Exploring the nature of hot exoplanet atmospheres
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Space Research Institute
September 12th, 2017
Planetary transits have proven to be one of the most efficient means of finding planets outside the Solar system, counting over 2500 exoplanet discoveries. These transiting planets are paramount for the study of exoplanet atmospheres as the stellar light is filtered through the planetary atmosphere during transit and planetary absorption signatures become imprinted on the stellar spectrum. Observations of hot-Jupiter transmission spectra have become increasingly numerous and reliable throughout recent years, allowing detailed constrains on the planet's physical and chemical atmospheric properties, interactions between planet and host star, and planet formation history. While early work relied largely on space-based facilities, ground-based techniques have seen major advances recently and have become instrumental in performing an extensive and comparative study of exoplanet atmospheres. I will review the current state of knowledge, summarize recent results and discuss future prospects of exoplanet characterization, with a focus on the potential of ground-based facilities. In particular, I will present recent and new results by our team on the transmission spectra of hot Jupiters.