Planetary Evolution in Two Acts: Eclipsing Disks and Transiting Planets

Joseph Rodriguez, Jr.

Future Faculty Leaders Postdoc Fellow

Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The success of ground-based transit and RV surveys, and the Kepler/K2 mission, has shifted the exoplanet field from pure discovery to a combination of discovery, demographic analysis, and detailed characterization, especially for exoplanet atmospheres. Unfortunately, most known transiting exoplanet hosts are too faint to permit atmospheric characterization. We are using data from the TESS, K2, and ground-based transit surveys like the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) project to find planets around bright stars while addressing specific questions about planet formation and evolution. We are also studying the birthplaces of planets by searching for occultations of newly formed stars by their protoplanetary disks with our Disk Eclipse Search with KELT (DESK) survey. These systems provide insight into the conditions required for planet formation. Dr. Rodriguez will describe his results and discuss how we will search for these kinds of objects in future surveys such as LSST.