Dr Subhanjoy Mohanty, Read in Astrophysics at Imperial College London, discusses the latest developments in astronomy.
The discovery of extrasolar planets (planets orbiting other stars, beyond our own Solar System) ranks among the most momentous advances in the history of human endeavour. The pace of discovery has accelerated tremendously over the last decade, with over 3000 planetary candidates known so far, and new ones coming to light almost daily. These range from hot Jupiters in orbits tighter than Mercury's, to ice giants and water-worlds, to Earth-size planets within the Habitable Zones of their parent stars. The bewildering array of planetary properties and system architectures points to a diversity of underlying physical processes involved in the formation and evolution of these objects. In this talk, Dr Mohanty shall outline our current understanding of these processes, summarise how we detect these planets, detail the emerging picture of their physical characteristics, and discuss the implications for exoplanet habitability and prospects for investigating this in the near future.
See this map for directions to the venue -- the Business and Law Building is number 17 on the map.