The Masses, Densities, and Orbital Dynamics of Exoplanets
Wed, April 27, 2016
We live in a golden era of exoplanet discovery and characterization. In the past few years, the Kepler Mission has discovered over 4000 exoplanets, enabling rich empirical studies of planet occurrence, composition, formation, and evolution. In particular, Kepler's 400 multi-planet systems represent the end-states of planet formation. Their orbital dynamics and planet compositions are fossil records of how the planets arrived at their present configurations. My PhD dissertation includes detailed measurements of the masses, densities, and orbital dynamics of planets in multi-planet systems with the goal of characterizing planet compositions and possible formation and evolution pathways.