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Fourth Annual
GMT Community Science Meeting

Sponsored by the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization

September 26–28, 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.

Registration and the deadline for submitting talks has passed.

Original artwork by Damien Jemison/GMTO

Previous GMT Community Science Meetings



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?


Invited Speakers

(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.

Nikole Lewis, Space Telescope Science Institute

Collete Salyk, Vassar College

Evgenya Shkolnik, Arizona State Univ.

Andy Skemer, U. C. Santa Cruz


Sunday, September 25

6:00 PM Dinner available for guests staying at Asilomar
7:00 - 9:00 PM Welcome Reception

Monday, September 26

7:30 - 9:00 AM Breakfast
8:50 AM Welcome - Weinberger & Barman
9:00 AM Bernstein - GMT/ELTs overview
9:30 AM Dong - Planet Formation (invited)
10:00 AM Follette - Disk Imaging (invited)
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Duffel - Numerical Modeling Gaps in Protoplanetary Disks
11:20 AM Sallum - Imaging Protoplanets with ELTs, Now and Later
11:40 AM Ireland - Imaging the Youngest Exoplanets with GMTIFS and Future ELT Instrumentation
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Salyk - Disk composition / kinematics (invited)
1:30 PM Johnson - Prospects for Doppler Tomography with the ELTs
1:50 PM Birkby - High-res Planet Atmospheres (invited)
2:20 PM Wang - High-Contrast Imaging and High-Resolution Spectroscopy Observation of Exoplanets
2:40 PM Fortney - Planetary evolution (invited)
3:10 PM Poster Pops I
3:25 PM Break and Poster Viewing
4:00 PM Skemer - Direct Imaging (invited)
4:30 PM Faherty - Brown Dwarfs Reveal Exoplanet Secrets
4:50 PM Advancing Atmospheric Characterization Discussion (Lopez-Morales)
6:00 PM Dinner
7:15 PM Wine & Dessert / Discussions

Tuesday, September 27

7:30 - 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Haywood - PRV Improvements (invited)
9:30 AM Endl - Discovery of a 1.3 Earth mass planet in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri
9:50 AM Schlaufman - Exoplanets in Open Clusters in the Era of Extremely Large Telescopes
10:10 AM Ben-Ami - G-CLEF: Design and exemplar exoplanet science programs
10:30 AM Poster Pops II
10:45 AM Break and Poster Viewing
11:30 AM Shkolnik - Star - Planet Connection (invited)
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Teske - What's the Star Got to Do, Got to Do with It (Exoplanet Composition)?
1:20 PM Liu - Abundance Studies of Stellar Hosts of Terrestrial Planets
1:40 PM Kitiashvili - 3D Realistic Modeling of Stellar Convection as a Tool to Study Effects of Stellar Jitter on RV Measurements
2:00 PM Crossfield - Planet Densities (invited)
2:30 PM Break and Poster Viewing
3:00 PM Guyon - Coronagraphs for Planet Detection (invited)
3:30 PM Martins - Exoplanet Reflections in the era of Giant Telescopes
3:50 PM Close - Direct Detection of Exoplanets with GMT AO: A proof of concept design for a GMT Phase A ExAO planet imager
4:10 PM Direct Imaging Discussion - Led by Jared Males
5:20 PM End of meeting for the day
5:30 PM Buses depart for Monterey Bay Aquarium
6:00 PM Conference Banquet

Wednesday, September 28

7:30 - 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Lewis - JWST-ELT Synergy (invited)
9:30 AM Greene - Characterizing exoplanet atmospheres with JWST
9:50 AM Morzinski - Breaking degeneracies in understanding fundamental exoplanet properties with ELTs
10:10 AM Break and Poster Viewing
11:00 AM Cotton - Detecting Clouds in Hot Jupiters with Linear Polarisation
11:20 AM Boss - Summary

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.




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-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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

Meeting Participants

Travis Barman
Juliette Becker
Ruslan Belikov
Sagi Ben-Ami
Eduardo Bendek
Gerard Benjamin
Rebecca Bernstein
Jayne Birkby
Joshua Blackman
Bob Blum
Alan Boss
Antonin Bouchez
Brendan Bowler
Max Boyce
Ben Burningham
David Charbonneau
Ashley Chontos
Laird Close
Anita Cochran
Bill Cochran
Adam Contos
Daniel Cotton
Jeff Crane
Justin R. Crepp
Ian Crossfield
Robin Dong
Alan Dressler
Josh Eisner
Michael Endl
Jackie Faherty
Joao Faria
Kat Feng
Kate Follette
Jonathan Fortney
Kenneth Frank
Eugenio Garcia
Cynthia Gasco
Julien Girard
Paige Godfrey
Zach Golkhou
Bob Goodrich
Tom Greene
Prashansa Gupta
Olivier Guyon
Gerry Harp
Raphaelle Haywood
Steve Howell
Cynthia Hunt
Mike Ireland
Damien Jemison
Marshall Johnson
Irina Kitiashvili
Roger Knacke
Amanda Kocz
Derek Kopon
Alexander Kosovichev
Dave Latham
Russell Leidich
Nikole Lewis
Fan Liu
Joe Llama
Mercedes Lopez-Morales
Barbara Macarthur
Jared Males
Jorge Martins
Dimitri Mawet
Erin May
Pat McCarthy
Stuart McMuldrock
Tiffany Meshkat
Kelsey Miller
Charissa Moctezuma
Matias Montesinos
Miguel Angel Montoya Perez
Katie Morzinski
Ruth Murray-Clay
Kevin Newman
Ricky Nilsson
Hyerim Noh
Dave Osip
Chien Peng
Diana Powell
Fernando Quiros-Pacheco
Miguel Roth
Arpita Roy
Dary Ruiz-Rodriguez
Steph Sallum
Collette Salyk
Lauren Schatz
Kevin Schlaufman
Martin Schlecker
Matthew Scott
H. Tugca Sener
Evgenya Shkolnik
Andy Skemer
Warren Skidmore
Karl Stapelfeldt
Jill Tarter
Johanna Teske
Daniel Thorngren
Chris Tinney
Carl E. Tuttle
Alan Uomoto
Jiblal Upadhya
Andrew Vanderburg
Alexander Wallace
Ji Wang
Alycia Weinberger
Bill Welsh