Formation, Structure and Evolution of Giant Planets

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Activities and aim of the team

The discovery of more than 140 planets belonging to extra-solar systems raises new questions about their evolution and formation mechanism, questioning even the understanding of our own Solar System. The existence of planets in very small orbits, one to two hundred time smaller than Jupiter’s orbit, is even more puzzling.

The main goal of our team is to address  some of the new questions raised by the discovery of close-in exoplanets. Our purpose is to draw a consistent picture between formation
scenarios and evolution, in order to interpret current observations such as the mass-period  distribution. Given the large incident flux from the parent star received by close-in planets, effect of irradiation and evaporation must be taken into account on their evolution.

The discovery of transit planets and the ability to measure their radius and mass (see figure) provides stringent constraints on irradiation processes and on their effect on the planetary structure and evolution.
We plan to develop evaporation models and try to identify observational signatures of such process on the structure and evolution of giant planets.
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Our team associates complementary expertises in the fields of planet formation, planet structure and evolution, evaporation of planetary atmospheres, stellar astronomy (properties of parent stars), observation and statistics of exoplanets. The team members (in boldface) and invited members (in italic) are listed below :

Y. Alibert:  University of Bern, Switzerland

I. Baraffe :  Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France

W. Benz :    University of Bern, Switzerland

G. Chabrier : Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France

T. Guillot : Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, France

G. Jaritz :   Space research Institute, Graz, Austria

Y. Kulikov :  PGI, Murmansk, Russia

H. Lammer : Space research Institute, Graz, Austria

F. Pont :       Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland

I. Ribas :     Institute of Space Science, Barcelona, Spain

F. Selsis : Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France

Program of the first meeting