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Event Number 2183

  Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Public 2011 Physical Sciences Hilldale Lecture
The Last Generation of Lonely Astronomers
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: 1310 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Dr David Charbonneau, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Abstract: For centuries humans have gazed up at the stars and asked whether there are inhabited worlds other than our own. We are fortunate to live at the moment in history when we have the technological ability to answer that question. Astronomers have now uncovered hundreds of worlds orbiting nearby stars, and have studied the chemical content of their atmospheres.<br>
However, those studies have been restricted to planets that are both too hot and too large to be likely abodes for life. The coming year offers the very real opportunity to detect small, temperate worlds similar to the Earth. Once identified, we will probe the atmospheres that enshroud these distant orbs for chemical evidence of biological activity.
Host: Astronomy Department
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