January 16, 2014
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The past decade has marked a period of great progress in our quest to discover and characterize exoplanets, or planets outside of our own solar system. Observations of transiting exoplanets, in which the planet periodically passes in front of and then behind its parent star as seen from Earth, have given us fascinating insights into exoplanet meteorology. Caltech Professor Heather A. Knutson and her team are leaders in studying the diverse properties of these distant atmospheres, including their compositions, temperatures, and global circulation patterns, using a combination of both space- and ground-based facilities, including the W. M. Keck Observatory. Enjoy this grand tour of what is currently known about the nature of these alien worlds and Knutson’s plans for further exploration of earth-like planets.