“Kepler: Are There Other Good Worlds Out There?” at Cafe Scientifique: 08.11.09

by Eric on August 10, 2009

John Jenkins, Principal Investigator at the SETI Institute will be speaking at this month’s Cafe Scientifique on how scientists will use the newly-launched Kepler satellite telescope to search for exoplanets.

The first definitive detection of a planet outside our solar system occurred in 1992. Since then, the pace of exoplanet discovery has increased rapidly. Almost all planets detected to date are huge, often much more massive than Jupiter. More massive planets are being discovered due to limitations in our detection methods. To date, no earthlike planets have been found.

The Kepler telescope was launched March 7, 2009 and will spend the next 3.5 years gazing constantly at about 150,000 stars. It is the first project capable of detecting Earth-sized planets transiting Sun-like stars. Kepler will track the brightness of stars in its wide field of view to detect the movement of planets across the face of an orbited star.

Dr. Jenkins is the Kepler Mission co-Investigator and Science Algorithm Team Leader. He will discuss the Kepler mission in detail, from planning through data collection and calibration. He will also review the technology and how it will be used to identify possible earth-like planets.

Dr. Jenkins is a Principal Investigator for the SETI Institute. He received his Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. As the Kepler Mission Analysis Lead, Dr. Jenkins is responsible for developing algorithms for the Kepler Science Operations Center.

The talk will be held at SRI Menlo Park, Middlefield Road at Ringwood – International Building from 6pm to 7:30pm. Refreshments will be served.

For more information contact John McIntosh: john.mcintosh@cafescisv.org.

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