Astrophysics Seminar: Kyle Franson, UT Austin


Location: 184 Nieuwland Science Hall (View on map )

Astrometric Accelerations as Dynamical Beacons: Imaging Planets and Brown Dwarfs Around Accelerating Stars

Kyle Franson
Graduate Student Fellow, Department of Astronomy
UT Austin

Directly imaged planets and brown dwarfs are key tools for studying the formation, evolution, and atmospheric physics of wide-separation substellar objects. Dynamical masses of these objects are especially valuable as they enable robust tests of cooling models. However, only about two dozen imaged substellar companions have dynamical masses, with only five in the planetary regime. This reflects the challenge of imaging wide-separation planets and brown dwarfs due to their low occurrence rate and high contrasts relative to their host stars. In this talk, I will discuss two channels to add new benchmark planets and brown dwarfs to this sample. First, I will showcase recent dynamical mass measurements of existing substellar companions enabled by Gaia. I will then discuss our ongoing high-contrast imaging survey to efficiently discover new wide-separation planets by targeting stars exhibiting small proper motion differences between Hipparcos and Gaia. This efficient program has already delivered exciting results, including the lowest-mass imaged exoplanet with a dynamical mass.

Hosted by Prof. Crepp