News Stories

Physics Seminar, Revealing the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Super-Earths

Dear CSE Students, Faculty and Staff,

You are invited to attend the:

Physics Seminar, Revealing the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Super-Earths

Thursday, January 21st from 12:30-1:20pm

Via Zoom:

Speaker: Eliza Kempton, Assoc. Professor of Astronomy at University of Maryland, College Park


Abstract: Super-Earths (planets with masses and sizes intermediate between the Earth and Neptune) do not exist in our Solar System, and models of planet formation and evolution are unable to uniquely predict their bulk compositions. Whether these planets are primarily rocky, gassy, or icy — and, if all three possibilities exist, how the dividing lines between sub-classes are sculpted — remains the subject of vigorous scientific discourse.  The atmospheres of super-Earths are an astronomical observer’s window into the composition of these planets.


I will present the current state of atmospheric modeling and observations of super-Earth exoplanets, focusing on the challenges of uniquely inferring their key physical properties. I will then turn to a forward-looking view of the coming decade with regard to upcoming observational facilities such as the James Webb Space Telescope and ground-based thirty-meter class telescopes, and how these facilities will revolutionize our understanding of super-Earths and their atmospheres. 


I hope to see you there!