Past Event

CANCELLED: The Peril and Promise of Three-Dimensional Worlds

February 1, 2023
4:05 PM - 5:05 PM
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Pupin 1402

Colloquium by Emily Rauscher, University of Michigan

Much to the consternation of spherical cows everywhere, planets are three-dimensional objects. This is even true for exoplanets because, although they are generally unresolvable in the glare from the stars around which they orbit, when we interpret atmospheric measurements of these worlds it may be inappropriate to pretend that all regions of the planet have the same temperature and composition. In fact, we may trick ourselves and retrieve biased values when we use 1-D models to interpret atmospheric characterization measurements. This is particularly true for the high signal-to-noise type of exoplanet known as “hot Jupiters” because of the intense stellar heating they receive on their permanent day sides. In this talk, I will discuss how we can turn this challenge into an opportunity, using 3-D models of exoplanet atmospheres to uncover the influence of complex physics in different types of observations and thereby empirically constrain the inherently 3-D structure of these planets. I will explain ways we can measure the spatial structure of exoplanet atmospheres and discuss my group's 3-D modeling work, highlighting connections to observations. The necessity of a 3-D approach to exoplanet atmospheric characterization is becoming more compelling as we move into the era of JWST and Extremely Large Telescopes, with their upcoming exquisitely detailed measurements.

Followed by wine and cheese.

Host: David Kipping