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The Evolution and Compositions of Kepler's Sub-Neptunes and Super-Earths

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NASA ’s Kepler mission has discovered a large new population of super-Earth and sub-Neptune sized planets. Understanding these planets poses a fundamental test for models of planet formation and evolution. I will discuss the possible origins and compositions of these planets and the constraints that can be provided by models of planet structure and evolution. I will examine the transition between rocky super-Earths and gaseous sub-Neptunes, the possible compositions of the sub-Neptunes, and the role that atmospheric photo-evaporation plays in sculpting these populations.

This talk is part of the Exoplanet Meetings series.

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