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Lecture: Finding New Planets

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On Friday, December 1st, from 6:30-8 p.m., the Museum will host Dr. Pimol Moth for an exciting lecture on the discovery of new planets. It has long been speculated that other stars in our galaxy harbor their own system of planets. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the existence of exoplanets (planets in orbit around other stars) were confirmed. These planets were initially detected by their gravitational influence on the star they orbit. With the stellar wobble technique, hundreds of exoplanets were discovered. However, most of the exoplanets discovered were massive gas giant planets similar to Jupiter in our own Solar System. The stellar wobble technique was not sensitive enough to detect rocky planets like Earth. In 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope was launched using a technique that involved searching for a periodic dimming in the light of a star due to a planet transiting in front of the star. With this more sensitive technique, thousands of planets, including many Earth-sized planets that could be in the habitable zone, have been discovered. In this talk, Dr. Moth will discuss the detection and properties of these exciting exoplanets.

Cost for this lecture is $5 and free for Museum members.