ExSoCal2016: An Exoplanet Orbital Interaction

September 22-23, 2016

Hameetman Auditorium, Cahill Building, California Institute of Technology

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Exoplanet science continues to be a rapidly increasing field in the Pasadena/Southern California area. To capitalise on this, we are organising a second Exoplanet Orbital Interaction, to allow members of the exoplanet community get to know one another and to learn about the many opportunities for collaborations.

We have set aside September 22 and 23 in Cahill's Hameetman auditorium to welcome the many new exoplanet researchers who will be arriving in the fall, including, of course, new grad students. We are planning a two-day event with a few invited presentations, but with an emphasis on contributed talks by our new arrivals. In addition to Caltech, IPAC/NExScI, and JPL scientists, we are extending an invitation to our Carnegie and local University of California and California State University colleagues.

Invited Speakers

Eric Mamajek (U. Rochester/JPL) - Characterising Exoplanet Host Stars
Tiffany Kataria (JPL) - Modelling Exoplanet Atmospheres
Gautam Vasisht (JPL) - Measuring Precise Infrared Radial Velocities


Three workshops will be held Friday afternoon. All will take place on the 4th floor of the Keith Spalding building which is immediately west of the Cahill building.

1-3 pm: IRSA and the NASA Exoplanet Archive: Services for the Exoplanet Community - Luisa Rebull, Julian van Eyken (Keith Spalding Building Room 410 East)

NASA's Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) is housed at IPAC, Caltech. It is the home to all of NASA's long-wavelength data, including many large-area and all-sky surveys. We have several tools that may be of interest to ExSoCal researchers, and we are planning more. In this workshop, we will provide a summary of IRSA tools and services (current and planned) that can help you in your research.

The NASA Exoplanet Archive is an online astronomical exoplanet and stellar catalog and data service that collates and cross-correlates astronomical data on exoplanets and their host stars and provides tools to work with these data. The data include stellar parameters, exoplanet parameters and discovery/characterization data from the astronomical literature. The Archive also hosts mission and survey data, including Kepler pipeline data such as candidate lists and data validation products and ground-based surveys from SuperWASP and KELT. Tools provided for users to work with these data include a transit ephemeris predictor, light curve viewing utilities and a periodogram service.

1-3 pm: Astronomy and Planetary Science Grad School Info Session - Henry Ngo (Keith Spalding Building Room 415)

We'll present advice on how to pick schools, the general requirements (e.g. GREs), how to write personal statements, how to ask for letters of recommendations, information on application fee waivers, what graduate schools look for in prospective students, and a timeline of what to expect during the application season. This workshop would be aimed at students at all stages, whether they are interested in preparing for graduate school applications or about to apply this fall. Although open to all students, this workshop may be especially useful for undergraduate students at local schools without large research programs or funding. We will also have a panel with admissions committee members discussing what they are looking for in an applicant, as well as current students discussing their experience as recent applicants.

1-4 pm: Telescope Aberrations Mask Exoplanets: The Optical Science and Engineering of Exoplanet Characterization - James Breckinridge (Keith Spalding Building Room 410 West)

All exoplanet images and spectra are recorded through the "filter" of the telescope/coronagraph system. This workshop examines the physical optics of high contrast imaging and investigates both analog and digital methods to compensate for polarization and geometric aberrations and white-light speckle noise.



Attendee List

Cahill Building Logistics (location, parking, etc.)

Scientific Organizing Committee

Local Organizing Committee

Jessie Christiansen, Chair (NExScI)

Ji Wang, Chair (Caltech)

Konstantin Batygin (Caltech)

Jessie Christiansen (NExScI)

Etienne Bachelet (LCOGT)

Henry Ngo (Caltech)

Chas Beichman (NExScI)

Josh Schlieder (NExScI)

Marta Bryan (Caltech)

Ellen O'Leary (NExScI/IPAC)

Wladimir Lyra (CSUN)

Tiffany Meshkat (JPL)

Julian van Eyken (NExScI)

Link to last year's meeting: ExSoCal2015

If you have questions, email us at:

(last updated October 11th, 2017 13:49:41)