Exoplanets

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New extrasolar planets are being discovered all the time by both spacecraft and ground-based instruments.  As technology improves, it becomes easier to find planets of varying sizes and distances from their parent stars, and it also becomes possible to analyze their composition, temperature, and other properties.

Prof. Jonathan Mitchell uses observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope and computer simulations to better understand the atmospheres of giant planets around other stars.  Prof. Michael Fitzgerald works with the new Gemini Planet Imager project to directly image gas giant planets in young star systems by blocking out the blinding light from the parent star.  Prof. Brad Hansen is interested in planets that orbit close to their parent star and the instabilities and temperature variations that result.  Prof. James Larkin works in the UCLA Infrared Laboratory to design and construct specialized infrared cameras for planet finding projects including the Gemini Planet Imager.  Prof. Benjamin Zuckerman is involved in several extrasolar planet searches including direct imaging and ground-based endeavors.

Faculty

fitzgerald hansen larkin mitchell
Michael Fitzgerald Brad Hansen James Larkin Jonathan Mitchell
zuckerman
Benjamin Zuckerman

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Recent Publications

Fang, J., and Margot, J.-L. (2013). Are planetary systems filled to capacity? A study based on Kepler results. The Astrophysical Journal, 767(2), 115.