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Tuesday 08 Mar 2016Seminar: Fundamental Properties of M Dwarf Stars and Their Many Exoplanets

Prof Phillip Muirhead - Boston University

Physics, 4th floor 14:00-15:00

M dwarf stars present many advantages for the detection and characterization of rocky and temperate exoplanets; however, the stars themselves present many challenges to observers trying to measure fundamental properties such as mass, radius and metallicity. At BU, we recently began a comprehensive program to characterize M dwarf properties using multi-wavelength observations of eclipsing binary stars, high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy, and state-of-the-art atmosphere simulations. I will present results from our research group that suggest many eclipsing binary M dwarfs in the literature have erroneous mass and radius determinations. I will also present results that suggest the carbon-to-oxygen ratio in M dwarf stars regulates metallicity indicators in M dwarf spectra, rather than the overall metallicity itself. The results have significant implications for detailed studies of M dwarf planets in the Gaia, TESS, and JWST era.

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