Worlds & Suns in Context: The Role of Age and Environment
Melinda Soares-Furtado (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
In this talk, I discuss the interactions between stellar hosts and planetary companions, including the ejection and ingestion of stellar companions. Drawing insights from stellar evolutionary models and observational survey data (photometric and spectroscopic), I present my team's latest discoveries as we seek to identify unambiguous ingestion-derived chemical tracers. Such tracers make it possible to identify engulfment events long after the original event has transpired and offer a critical opportunity to probe bulk planetary composition. Looking forward, infrared space-based missions like the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will soon make it possible to investigate young, free-floating planets for the presence of satellites. These data would help to further constrain the formation pathways and dynamical histories of these starless worlds.
GammaTPC: a novel next generation Compton telescope
Thomas Shutt (KIPAC, Stanford University)
I will talk about GammaTPC, a new instrument concept for measuring astrophysical gamma rays in the MeV energy range. This is a largely unexplored energy range due in large part to the difficulty of measuring such photons. GammaTPC uses liquid argon time projection chamber (TPC) technology which builds on developments for dark matter and neutrinos, and holds the promise of an instrument that is both very large and highly sensitive. Core to GammaTPC is GAMPix, a new charge readout scheme that achieves fine-grained, low noise readout at very low power. I will discuss his and other challenges to fielding a liquid noble TPC in low Earth orbit, as well as the status of GammaTPC development.