Science Lecture: Exoplanets!
What we know about extra-solar planets and their potential for habitability
Tuesday, July 25th at 6:30 PM
Presenter: Leslie Hebb, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Since the first extra-solar planet was discovered around the star 51 Pegasi, there has been an explosion of research aimed at discovering and characterizing planets around other stars. With the launch of NASA’s Kepler mission, the number of known exoplanets has grown to nearly 3000 including almost 500 multi-planet “solar systems”. Through these and other discoveries, we have learned that exoplanets are ubiquitous throughout the Milky Way Galaxy, and many planetary systems look very different than our own solar system. This research has radically transformed our thinking about how our own Solar System in particular and solar systems in general form and evolve.
In this talk, Professor Hebb will discuss how exoplanets are detected and characterized, the current exoplanet census, and our current understanding of how planetary systems form and evolve. She will also discuss how we identify potentially habitable worlds and what future missions are designed to identify and characterize habitability.