RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Friday, 27 February 2015, 14:00-14:20; Duffield Lecture Theatre

George Zhou

"Measuring the rotational oblateness of exoplanets with Kepler"

Transits are key to our understanding of exoplanets. In this talk, I will describe a novel technique we have developed to measure the shape and rotation of exoplanets from their Kepler transit light curves. Jupiter and Saturn have about 10 hour days. This rapid rotation causes their shapes to become oblate. Do other planets have similar rotation rates? I present the first search for rotationally oblate gas giants in the Kepler dataset, and a tentative detection for the oblateness of Kepler-39b, a brown dwarf in a 21-day period orbit.