The Whole Iceberg: Completing the Census of Exoplanets with the WFIRST Microlensing Survey
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher
The Ohio State University
The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will be NASA's next flagship mission to follow James Webb. Roughly a quarter of WFIRST's primary mission will be spent conducting an exoplanet microlensing survey. The survey will provide a statistical assay of the cold exoplanet population with masses greater than that of Mars and orbits beyond ~1 AU, with a total planet yield comparable to Kepler's. It will also measure the mass function of free-floating planets potentially down into the mass regime of large Kuiper Belt Objects.
In his talk Dr. Penny will discuss the importance of measuring cold exoplanet demographics, introduce how microlensing is used to detect planets, and describe the expected highlights of the WFIRST microlensing survey.