Public Thesis Defense: Sam Cabot

Event time: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 1:00pm
Sam Cabot
Speaker Institution: 
Yale University, Department of Astronomy
Talk Title: 
High-Resolution Planetary Forensics
Event description: 
I explore a series of innovative techniques for extracting data from “uncommunicative” worlds: inner Solar System planets, the population of compact multi-planet systems, irradiated gas giants, and enigmatic interstellar objects, whose present states and limited diagnostics obscure their formation and evolutionary histories. My methods draw from a common body of chemical, geological, and dynamical principles and employ high-resolution tools, including high-spectral resolution observations, high-spatial resolution hydrodynamical simulations, and high-temporal resolution orbital integrations. Within several case studies:
  • I model the transport of Venusian impact ejecta to the lunar regolith. I find encouraging prospects for recovering such an ancient fragment if Venus once hosted liquid oceans of water.
  • I determine the galactic mass burden of remarkably uniform, compact planet systems. My analysis involves an aggregate Fourier technique inspired by cyclostratigraphy methods.
  • I contribute a new model for relating surface features on stars to radial velocity perturbations. The model successfully reduces nuisance signals in data from an ongoing survey of low-mass exoplanets.
  • I refine the cross-correlation method of studying exoplanet atmospheres, and make novel detections of molecules, atoms and ions. These species elucidate hot Jupiter formation scenarios and atmospheric structure.
  • I establish new avenues for characterizing the mysterious class of interstellar objects, including X-ray spectroscopy of Solar Wind Charge Exchange, and in situ analysis of impact craters on the Moon.
These case studies yield immediate insights into planet formation and evolutionary processes, and highlight synergies with forthcoming Artemis Moon exploration initiatives, Venus atmospheric probes, the Vera Rubin Observatory, and high-resolution spectrographs on thirty-meter class telescopes. These methods have near-term potential to answer some of the most pressing questions in planetary science. Long-term, they establish the precedent for new types of planetary forensics.
If you are unable to attend in person, we invite you to attend, virtually, via zoom link below.
Please use this link:
Meeting ID: 946 1553 9627
Passcode: 242301
Dunham Laboratory, Room 220 See map
10 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
Open to: 
General Public