The discovery of countless planets with masses and radii intermediate between Earth and Neptune was one of the biggest surprises in the brief history of exoplanet science. From the Kepler mission, we now know that these “super-Earths” or “sub-Neptunes” orbit at least 40% of stars, likely representing the most common outcome of planet formation. Despite this ubiquity, we know little about their typical compositions and formation histories. In this talk, we will shed new light on these intriguing worlds by presenting the latest results from our ongoing 200-hour Hubble Space Telescope survey. Among other things, I will report on the first detection of water absorption on a sub-Neptune mass exoplanet. Finally, I will discuss the outlook of characterizing these distant worlds using the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and next-generation ground-based facilities.
La conférence est pour tout public et le café est servi dès 11 h 30.