Transiting Planets in the House of the Sun

Transiting Planets in the House of the Sun
A Workshop on M Dwarf Stars and Their Planets

Maui, June 3-6, 2012

This workshop will provide an introductory but authoritative review of M dwarf stars and the detection, formation, and potential habitability of their planets. It is principally intended for advanced graduate students and junior postdocs, but investigators at all levels are welcome to apply. The workshop will consist of invited lectures, contributed research presentations, and a field trip to the summit and observatory of Haleakala to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun. A transit of Earth (from the vantage of the Moon) will also be observable on June 3.

Venue: Institute for Astronomy Maui Maikalani/ATRC, Pukalani, Maui

Convenor: Eric Gaidos (gaidos -then- "at" -then-
Local Coordinator: J. D. Armstrong (jd -then- "at" - then-

Science Organizing Committee: John Rayner (chair), Eric Hilton, Adam Kraus, Jonathan Williams, Nader Haghighipour, Joost van Summeren

The workshop is limited to 45 participants and selection will be based on relevance of applicant's research to the workshop themes, with preference given to advanced graduate students and junior postdocs. There is no workshop fee, but participants are responsible for their travel and accomodations. Economy (dormitory-style) housing may be available for students upon request.

The workshop is now FULL, additional applicants will be placed on a waitlist.


Sunday, June 3:

1700 Reception at IfA Maui Maikalani/ATRC
2248 Transit of Earth (partial eclipse of the Moon)

Monday, June 4

0800 Coffee
0820 Eric Gaidos: Opening remarks
0830 Sebastien Lepine (AMNH): "Surveys for M dwarfs"
0920 Andrew West (Boston University): "The known, and known unknown properties of M dwarfs"

1010 Break

1040 Debra Fischer (Yale): "Doppler radial velocity surveys of M dwarf stars at visible wavelengths"
1120 Ansgar Reiners (Universität Göttingen): "Infrared Doppler surveys for habitable planets around low-mass stars"

1200 Lunch

1330 David Anderson (Keele University): "Ground-based surveys for planets that transit cool stars"
1420 Jon Jenkins (NASA Ames): "Detecting transiting planets with Kepler: hard worlds are good to find (and vice versa)"
1510 Ray Jayawardhana (U. Toronto): "Direct imaging of exoplanets"

1600 Discussion and free time
1700 Dinner at Casanova's in Makawao


Debra Fischer
Yale University Department of Astronomy

"Searching for Earths"

at the Institute for Astronomy Maui in Maikalani, Maui
For directions see:

Tuesday, June 5:

0740 Coffee
0800 Ilaria Pascucci (U. Arizona): "Formation of planets around M dwarf stars"
0850 Eric Gaidos (U. Hawaii): "Living in the red: Habitability of planets around M dwarf stars"

0930 John Sinton (U. Hawaii): "Haleakala origin, evolution, and recent history"

1015 Depart for Haleakala summit to view the transit of Venus
1210 First contact
1228 Second contact (interior ingress)
1330 (approx) Geologic field trip on Haleakala with John Sinton
1527 Transit center
1826 Third contact (interior egress)
1845 Final contact

Wednesday, June 6:

Session 1 (Chair: Eric Gaidos)

0820 Feng Tian: "Habitable zones and false biomarker signatures in planetary atmospheres around M dwarfs"
0835 Jan Marie Anderson: "Detectability of small planets orbiting M dwarfs"
0850 Masashi Omiya: "Search for low-mass planets around late-M dwarfs with IRD"
0905 Knicole Colon: "Searching for methane in the atmosphere of GJ1214b with multi-color narrow-band photometry with GTC"
0920 Natalia Kudryavtseva: "The AstroLux M-dwarf survey: towards an astronometric detection of super-Earths around nearby M dwarfs"
0935 James Firth: "A new catalog of bright M dwarfs"
0950 Christian Schwab: "Extreme precision single mode Doppler spectrographs in the NIR"

1000 Break

Session 2 (Chair: John Rayner)

1030 Barbara Rojas-Ayala: "M dwarf metallicties and temperatures with K-band spectra: boosting the characterization of M dwarf planet systems"
1045 Elizabeth Newton: "Metallicities of M dwarfs targeted by the MEarth transiting planet survey"
1100 Kailash Sahu: "Frequency of plaents around low-mass stars across the Milky Way"
1115 Maria Lenius: "The lack of M dwarfs in direct imaging surveys"
1130 Sergio Hoyer: "Transit Monitoring in the South (TraMoS) project"
1114 Norio Narita: "Searching for new transiting exoplanets around cool stars with Japanese facilities"

1200 Lunch

Session 3 (Chair: Eric Hilton)

1330 Andrew Howard: "Occurence patterns of planets orbiting M dwarfs from Doppler and Kepler"
1345 Phil Muirhead: "The Cool KOI Program"
1400 Elisa Quintana: "A uniform model of planets and candidates observed with Kepler"
1415 Andrew Mann: "They might be giants: luminosity classes, planet frequency, and planet-metallicity relation of the coolest Kepler target stars"
1430 Mario Damasso: "Photometric transit search for planets around cool stars from the western Italian Alps: the Apache Project"
1445 Ronny Errmann: "The search for young transiting planets with the YETI network"

1500 Break

Session 4 (Chair: Nader Haghighipour)

1530 Alexis M. S. Smith: "Probing planetary atmospheres with occultation measurements"
1545 Diana Dragomir: "New MOST photometry of the Cnc 55 system"
1600 Akihiko Fukui: "NIR transit photometry with the Okayama 188 cm telescope/ISL"
1615 Teruyuki Hirano: "Measurements of spin-orbit angles and implications of planetary migration scenarios"
1630 Brigitta Sipocz: "WFCAM transit survey: search for planets around cool stars"
1645 Hans Zinnecker: "M dwarf transit spectroscopy with FLITECAM on SOFIA at 1 to 5 microns"

1700 Close of workshop

Travel information*

Air: Maui's major airport is Kahului, which is currently served by Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Go!/Mokulele, Hawaiian Islands, Island Air, Mokulee Express, Pacific Wings, United Airlines, US Airways, and West Jet. A few of these airlines have direct flights to/from the mainland U.S., while the remainder have flights to/from Honolulu, some with connecting service to the mainland or international destinations.

Ground transport: The airport has many rental car agencies, but almost no public transportation. If you decide not to rent, and have not made arrangements for transportation with another attendee, we will try our best to pick you up at the airport when you arrive, and drop you off when you depart. We will also be carpooling to the summit of Haleakala and the dinner. However, please understand that everything will depend on everyone's schedule. More information will be posted soon on shuttling.

Lodging: Maui is obviously a popular tourist destination. That means there are lots of lodging options. But there are lots of tourists. The following is a list of some nearby accomodations based on information given to the convenor. No endorsement or recommendation is intended or implied. Note: If you are a student with limited travel support, we may have some modest but very economical options available. Please contact the convenor.

Moped City (Wailuku) (
North Shore Hostel (Wailuku) (
Maui Seaside Hotel (
Banyan Tree House (
Upcountry Bed & Breafast (

*You are responsible for all your travel arrangements. Please understand that, while we will try to be helpful in your preparations to visit Maui, we are astronomers, not travel agents.

Support from NASA is gratefully acknowledged. Photo credit: NASA/Howard University.