Roper Mountain Astronomers

Upcoming events

    • August 19, 2021
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM (EDT)
    • Roper Mountain Science Center -David H. Wilkins Conference Center (also Zoom Virtual Meeting.)
    • 89

    The Formation of Planets: Progress, Problems, and Prospects


    Understanding the formation of planets remains one of astronomy’s most rewarding challenges. It is an important part of our quest to understand our own cosmic origins, and it bears on the possibility of life on other worlds. Dramatic progress has been made in the opening decades of the 21st century, however, significant questions remain unanswered. We now know that planets in our galaxy are ubiquitous and that the most common kinds of planets are super-Earths or mini-Neptunes (planets 3-10 times as massive as Earth). The variety of architectures of planetary systems is still being explored, but there are important gaps in our knowledge of where planets are typically located. For example, it is not clear how common gas giant planets in the outer regions of stellar systems form. We know that Jupiter played a pivotal role in early evolution of our own planet, but we don’t yet know how common it is for gas giant planets to form exterior to closer in terrestrial planets. I’ll describe the challenges involved in detecting these illusive objects, why they are important for putting our own Solar System into a cosmic context, and the opportunities emerging technology will provide to address this issue in the near future.

    Speaker:    Sean Brittain

    Educational Background

    BS, Chemical Physics, LeTourneau University, 1997
    MS, Physics, Univ. of Notre Dame, 2000
    PhD, Physics , Univ. of Notre Dame, 2004

    Profile/About Me

    My principal research focus is on understanding the origin of structures in disks that could potentially point to the presence of planets. Our work has demonstrated an inconsistency between the occurrence rate of putative signposts of planets and the occurrence rate of planets around young stars. We have proposed a series of hypotheses that can account for this incongruency, and we are using high-resolution near infrared spectroscopy to test these hypotheses.

    Research Interests

    Star and Planet formation
    Astrophysical Spectroscopy

Past events

June 17, 2021 Lucy and Europa Clipper: The Next NASA Missions to Jupiter's Orbit
May 20, 2021 Arne Henden-Variable Stars and minor planet astrometry
April 15, 2021 Alan Sturgis -Nasa Engineer
March 18, 2021 March Meeting: PLUTO OUR DISTANT COUSIN
February 18, 2021 The Human Cosmos
January 21, 2021 Planet Patrol: A NASA Citizen Science Program to Discover New Exoplanets
January 16, 2021 Star Party-Jan is cancelled due to Covid-19 risk
December 17, 2020 The Latest Gravitational Wave Events
November 19, 2020 November Club Meeting: Long Period Variable (LPV) Stars in Globular Clusters
November 13, 2020 Under One Sky 2020 Global Conference-International Dark Sky
October 15, 2020 David Moffett-Strange Stellar Remnants
October 01, 2020 Galileo and the Science Deniers
September 17, 2020 Virtual Tour of the World Largest Meteorite Collection
August 20, 2020 Josh Palmer - Planetary and ISS Photography
July 16, 2020 Club Monthly Meeting - July
June 18, 2020 June Monthly Club Meeting
May 21, 2020 May Club Monthly Meeting
April 24, 2020 Livestream Star Party - Whipple Observatory
April 23, 2020 April Club Monthly Meeting- Will be on-line
April 23, 2020 Southern Star Astronomy Convention - Canceled
April 19, 2020 International Dark Sky Week
April 18, 2020 Star Party April-Canceled
March 21, 2020 The March Star Party is canceled
March 19, 2020 March Club Monthly Meeting is Cancelled
March 04, 2020 Special Presentation : MONSTERS IN THE COSMIC SEA
February 22, 2020 Star Party February
February 20, 2020 February Club Monthly Meeting -- Canceled due to weather
February 10, 2020 Seeds in Space
January 25, 2020 Star Party
January 21, 2020 Project Artemis-Forward to the Moon
January 16, 2020 January Club Monthly Meeting
November 23, 2019 Star Party
November 21, 2019 November RMA Club Meeting
November 14, 2019 November RMA Board Meeting
October 05, 2019 Star Party Rain Date
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