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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto
Fundamental Properties of M Dwarf Stars and Their Many Exoplanets

Philip S. Muirhead
Department of Astronomy, Boston University

Abstract
M dwarf stars present many advantages for the detection and characterization of rocky and temperate exoplanets; however, the stars themselves present many challenges to observers trying to measure fundamental properties such as mass, radius and metallicity. At BU, we recently began a comprehensive program to characterize M dwarf properties using multi-wavelength observations of eclipsing binary stars, high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy, and state-of-the-art atmosphere simulations. I will present results from our research group that suggest many eclipsing binary M dwarfs in the literature have erroneous mass and radius determinations. I will also present results that suggest the carbon-to-oxygen ratio in M dwarf stars regulates metallicity indicators in M dwarf spectra, rather than the overall metallicity itself. The results have significant implications for detailed studies of M dwarf planets in the Gaia, TESS, and JWST era.

10 March 2016, 13:30

Centro de Astrofísica
Rua das Estrelas
4150-762 Porto

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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