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Exozodiacal clouds - the local environment of habitable planets

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oliver Normand.

The search for habitable exoplanets continues, but what do we know about the local environment in which these planets reside? This can be probed by looking for circumstellar dust, since habitable zone dust emits in the mid-infrared (at 300K). Several stars have such dust disks that are known as exozodiacal clouds, by analogy with the zodiacal cloud in our own Solar System. The importance of these “exozodi” is two-fold. First, this dust could outshine an Earth-like planet, hindering the next generation of exo-Earth imagers. This is why NASA recently completed a survey of the nearest 40 stars, motivated by the desire to identify those with low levels of dust. However, the exozodi that are detected provide vital information on the comets and asteroids in their systems, and the bombardment of any habitable zone planet can have important consequences for its atmosphere and the development of life. This talk will present what we know about exozodiacal clouds and the implications for habitable planets.

The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre.

The talk will be at the usual location of Wolfson lecture theatre in the Department of Chemistry. The entrance is the opposite side of the building to Bristol-Myers-Squibb Lecture theatre and is opposite the car park- shown by the red arrow on the map. https://map.cam.ac.uk/Department+of+Chemistry#52.197964,0.125242,18

Tickets are £2 or free for members. Annual membership (£7) and life membership (£12) can also be purchased at the event – please bring cash. The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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