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The Outer Architecture of Planetary Systems

Colloquium: Astronomy Colloquia | April 10 | 4:10 p.m. | 1 LeConte Hall


Brendan Bowler, Caltech

Department of Astronomy


High-contrast imaging is a powerful tool to probe the outer architecture of planetary systems and directly study the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. Adaptive optics imaging surveys have so far primarily focused on intermediate- and high-mass stars, revealing a handful of self-luminous planets. Yet M dwarfs have largely been neglected, despite having more favorable planet-star contrasts and representing about 75% of all stars. I will discuss current constraints on planetary systems beyond ~10 AU, focusing in particular on discoveries and new statistical results from the Planets Around Low-Mass Stars (PALMS) high-contrast AO imaging survey at Keck and Subaru. With a sample size of over 120 young M dwarfs, PALMS is the largest direct imaging planet search in this stellar mass regime. Altogether, complementary planet-finding techniques sensitive to a broad range of separations are beginning to map the complete architecture of giant planets around the most common stars in our galaxy.


rhelgens@astro.berkeley.edu, 510-642-5275