Department of Astronomy Center for Radiophysics & Space Research

Planet Formation at Home and Abroad

2Thursday, Nov. 2
Hilke Schlichting, Dept of Physics and Space Sciences, UCLA
4:00pm, 105 Space Sciences Bldg.
“The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium”

Abstract: Recent observations by the Kepler space telescope have led to the discovery of more than 4000 exoplanet candidates consisting of many systems with Earth- to Neptune-sized objects that reside well inside the orbit of Mercury, around their respective host stars. How and where these close-in planets formed is one of the major unanswered questions in planet formation. I will present new results concerning initial disk masses and work that self-consistently treat the nebular gas accretion onto rocky cores and the subsequent evolution of gas envelopes due to cooling and photo-evaporation following the dispersal of the protoplanetary disk. I will demonstrate that planets shed their outer layers (dozens of percent in mass) following the disk's dispersal (even without photo-evaporation), and that their atmospheres shrink in a few Myr to a thickness comparable to the radius of the underlying rocky core. I will conclude with discussing the implications of these new results for the origin and formation of terrestrial planets in our solar system and for close in exoplanets and for identifying true Earth analogues