Bulk Composition and Habitability of Sub-Neptune-Size Exoplanets
When: April 22, 2014 3PM PDT
Sub-Neptune and super-Earth sized planets are a new planet category. They account for 80% of the planet candidates discovered by Kepler, and 0% of the planets in the Solar System. What is the nature of these sub-Neptune-size planets, how did they form, why are they so numerous, and could they support liquid water oceans? Dr. Rogers will review some highlights from the complement of exotic sub-Neptune-size planets discovered to date and will present an updated planet mass-radius diagram. With planet interior structure models, she will constrain the masses and radii both of rocky planets and of volatile-rich planets harboring liquid water oceans. These insights into the size demographics of rocky and volatile-rich planets have important implications for the occurrence rate of habitable planets throughout the galaxy.