Title: Circumbinary Planets at the K-T (Kepler-TESS) Boundary
Abstract: NASA’s Kepler Mission was spectacularly successful: its discovery of over 2300 exoplanets has revolutionized our understanding of the sizes and architectures of planetary systems. Among of the most fascinating of these systems are the “circumbinary planets”: planets that orbit around two stars. We currently know of a dozen transiting circumbinary planets, and each has revealed an important new facet – and a new challenge (headache) to solve. In this talk I will discuss what the circumbinary planets have to offer exoplanet science: extremely accurate masses and radii, challenges to understanding planet formation and migration, revising the concept of the habitable zone, and how circumbinary planets can be more suitable for life than single-star planets. I will then briefly discuss NASA’s TESS Mission and how we expect it to reveal hundreds of new circumbinary planets via the “one-two punch” discovery technique. We are on the cusp of transitioning from detailed characterization of a handful of planets to carrying out statistical studies of the circumbinary planet population.