Brown Bag Colloquium

Monday, Feb 18, 2013
12:00 pm
Location: Kuiper Space Sciences
Room: 309

Dr. Travis Barman
Assistant Astronomer
Lowell Observatory

Characterizing the Atmospheres of Transiting Planets


Planets are now routinely found orbiting a variety of stellar hosts and a small fraction of these are amenable to atmospheric study. Theoretical models of giant planet atmospheres are evolving in tandem with the observations and are playing an ever increasing role in giant planet characterization. I will discuss how these models and precise observations of planet radii and fluxes are combined to obtain information about the chemical composition and thermal structure of transiting planets. Observations from Spitzer, Hubble, and several large ground-based telescopes have led to useful limits on important atmospheric constituents like water, methane, carbon monoxide for a few systems. I will describe how these observations compare with model predictions and how improvements might be achieved through new modeling endeavors and dedicated ground-based efforts.