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Small Stars with Small Planets and Big Consequences
February 5, 201811:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

Small Stars with Small Planets and Big Consequences


Phil Muirhead (Boston University)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

M dwarf stars dominate stellar populations, and recent results from NASA’s Kepler Mission suggest rocky planets are abundant around M dwarf stars. With so many planets orbiting M dwarfs, exoplanet scientists can now turn to questions about their history, evolution and potential habitability. Unfortunately, measuring fundamental properties of M dwarfs is challenging for a variety of reasons. I will discuss the importance of near-infrared spectroscopy in this effort, presenting recent results from our programs at Keck Observatory, Palomar Observatory and the Discovery Channel Telescope. With near-infrared, high-resolution spectroscopy covering Y to K band, we can measure detailed fundamental properties of low-mass stars and their orbiting exoplanets. M dwarf characterization will be especially important in the coming years, when the TESS spacecraft is expected to discover five times as many planets orbiting low-mass stars as Kepler.

Video Recording

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