Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds

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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. Dr. Seager will share her unique insights as a member of the Kepler Science Team including a discussion of recent Kepler announcements. She will also share information on the pioneering technology development that will fuel the search for life on other worlds.