Scientific Rationale

After twenty years of both ground and space based observations a lot of planets around stars have been identified.  The most striking characteristic of these new worlds is their wide differentiation: hundreds of hot and cold Jupiters, Neptunes and super-Earths with a wide range of masses and radii not existing in our Solar System. For a handful of exoplanets we could also investigate their atmospheric composition through spectra of low and medium resolution in both combined light and spatial resolved spectroscopy. The latter started with dedicated integral field units on VLT (SPHERE) and Gemini (GPI). With these instruments we have been able to find and characterize mostly young planets and feature several molecular species. Thanks to these observations, molecules such as water vapor, methane, carbon monoxide and dioxide have been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.

In the next future the spectral characterization of the atmosphere of exoplanets will move the fringe between a mere knowledge of the existence of extrasolar planets to the study of the physics of these low mass companions. The interpretation of molecular spectra of even simple molecules proves to be incredibly complex, due to a variety of quantum effects, only part of them being tractable.

Theoretical models and laboratory experiments simulating planetary atmosphere aim at the understanding the atmospheric properties from those of the hot Jupiters to those of the habitable rocky planets. The laboratory experiments can provide insights on the interaction between the planetary environment and the atmosphere itself. Photochemistry. outgassing, escape processes and “life”, all concur to modify the chemical content of the atmosphere.

This Chianti Topics International Workshop will put together experts in the planetary atmosphere laboratory simulation, models and Solar System planetary analogues with researchers and students in order to have an up-to date view of this exciting field. Such an up-to-date view can help to guide future research projects and will encourage collaborative efforts across various topical area of this research.