Over the past couple decades, thousands of extra-solar planets have been discovered orbiting other stars. The exoplanets discovered to date exhibit a wide variety of orbital and compositional properties; most are dramatically different from the planets in our own Solar System. Our classical theories for the origins of planetary systems fail to account for the diversity of planets now known. In this talk, I’ll discuss how multifaceted views of planetary systems — including orbital properties, system architectures, planetary compositions, and stellar properties — powerfully test theories for the origins and evolution of planetary systems. I will present results from simulations, comparisons to observed exoplanet populations and individual systems, and avenues for testing theories with ongoing and upcoming missions and surveys.
Rebekah Dawson is the Penn State Astronomy & Astrophysics Shaffer Career Development Associate Professor of and Associate Head for the Graduate Program. She received her BA in Astrophysics from Wellesley College, PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from Harvard University, and was a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include extra-solar planets, debris disks, dynamics of planetary and satellite systems, the Kuiper Belt, planet formation, and signal processing. Her work was recently recognized by the American Astronomical Society Helen B. Warner Prize (2021) and American Astronomical Society Division of Planetary Science Harold C. Urey Prize (2020).