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Department of Physics Colloquium

Monday, January 28, 2019 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Rockefeller Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
Central Campus

General Physics Colloquium, Professor Lisa Kaltenegger

Refreshments from 3:30-3:50 pm

Title:  A Critical View on How to Characterize Habitable Worlds and Signs of Life

Host:  Eanna Flanagan

Abstract:  The detection of exoplanets orbiting other stars has revolutionized our view of the cosmos. First results suggest that it is teeming with a fascinating diversity of rocky planets, including those in the habitable zone. Even our closest star, Proxima Centauri, harbors a small planet in its habitable zone, Proxima b. With the next generation of telescopes, we will be able to peer into the atmospheres of rocky planets and get a glimpse into other worlds. Using our own planet and its wide range of biota as a Rosetta stone, I will discuss the possibilities and challenges to explore how we could detect habitability and signs of life on exoplanets over interstellar distances.

Current telescopes are not yet powerful enough to characterize habitable exoplanets, but the next generation of telescopes that is already being built will have the capabilities to characterize close-by habitable worlds. The discussion on what makes a planet a habitat and how to detect signs of life is lively. This talk will show the latest results, the challenges of how to identify and characterize such habitable worlds, and how near-future telescopes will revolutionize the field. For the first time in human history, we have developed the technology to detect potential habitable worlds. Finding thousands of exoplanets has taken the field of comparative planetology beyond the Solar System.

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Event Type

Colloquium

Departments

Astronomy, Physics

Tags

physics, cascal

Website

https://physics.cornell.edu/upcoming-...

Contact E-Mail

sfc1@cornell.edu

Contact Name

Sue Sullivan

Contact Phone

607/255-7562

Speaker

Professor Lisa Kaltenegger

Speaker Affiliation

Astronomy

Dept. Web Site

https://physics.cornell.edu/

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