Professor Michal Simon
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, February 17, 2012

Finding Planets Around Bright Stars

Astronomers now know about more than 700 exoplanets and another couple thousand await confirmation.  The planetary systems they form are totally unlike ours.  Jupiter-sized planets orbiting their stars with periods of a few days, other systems with planets orbiting in a direction opposite to that of the rotation of the star,  multi-planet systems with a range of orbital inclinations, and an exoplanet orbiting a stellar binary.   These discoveries challenge astronomers' understanding of planet formation; Dr. Simon will describe how theorists are struggling to keep up with the treasure of new discoveries.