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The Demographics of Exoplanets – Scott Gaudi

Date: Thu. March 4th, 2010, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

The physical processes that govern planet formation, migration, and evolution are imprinted on the orbital element and mass distributions of exoplanets. Theories of planet formation and evolution have matured to the point where specific predictions for these distributions have been made, yet there are relatively few robust comparisons of these predictions with observations. I will discuss the progress and prospects for measuring the demographics of exoplanets using a variety of techniques, emphasizing the importance of homogeneous statistical analyses and proper accounting of selection effects, and highlighting the ability of various techniques to probe complementary regions of parameter space. In particular, a combination of ongoing and near-future surveys should determine the demographics of exoplanets with mass greater than the Earth and separations out to beyond the snow line, and so provide crucial constraints on models of planet formation and evolution.

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