Connecting the chemical properties of exoplanets and their atmospheres to planet formation

Astronomy Unit Seminars
Ralph Pudritz
Richard Nelson
June 10th, 2016 at 14:30
GO Jones Room 610

With over three thousand confirmed exoplanets known, distinct planetary populations that bear little resemblance to the Solar System can now be discerned. Among these are Hot Jupiters orbiting at the relative orbit of Mercury, warm and more massive Jupiters at 1 AU, and the dominant population of SuperEarths and mini Neptunes with their close-in orbits. How are planetary properties, in particular their chemical composition and that of their atmospheres, connected to their formation in evolving protoplanetary disks?   Protoplanetary disks have a number of inhomogeneities such as dead zones,  ice lines, and heat transition regions that can dynamically trap forming planets. These, in turn, imprint characteristic orbital and chemical properties on planetary populations. By computing the chemistry in evolving disks during planet formation and migration, we determine the materials out of which planets are built. I will review these physical processes and discuss my group's first results on the chemical composition of planetary populations and their atmospheres, and how these connect with current observations.