Conferences and Meetings: October 2008

Presenter: Rory Barnes
Date/Time: October 7, 2008 02:30 PM Pacific

Abstract: The first terrestrial-like exoplanets will likely be observed in tight orbits around low-mass stars. Conveniently, planets on these orbits receive about as much starlight as the Earth does from the Sun, and hence have to potential to be habitable. Such planets may also experience significant tidal forces from the star which can result in orbital decay, a specific planetary rotation, and significant internal heating. I describe how these phenomena are likely to impact habitability. In some cases orbital decay may result in planets moving too close to their star for habitability. For planets on non-circular orbits, rotation periods may be similar to the Earth's and hence may produce similar atmospheric circulation patterns.

Salle Cassini, Observatoire de Paris, November 19-21 2008

Exoplanets are being discovered at an ever accelerating pace. As a result planetary scientists and astronomers are increasingly called upon to make the transition from discovery to characterization, so that we can begin the long journey of understanding these planets in the same way that we understand those in our own Solar System. Among the known exoplanets, hot-Jupiters and hot-Neptunes that transit their parent stars present the first real opportunities to determine key compositional and atmospheric parameters.