How do planetary systems form and evolve? What kinds of planets are out there?
I use a combination of space- and ground-based telescopes to characterize the properties of planets orbiting nearby stars.
In most cases we cannot directly image planets orbiting nearby stars, but we can use observations of eclipsing systems to characterize their atmospheric properties, including their compositions, temperatures, and climate patterns.
An Ode to gas giants
Gas giant planets dominate the formation and evolution of planetary systems, but we are only beginning to detect Jupiter analogues around nearby stars. How common are these planets, and how does their presence affect the properties of inner planetary systems?
PLanet or Failed Star?
Direct imaging surveys have uncovered a population of objects approximately ten times the mass of Jupiter on very wide orbits. Are these objects simply scaled up versions of Jupiter or could they be failed stars instead?
Banner image credit: NASA/International Space Station