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Special Presentations

Imaging Planetary Systems: Progress and Prospects

Presented by: Marshall Perrin (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Category: Science Colloquia   Duration: 1 hour   Broadcast date: January 12, 2017
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High-contrast imaging of nearby planetary systems now allows us to directly observe both their largest and smallest components: their giant Jovian planets and the tiny planetesimals that make up dusty circumstellar disks. For planets, measurements of atmospheric spectra and orbital motions are advancing our understanding of planetary demographics and atmospheric physics. For disks, we can not only place constraints on the physical properties and composition of the dust particles, we are increasingly able to investigate the dynamical interactions between disks and planets. These observations are enabled by sophisticated instrumentation that combines wavefront control, coronagraphic diffraction suppression, integral field spectroscopy and polarimetry, and advanced data processing methods. I will highlight some recent results from the Gemini Planet Imager and our team’s ongoing GPI Exoplanet Survey. JWST will be a powerful facility for further characterizing such planets at longer infrared wavelengths, for a handful of worlds at relatively wide separations. The WFIRST Coronagraphic Imager will be the next revolutionary step forward, using many technologies similar to GPI but in space to reach unprecedented contrasts and begin the study of closer worlds in reflected light.