2009 Annual Science Report
University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting | JUL 2008 – AUG 2009
Kavli Symposium (Fall 2008)
The Kavli Frontiers of Science symposia are jointly sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and the US National Academy of Sciences to bring together top young scientists in an interdisciplinary conference environment that encourages in-depth discussions related to exciting advances in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics, computer sciences, neurosciences and physics. As a Kavli fellow, and participant in these seminars, the UHNAI PI has organized a special astrobiology session at the fall 2008 Kavli symposium on the topic of Extrasolar planets, drawing participants from within the NAI. The purpose is to highlight the cutting edge science that is being accomplished in astrobiology through the NAI.
The field of extrasolar planets is exploding with new information. The investigations are moving from an era where the key science is the discovery of the existence of new worlds and adding to the inventory, to a the rich development of the understanding of the dynamical architecture of the planetary systems, and to the physical properties of the planets themselves. Some of the highlights include the detection of an Earth-like world around a nearby star, orbiting within the star’s habitable zone; detection of water vapor an extrasolar planetary atmosphere; modeling the weather on a hot Jupiter where the temperature variation from night to day is over 2000F; and modeling how one might detect the existence of oceans on distant planets from the glint off their oceans. This session was planned with NAI PI Victoria Meadows as the chair, leading off with a description of models for exoplanet biosignatures. The session speakers included biometeorologist Nancy Kiang discussing what the plant life might look like on an alien world whose atmospheric chemistry is consistent with the spectral properties of their host stars. Jonathan Fortney was the second speaking, taking about recent discoveries of extra solar planet characteristics through transits and what we can learn about the planetary atmospheres and weather.
The format of the symposia includes a 15 min presentation by the chair, who then moderates the session for the 30 min presentations by each of the speakers. The presentations are followed by a lively 45 discussion period among the 100 Kavli fellows who have been invited to attend the symposium.
PROJECT MEMBERS:Jonathan Fortney
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.2
Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets.
Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth
Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems