our understanding of planet and brown dwarf populations by untangling what is often a complicated relationship between the true characteristics of exosolar systems and the snapshot data we collect from telescope imaging searches. The parallel observational component of this study involves using the Palomar Hale Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to search, via direct imaging, for planet and brown dwarf companions to nearby stars. Together, the numerical and observational components advance our understanding of the frequency and properties of planets and brown dwarfs, yielding insights into the origins and evolution of exosolar systems. These insights in turn help us understand whether our own solar system is a typical phenomenon or a rare occurrence.
Core involvement from Cal Poly Pomona undergraduate researchers has helped shape and advance this research program. This has included notable work in the development of numerical population simulations, as well as the carrying out of imaging searches using the Palomar Hale Telescope.
Refreshments at 4:00 PM. Seminar begins at 4:10 PM.
Building 8 (Science Bldg.) - Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014