Paula Sarkis (Lebanon)
sarkis @ mpia.de
Transiting Exoplanets: Linking Observations and Theory
The discovery of the first transiting exoplanet HD209458b revealed an unexpectedly large radius that cannot be explained by standard evolution models. It has been shown that this anomaly stands for most of the hot Jupiters and different mechanisms have been proposed to explain their large radii. The most recognised theories either include energy transport to the interior or a slowing down of the cooling, leading to less contraction. While these mechanisms can explain the size of some inflated hot Jupiters, they cannot explain the whole population. To this date, more than 200 hot Jupiters have been detected which allows us to approach the problem within a statistical framework. We model the thermal evolution of each planet and quantify the entropy needed to match the observations. Our goal is to compare the results with the theoretical predictions. Since hot Jupiters are very close to the star, they are easily detected, and as a consequence most of the planets discovered in transiting surveys are hot Jupiters. The confirmation and characterisation of new hot Jupiters is important and extremely valuable to increase the number of known hot Jupiters. For this, I am also involved in the HatSouth survey where the primary goal is to discover new transiting exoplanets.
Supervisor: Thomas Henning (MPIA), Christoph Mordasini (University of Bern)