First day

So the first day has just finished. We had some interesting talks (and some not so interesting, but that’s to be expected).

The first session - before lunch - was dedicated to direct imaging, which is really taking off as a field, with advancements in technology and analysis tools since I last updated myself on the field. Being able to directly see protoplanetary disks is a new idea for me.

The idea I liked the most was a clever way to detect a secondary body around the star. The complex optics and stellar flux removal techniques leave a noise characteristic pattern around where the star once was. This changes from frame to frame but fundamentally does not really change shape. A moving planet however does change position. The “speckle” pattern does not care about the orientation of the ccd so the field of view rotating will appear the same. By observing whilst the field rotates and then stacking the frames aligning them by the orientation of the frames provides a clear target which stands out from the background.

After lunch was a session on disks, with lots of hydrodynamical simulations and the like. All quite complex, but some ground-breaking results. An observation of an almost completely asymmetrical disk with a proposed explanation. This doesn’t sound particularly exciting when I write this but it was quite cool. IF my memory was better I’d write it up a little better.

Anyway about to go to sleep now, another busy day tomorrow with a public talk given by Debra Fischer, most likely announcing new results from Kepler which could be interesting given its current state.