Hunting for Habitable Planets: NASA's Kepler Science Team Member to Deliver Perimeter Institute Public Lecture on January 26


For thousands of years people have wondered, "Are we alone?" Out of the 500 planets so far known to orbit nearby stars, about 100 transit their host stars, that is, the planet goes in front of its star as seen from Earth.

WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 6 - For thousands of years people have wondered, "Are we alone?" Out of the 500 planets so far known to orbit nearby stars, about 100 transit their host stars, that is, the planet goes in front of its star as seen from Earth. The transiting planets are "goldmines" for astronomers, because the planetary sizes, masses, and atmospheres can be routinely measured. NASA's Kepler Space Telescope is further revolutionizing transiting exoplanet studies with its unprecedented photometric precision.  On Wednesday, January 26, as part of Perimeter Institute's Public Lecture Series presented by Sun Life Financial, Kepler Science Team member Dr. Sara Seager will share her unique insights into recent Kepler announcements, and detail pioneering technology developments that will fuel the search for life on other worlds. Professor Seager has been a pioneer in the vast and unknown world of exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the sun. Her ground-breaking research ranges from the detection of exoplanet atmospheres, to innovative theories about life on other worlds, to development of novel nanosatellite space telescopes. Now, like an astronomical Indiana Jones, she's on a quest after the field's Holy Grail - the discovery of a true Earth twin.  Dr. Seager earned her PhD from Harvard University and is now the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Planetary Science and a Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prof. Seager's lecture, entitled "Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds" will be held Wednesday, January 26 at 7:00 pm in Waterloo, Ontario.  Tickets will be available starting Monday, January 10th, 2011. Further details can be found at www.perimeterinstitute.ca.

About Perimeter Institute

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research organization working to advance our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter, and information. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Perimeter also provides a wide array of research training and educational outreach activities to nurture scientific talent and share the importance of discovery and innovation among students, teachers, and the general public. In partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, Perimeter is a successful example of public-private collaboration in scientific research, training, and outreach. http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/

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