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Physics & Astronomy/STAR cluster seminar: Bulk Density and Transit Timings of Exoplanets

February 14 @ 2:30 pm

Ryan Comeau,
Bishop’s University

In recent years, astrophysicists have been able to detect extrasolar planets by means of observing transits (when the planet passes in front of its star relative to us). Over 4000 of them have been observed. Given the distance of extrasolar systems, it is necessary to develop a technique to measure their mass in order to plot on a mass-radius diagram. We cannot use techniques which involve measuring the semi-major axis as these planets are not observable like stars. In order to obtain the masses we will be making use of the N-body problem and marrying it with transit timings. By setting up the solar system and solving the ODEs of motion we can calculate the acceleration due to other bodies in the solar system and therefore determine the mass. With this we will be able to populate a mass-radius diagram and fill in the areas of the plot to gain statistical data regarding this mass-radius relationship.


February 14
2:30 pm
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Physics Department
819-822-9600 ext. 2355