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Emily Rice

Assistant Professor

Engineering Science, and Physics, College of Staten Island
Understanding the Atmosphere of Young Planets

Identifying objects in space is a challenge, but Professor Rice endeavors to shed light on the problem with her four-year, $143K NSF award, Understanding the Atmosphere of Young Planets. Rice compares the atmosphere and composition of brown dwarfs, which form like stars, but lack the mass to reach the required temperature to be stars, with other astronomical objects. With this information she hopes to determine which objects have a star-like composition (meaning they formed on their own) or a planet-like composition (which means they may have formed around the disc of a star) as part of a solar system. “We have one planetary system we know very well, our solar system, but there is huge variety of systems out there. We want to understand how these various astronomical objects (brown dwarfs, stars, planets) could form within the same rules—to discover and differentiate the rules from the exceptions.”

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