The Sciences

The Quest for a Living World

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitApr 8, 2010 4:15 PM

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I am very pleased and excited to announce that I will be moderating a fascinating panel in Pasadena California on Wednesday, April 21. The topic is "The Quest for a Living World": how modern astronomy is edging closer to finding another Earth orbiting a distant star.

[Click for a higher-res version.] The panelists are all-stars in the field: Caltech astronomy professor John Johnson, Berkeley astronomer Gibor Basri, MIT planetary astronomer Sara Seager, and NASA Ames Research Center's Tori Hoehler. We'll be talking about how we're looking for these new worlds, what the state of the art is, and perhaps toss around some of the philosophy of why we're looking for them. You might think the answer is obvious, but I've found that astronomers have lots of intriguing reasons for why they do the work they do. The event is sponsored by Discover Magazine, the Thirty Meter Telescope (yes, a project to build a telescope with a 30 meter mirror!), and Caltech. It will be at 7:30 p.m. at Caltech's Beckman auditorium. It's also free! Send an email to exoplanets@tmt.org if you want to attend. We'll be taking questions from the audience, and if you have a question you'd like to submit in advance then we have an online form where you can send it. Last year's panel on astronomy frontiers was a lot of fun, and very well-attended. If you're in the LA area, then I highly recommend you come! I know you'll have a great time, and you'll get a taste for some of the astronomical adventures in store for us in the next couple of years.

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