The Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) draws together hundreds of scientists interested in planets, both in our solar system, and in orbit about distant stars. The 2012 annual DPS meeting featured a plenary sessions with Kepler Mission PI, William Borucki, who reviewed the latest results from the mission, and Eric Ford, who presented his 2011 Urey Prize Lecture on orbital dynamics of extrasolar planets based upon Kepler data. In addition, scientists presented 32 oral papers and displayed 18 posters on extrasolar planets and systems. The abstracts for all the Kepler related presentations can be accessed via the links listed below. Kepler continues to be a highly productive mission in extrasolar planetary science.
108. Plenary presentation: Latest Results from the Kepler Mission, Bill Borucki, PI, NASA Ames Research Center
As the Kepler Mission completes the end of its third year of science observations, calibrated time series data of increasing length are becoming available that make possible the detection of planetary candidates smaller than Earth and candidates with orbital periods nearing one year. Further, the greater capability and sophistication of the pipeline analyses improve the completeness of the results and provide better estimates of the parameter distributions. The most recent data release on 28 July 2012 (Quarters 6 through 9) adds an additional ¾ year of observations so that most planetary candidates with orbital periods as long as 273 days now show at least 3 transits. Data for an additional year (i.e., Quarters 10 through 13) are scheduled to be released on 28 October 2012. A first look at the size, period, and semi-major axis distributions of these data will be presented. Summaries of the planets confirmed, candidates that are being actively analyzed, and the methods being used to verify and confirm planets will be discussed. The Extended Kepler Mission operations begin on 1 October 2012 and many changes in mission focus and operations, data release, and science community participation are being implemented and will be outlined. Funding for this Discovery mission is provided by NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
107. Urey Prize Lecture: Orbital Dynamics of Extrasolar Planets, Large and Small, Eric Ford, University of Florida
For centuries, planet formation theories were fine tuned to explain the details of solar system. Since 1999, the Doppler technique has discovered dozens of multiple planet systems. The diversity of architectures of systems with giant planets challenged previous theories and led to insights into planet formation, orbital migration and the excitation of orbital eccentricities and inclinations. Recently, NASA's Kepler mission has identified over 300 systems with multiple transiting planet candidates, including many potentially rocky planets. Precise measurements of the orbital period and phase constrain the significance of mutual gravitational interactions and potential orbital resonances. For systems that are tightly-packed or near an orbital resonance, measurements of transit timing variations provide a new means for confirming transiting planets and detecting non-transiting planets in multiple planet systems, even around faint target stars. Over the course of the extended mission, Kepler is poised to measure the gravitational effects of mutual planetary perturbations for ~200 planets, providing precise (but complex) constraints on planetary masses, densities and orbits. I will survey the systems with multiple transiting planet candidates identified by Kepler and discuss early efforts to translate these observations into new constraints on the formation and orbital evolution of planetary systems with low-mass planets.
100. Extrasolar Planetary Systems: Formation, Orbital Dynamics, and Habitability. (9 oral papers)
103. Extrasolar Planets: Atmospheric Chemistry and Characterization. (8 oral papers)
113. Extrasolar Planets and Systems (18 posters)
200. Extrasolar Planets: Kepler Outlook and Exoplanet Characterization. (9 oral papers)
208. Extrasolar Planets: Atmospheric Circulation and Dynamics. (6 oral papers)
See also the recorded Press Conference, New Exoplanet Discoveries (Oct. 15), featuring news of exoplanet discoveries, including Julia Fang speaking about her paper Architecture of Planetary Systems Based on Kepler Data: Number of Planets and Coplanarity (http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.5250; "Most Planetary Systems Flatter Than Pancakes")
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