DIX Planetary Science Seminar
Abstract: Over the course of the last two decades, few scientific discoveries have generated more excitement than the large-scale detection and characterization of sub-Jovian extrasolar planets. The basic properties of these planets are straightforward to summarize: they have orbital periods that are measured in weeks rather than years; have masses that typically (but not always) exceed that of the Earth; appear to have cores that are predominantly rocky in nature; often possess substantial H/He atmospheres; and frequently occur in multiples. Beyond these basic attributes, recent work has revealed that short- period extrasolar planets exhibit an intriguing pattern of intra-system uniformity, which stands in sharp contrast with the staggering overall diversity of the Galactic Planetary Census. In this talk, I will examine the possibility that these planets originate within narrow annuli of silicate material, and grow primarily through pairwise collisions among rocky planetesimals. If time allows, I'll also geek out over the Hamiltonian and chaotic diffusion in the outer solar system.