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Extrasolar Planets: April 2012


For centuries, theories of planet formation were guided exclusively by our solar system. However, the discovery of planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets) has demonstrated that nature often produces planetary systems quite different from our own, neither anticipated by nor well explained by the current theories of solar system formation and dynamics.

In this one week program, scientists from the fields of planetary science, celestial mechanics, astronomy and astrophysics will meet to discuss new developments in the field of extrasolar multi-planet systems. Our workshop will provide an environment where these scientists can present new ideas, discuss their implications for identifying the most important problems in the field and chart the field's future direction.

The meeting will be held either February 9-15 or February 10-16, 2013. We anticipate nearly 100 participants. The Aspen Center for Physics will coordinate applications, registration and housing. We will update the meeting website with information as these details become available. See the ACP website for further information about registration, housing and day care for previous winter meetings. Young scientists, women and underrepresented minorities are all encouraged to apply.

Date/Time: Monday, April 30, 2012 11:00 AM Pacific

Presenter: Natalie Batalha (San Jose State University)

Abstract: Humankind's speculation about the existence of other worlds like our own turned into a veritable quest with the launch of NASA's Kepler spacecraft in March 2009. The mission is designed to survey a slice of the Milky Way Galaxy to identify planets via transit photometry. The last year of science operation has been a year of milestones in terms of exoplanet characterization: rocky, Earth-size, circumbinary, Habitable Zone, and even invisible planets have made headlines. However, the real work lies in the large sample statistics of the catalogs of viable planet candidates -- statistics that will drive us toward a determination of eta-earth. The Kepler team recently released its third catalog, consisting of 2,321 viable candidates associated with 1,790 stars. Dr. Batalha will describe some of the milestone discoveries that have marked the last year, the make-up of the new catalog, and the strategies moving forward, especially with regards to the recent decision by NASA HQ to support a four year extended mission.

For more information and participation instructions visit: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/seminars/detail/203 . Participation requires only an Internet connection and a browser.