Dr. Michael Liu
University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy
Direct imaging is a key method to study planets around other stars, a.k.a. exoplanets. Thanks to both astronomical and instrumental advances, the largest ground-based telescopes can now obtain images and spectra of gas-giant (Jupiter-like) planets. Dr. Liu will share what these studies with the Keck Observatory have shown us about the diverse properties, demographics, and origins of exoplanets, as well as how these differ from our own solar system. Then he will discuss the transformational leaps to come in the next decade with new telescopes, which will deepen our studies of gas-giant planets and extend direct imaging to much smaller planets including, perhaps most notably, rocky planets in the habitable zones of the nearest stars. Altogether, this endeavor provides us a unique context for understanding our own planetary system and its place in the cosmos.
The staff and management of the W. M. Keck Observatory wish to offer our deepest gratitude to our Astronomy Talk Series sponsors, Rob and Terry Ryan.