This summer I organized a 3-month research program called Exostar19 (https://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/activities/exostar19) at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) in Santa Barbara, together with Bekki Dawson, Dan Huber, and Jim Fuller. Victor Silva Aguirre was the one who brought us all together with his idea to come up with a program that focuses on all the new insights that the stellar and planetary field can gain from TESS and Gaia data. It’s now the last week of the program, and it’s been a blast! My office has a view onto a little slice of the ocean, just behind the palm trees:
and I’ve worked on a bunch of cool new projects with new collaborators – stellar rotation and activity, X-ray and UV observations of exoplanets, some work on transits in the infrared helium lines, plus a near wrap-up of a project on an ultrahot Jupiter. We’ve held a conference in the middle of the program, which went really well I think (https://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/activities/exostar-c19). I really liked the KITP policy that all of their conferences have one third of questions time. So every talk was 20 minutes plus 10 minutes questions, and that led a really lively and interesting discussions, and just just by the same few people that always ask questions at other conferences.
This is us organizers:
I brought my family along, and we stayed in the KITP residence, which has very good spaces for people with kids. We had a lot of great barbecues with the other program participants, and also managed to spend a bit of time at the beach.