Wednesday 03 Jun 2015Seminar: The exo-Zodi problem: will the next pale blue dot turn out to be a faint red clump?

Dr Grant Kennedy - University of Cambridge

Physics, 4th floor 14:00-15:00

Two key numbers are needed to help plan a future mission to image and characterise habitable planets around other stars. The first number is the frequency of such planets, which has been sought by the Kepler mission with some degree of success. The second is the typical level of exo-Zodiacal dust that resides in the habitable zones of other stars, which is currently unknown but could seriously hinder such a mission. I will describe efforts to characterise the exo-Zodi "luminosity function", which began with IRAS, Spitzer, WISE and the Keck Interferometer Nuller, and will continue over the next few years with the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer. I will also highlight insights into exo-Zodi origins that have been made along the way, and how these relate to the Solar System's Zodiacal cloud.

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