May 12, 2023

The ExoExplorer Science Series presents talks by cohort members Michelle Kunimoto (MIT) & Junellie González Quiles (Johns Hopkins) on May 12, 2023, from 11 AM - 12 PM Pacific / 2 PM - 3 PM Eastern. Connection information is below.

Speaker: Michelle Kunimoto (MIT)

Title: Diamonds in the Rough: Finding Thousands of New Planet Candidates Around Faint Stars

Abstract: The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission (TESS) enables the discovery of exoplanets around tens of millions of stars by regularly recording its entire field of view in Full Frame Images (FFIs). However, current TESS planet searches require significant manual inspection efforts to identify planets among transit-like detections, which limits their scope to small subsets of this stellar sample. I will present an ongoing search for transiting exoplanets around all ~20 million stars brighter than T = 13.5 mag that have been observed in TESS FFIs, made possible by the development of a near-fully automated vetting pipeline to efficiently distinguish planets from false positives. This search has uncovered ~2700 TESS Objects of Interest (TOIs), most of which are giant, close-in exoplanets around faint stars not explored by other searches. I will highlight some particularly exciting discoveries, including rare types of exoplanets and intriguing targets for atmospheric characterization. The automated vetting pipeline developed for this project, as well as the new candidates discovered in this ongoing search, will allow TESS to significantly improve the statistical power of demographic studies in the future.

Speaker: Junellie González Quiles (Johns Hopkins)

Title: Carbon Cycling on the TRAPPIST-1 Planets

Abstract: The TRAPPIST-1 planets have become prime targets for studying the habitability of planets around M-dwarf stars. Modeling geochemical cycles in these planets can provide insight on their evolution and their potential for habitability. Through planet formation and long-term tectonic evolution, there is an exchange of volatiles between the interior and the atmosphere of rocky planets. We model the combined deep water and carbonate-silicate cycles to trace the production of different gas species including hydrogen, water, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. We also aim to study how exoplanet interior structure and material properties, like oxygen fugacity, influence the atmosphere of these planets. These outgassing models can help us understand the evolution of the atmospheric composition and its effect on planetary climate. We present the results from our models, which include the atmospheric abundances as well as the surface and mantle temperatures of exoplanets TRAPPIST-1 d, e and f.

Meeting link:
Meeting number:
2763 643 6746