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Fourth Annual
GMT Community Science Meeting

Sponsored by the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization

September 25–28, 2016
Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA

New observing techniques, instrumentation, and theoretical understanding have fueled the recent dramatic growth in exoplanet observations and theory.

Scientists from around the world will gather on California’s Monterey Peninsula to discuss the current and future status of research on exoplanet detection techniques, characterization, system dynamics, and formation mechanisms and time scales, with a view towards the roles of future observatories and instrumentation in these areas. The conference will include a gala banquet held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


Fourth Annual GMT Community Science Meeting — E3LT Poster. Download a PDF Here

In 1988 the first exoplanet was discovered orbiting Gamma Cephei A, although it was not until 2002 that the discovery was confirmed. The 1995 discovery of 51 Peg b, through Doppler velocity techniques, ushered in a new era of radial velocity discovery.  The observation of the transit of HD 209458 b across the face of its parent star in 2000 foreshadowed the results of the Kepler mission, which has, since 2009, discovered thousands of exoplanets. The first images of an exoplanet in 2004 (2M1207b) and a family of exoplanets in 2008 (HR 8799) demonstrated the powerful ability of adaptive optics on large ground-based telescopes to spot massive exoplanets.

In parallel astronomers have developed techniques and tools for measuring the atmospheres and other characteristics of exoplanets, often using primary or secondary transits as an opportunity for differential spectrophotometry.

Theory can now be confronted with data, and the development of models and interpretation of the data have developed at a rapid pace in recent years.

With the ongoing introduction of new instruments, techniques and theoretical models, and the upcoming addition of extremely large telescopes like the GMT, the TMT, and the E-ELT, and new space missions like TESS, we can expect this boom in the enterprise of studying exoplanets to continue at a rapid pace, leading to a better understanding of our own place in the Universe. At the conference we will explore the following questions:

  • What unique roles will ELTs play in precision radial velocity and direct imaging?
  • What are the frontiers in determining the diversity of exoplanet atmospheric properties?
  • What observable consequences are there of the interior properties of exoplanets?
  • How can circumstellar disk observations provide clues to the properties of exoplanetary systems?
  • How will planet formation theory benefit from ELT observations?
  • What do we need to know or what can we observe about stars to understand exoplanets?
  • What unique challenges and opportunities do ELTs present for future instrumentation for exoplanet characterization?



(those in italics are not confirmed)

Rebecca Bernstein, GMTO

Jayne Birkby, Harvard

Alan Boss, Carnegie Inst. Of Washington

Ian Crossfield, Univ. of Arizona

Roubing Dong, U. C. Berkeley

Kate Follette, Stanford Univ.

Jonathan Fortney, U. C. Santa Cruz

Olivier Guyon, Univ. of Arizona/Subaru Telescope

Raphaelle Haywood, Harvard Univ.

Andrew Howard, Univ. of Hawaii

Nikole Lewis, Space Telescope Science Institute

Collete Salyk, Vassar College

Evgenya Shkolnik, Arizona State Univ.

Andy Skemer, U. C. Santa Cruz


2016 Program TBD

Travel & Accommodations


GMTO has secured a block of rooms for our meeting attendees at the Asilomar Conference Grounds. The cut-off date for room reservations is Friday, August 26. Reservations received after the cut-off date will be accepted on a space-available basis. Room reservations will be made through the conference registration form. Note: Daily room rate includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Guests can travel to the conference grounds from Monterey, San Francisco, and San Jose airports via Monterey Shuttle. View shuttle schedules here, and make your reservations here.


The GMTO Banquet Dinner will be held on Tuesday, September 27 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Shuttle service will be provided for this event.


Full travel reimbursement will be provided for invited speakers. Partial travel reimbursement may be provided for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. When travel support is offered, it is based on an estimate of the airfare from the city of origin.  Attendees who are offered support will be notified after registration.


Meeting Participants



Travis Barman, University of Arizona (co-chair)
Alycia Weinberger, Carnegie Institution of Washington (co-chair)
Bruce Macintosh, Stanford University
Bill Cochran, University of Texas
Jeff Crane, Carnegie Observatories
Mercedes Lopez-Morales, Harvard
Chris Tinney, University of New South Wales
Heather Knutson, California Institute of Technology
Josh Eisner, University of Arizona
Dan Fabrycky, University of Chicago
Ruth Murray-Clay, University of California Santa Barbara
Andy Szentgyorgyi, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


Register Now

Please register at www.regonline.com/e3lt before September 1, 2016 for the conference. There is no registration fee, but the registration pages will ask you to create an account. This allows you to return to your registration and fill in missing information or update your registration information (for example to add or revise an abstract). No credit card information will be requested.


During registration you will be asked whether you would like to present a talk or a poster, and you will have an opportunity to input an abstract. You can do this when you register, or you can return to your registration page later and add an abstract.

Past Community Science Meetings

2015—Resolving galaxies in the era of extremely large telescopes

October 1–3, 2015
Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California
2015 Meeting Website


2014—Transient Phenomena in Astronomy and Astrophysics

October 6–8, 2014
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C.


2013—Cosmology in the Era of Extremely Large Telescopes

June 10–12, 2013
Gleacher Center, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
2013 Meeting Website