Watch: Jan.19 Prof. Therese Encrenaz: From solar system planets to exoplanets: what can we learn from infrared spectroscopy?

On 19 January 2022, Prof. Therese Encrenaz gave an online seminar on From solar system planets to exoplanets: what can we learn from infrared spectroscopy? The lecture was organized in the context of the ISSI-BJ "On Things to Come" series that addresses ongoing as well as future space missions by inviting renowned scientists from different countries, institutes, and space agencies.
Watch it on Bilibili

Over the past twenty five years, over 4900 exoplanets have been discovered. Three main methods have been used. First, starting in 1995, the radial velocity method led to the unexpected detection of a new class of objects, the giant exoplanets very close to their host star (now called “hot Jupiter”). Thanks in particular to the Kepler space mission (2009-2013), the transit method led to the discovery  of a large number of exoplanets of intermediate masses (from super-Earths to Neptunes), relatively close to their host star. Finally the imaging method, initiated in 2006, has made great progress over the past ten years,  leading to the ground-based detection of a new class of young giant exoplanets, distant from their host star. In parallel, the development of transit spectroscopy has allowed us to probe the exoplanets’ atmospheres and  to detect many atoms and molecules  in several dozens of objects.

In this webinar, I will address the following question: Using our knowledge of solar system planets, what can we learn about the exoplanets’ atmospheres? In a first part, I will present a simplified classification of exoplanets, based on their masses and their equilibrium temperatures, in order to propose some possible guesses about their atmospheric composition. In the second part, I will analyze the infrared spectra of  planets and exoplanets, in order to see what lessons can be drawn for exoplanetary spectroscopy. In the last part, I will show primary transit synthetic spectra of solar system planets, in order to analyze the relative merits of transmission spectroscopy with respect to direct emission spectroscopy. I will conclude the webinar with some comments about the future means expected for the coming decade. 


About Prof. Therese Encrenaz 

Therese Encrenaz is emeritus scientist at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and works at LESIA (Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique), at Paris Observatory. She has been the Director of the Space Research Department of Paris Observatory (1992-2002), and the vice-president of Paris Observatory’s  scientific council (2007-2011). Her expertise is the spectroscopic remote sensing of planetary atmospheres in the infrared and millimeter range. 

She has been involved in the detection of many minor atmospheric species and in the determination of elemental and isotopic abundance ratios, used as diagnostics of formation and evolution processes in the terrestrial and giant planets. She has been a co-investigator on several planetary space missions (including Galileo, Mars Express and Venus Express) and has been Mission Scientist on the Infrared Space Observatory. Since 2000, she has been using the TEXES thermal infrared imaging spectrometer at the InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF, Maunakea Observatory) to map minor atmospheric species on Mars and Venus and to monitor their spatial and temporal variations. She has received the silver medal of CNRS in 1998, the David Bates medal of EGU in 2010 and the Gerard P. Kuiper prize of the AAS-DPS in 2021.

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