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Astronomy Colloquium
Exploring Exoplanets in the Era of JWST and Beyond
Date: Thursday, May 2nd
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Knicole Colon, NASA's Goddard
Abstract: We are in an extraordinary era of exoplanet science. This is thanks in great part to the number of current and upcoming facilities that are designed to enable the discovery of exoplanet systems or provide detailed characterization of exoplanets and their host stars across a range of ultraviolet to infrared wavelengths. In particular, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which successfully launched in late 2021, is the premier space-based facility for near- and mid-infrared astronomy over 0.6-28.5 microns. The 6.5-meter telescope is specifically equipped with four state-of-the-art instruments that include capabilities for imaging, spectroscopy, and coronagraphy. JWST is providing unprecedented sensitivity enabling detailed studies of both transiting and directly-imaged exoplanets and their atmospheres. In this talk, I will review key exoplanet science results achieved so far with JWST and present results from some of our ongoing Cycle 1 and 2 programs to study giant and rocky transiting planets. I will then provide a look ahead at one of the next exciting exoplanet observatories that is planned to launch next year: a new SmallSat mission called Pandora that is being led out of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and that is designed to study the impact of star spots on the spectra of exoplanet atmospheres. Together, observatories like JWST and Pandora are poised to re-write exoplanet textbooks for years to come.
Host: Ke Zhang
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