The Climate of Short Period Planets
Nicolas Cowan, McGill University
NASA's Kepler mission has recently completed a census of planets and capped two decades of planet hunting. The most surprising discovery is that there are many planets orbiting close to their host star; there are no such planets in the Solar System. These short-period planets range from gas giants that orbit stars once a day, to rocky worlds that orbit red dwarf stars once a month.
Copernicanism has failed: most stars have planetary systems that do not resemble ours, and the vast majority of temperate terrestrial planets orbit dim red stars rather than "normal" yellow stars. Our notions of planetary climate are therefore undergoing a revolution as we struggle to understand how typical planetary atmospheres work.
In this overview talk, I will introduce exoplanets, summarize their demographics, and describe how we characterize their atmospheres.