Tiffany Kataria (JPL): Exoplanets in the Mid-Infrared: Past, Present and Future


Title: Exoplanets in the Mid-Infrared: Past, Present and Future

Abstract: Over the past two decades, our understanding of exoplanets and their atmospheres has been advanced by the unexpected discoveries made in the ultraviolet to mid-infrared. The Spitzer Space Telescope has played a critical role in these discoveries, and has demonstrated the importance of the mid-infrared for accessing important molecular species and planetary thermal emission. In this talk, I will discuss the past, present and future of exoplanet atmospheric characterization conducted in the mid-infrared.  I will begin with a retrospective on the first eclipse and phase-curve measurements of transiting and non-transiting exoplanets made with Spitzer, and the wealth of information we have learned from Spitzer since then about the advective, chemical and radiative processes taking place in their atmospheres. Leveraging this knowledge from Spitzer and also the Hubble Space Telescope, I will then discuss what new scientific breakthroughs will be enabled by near- and mid-IR observations with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and ARIEL (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Exoplanet Large-survey). Finally, I will discuss future prospects for characterizing the atmospheres of small, terrestrial exoplanets in the mid-IR with the Origins Space Telescope, one of the large mission concepts for the Astro2020 Decadal Survey.