LPL Colloquium: Dr. Jonathan Fortney

Exoplanetary Atmospheres and the JWST Revolution


3:45 to 4:45 p.m., Oct. 10, 2023


Dr. Jonathan Fortney
Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

In this talk I will showcase new observations of transiting planets, directly imagined planets, and brown dwarfs from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), along with new modeling work to understand these observations. For the first time, JWST has allowed high signal-to-noise spectra for these objects over a broad infrared wavelength range. Giant planet atmospheres appear typically metal-enriched compared to their parent stars, which provides new insight on the planet formation process. The roles of atmospheric mixing and photochemistry, which drive atmospheres away from chemical equilibrium molecular abundances, are ubiquitous in these atmospheres, as had been suggested from previous generations of atmosphere models. Lastly, I will discuss early observations of the hottest planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system of 7 Earth sized planets, a system which is targeted by many early JWST programs. All of these observations expand our phase phase of planetary atmospheric physics and chemistry, and help us place our solar system in context.

Learn more about Dr. Fortney.