Our Galactic Neighbourhood: what we can learn from exoplanets and interstellar objects

Tim Hallatt (McGill University)

Apr 22, 2021 7:00 PM

Join us for our second astronomy public lecture of the year, where MSI graduate student Tim Hallatt will be telling us about the fascinating world of exoplanets and interstellar objects.


In the past two decades, thousands of planets have been discovered orbiting stars other than our Sun (termed 'exoplanets'). We now know that our solar system is likely one of billions of planetary systems in our Milky Way galaxy. With this 'exoplanet revolution', a new field of astrophysics has emerged - the study of exoplanet demographics. In this talk I will explore recent advances in this exciting new field, both from an observational point of view (how are exoplanets discovered, and how are their masses, radii, and orbital distances distributed?), as well as a theoretical point of view (what fundamental physics sculpts exoplanet populations?). In the second part of my talk, I will discuss a related emerging field of astrophysics, the study of interstellar objects. These comets and asteroids travel freely through our Milky Way galaxy, and occasionally pass through our own cosmic backyard. By studying them up close as they pass through our solar system, we may be able to learn about the planetary systems they originate from in exquisite detail. Hundreds more of these interstellar bodies will likely be discovered in the next decade, and may jumpstart a new revolution in the study of planetary objects.

The event will be broadcast live on AstroMcGill's Facebook Page.

Burning questions? You can submit them to the speaker prior to the talk here.

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