Friday, March 27, at 3:20 PM in NSC 224. Join us for refreshments in NSC 231 at 3:05 PM.
One of the most interesting and potentially important discoveries of astronomy over the past 15 years is that of planets around other stars. Although the existence of such planets had been speculated on over the past several hundred years and searched for over the past 50 years, it is only recently that they have been found. Now over 300 are known. Almost all of these are giant gas planets, like Jupiter in our solar system, with orbital and physical properties much different than Earth’s. New methods are allowing us to detect smaller, rocky planets and the search is now on for the existence of Earth-like planets. In this talk, we will discuss the discovery and properties of these extra-solar planets.