Dr. Diana Dragomir, research professor at the University of New Mexico, will present the Physics Department colloquium. Her research focuses on the demographics and atmospheres of exoplanets smaller than Neptune and orbiting bright, nearby stars. Her talk is "Highlights from TESS’ First Bright Year and Future Plans."
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has just passed the halfway point of its two-year primary mission. TESS has generated so many exciting discoveries -- both within and without the exoplanet field -- even just during its first few months,that a 2.2-year extended mission has already been approved by NASA. Dragomir will highlight the key results so far, including a number of unusual new planetary systems. She will also describe the vibrant community process that leads from the discovery to the confirmation of TESS exoplanets.
The most conspicuous legacy that TESS promises to leave is the discovery of individual systems suitable for detailed atmospheric characterization. She will argue, however, that the survey can prompt a revolution in exoplanet research simply by considerably increasing the number of small planets transiting bright stars. These planets will be accessible to a wide swath of follow-up observations, including measurements of their mass, dynamical properties and system architecture, as well as the precise characterization of their host stars. The exoplanet community will be able to leverage this enhanced ensemble to uncover new statistical trends and gain deeper insights into the composition, dynamical evolution, and ultimately the formation of small exoplanets.
Dragomir will also discuss TESS' growing impact on solar system, stellar, galactic and extragalactic science.
4 p.m. in Workman 101.