Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 5:00pm
The Whitney Center
200 Leeder Hill RoadHamden, CT 06517
The Kepler satellite has revolutionized our understanding of the formation and evolution of exoplanets, that is, planets that orbit stars other than the Sun, showing us that these objects are relatively common. Recently, Kepler has been repurposed and is now looking at some nearby stars, our nearest neighbors that might harbor planets that are analogues of the Earth – small, rocky worlds that could support life. However, Kepler does not take images of the planets it discovers, but rather it infers their presence from changes in the light received from the star as planets pass in front of the host star (the method of transits). This talk will discuss some of the current tools we have to observe exoplanets and discuss the technology needed to take the next steps in exoplanet characterization, including direct imaging and large-scale interferometry. The latter is being actively pursued at Southern Connecticut State University, where the first wireless optical interferometer is being built with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Elliott Horch is an astronomer and instrument builder whose research interests include stellar astrophysics, binary stars, exoplanets, and high-resolution imaging. A graduate of the College of the University of Chicago (AB with Honors 1987), he obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1994. After postdoctoral stints at Yale and Rochester Institute of Technology, he held faculty appointments at Rochester Institute of Technology (1999-2002) and at UMass Dartmouth (2002-2007). He came to Southern Connecticut State University in 2007 and is currently Professor of Physics. During his career, Prof. Horch has used his instruments on some of the world’s largest telescopes and has been the recipient of time on the Hubble Space Telescope on multiple occasions. He was awarded the Connecticut State University System Research Prize in 2011 and was named SCSU Faculty Scholar of the Year in 2012. An image that he and his collaborators obtained in 2012 of the Pluto-Charon system remains the highest resolution ground-based image ever obtained of this dwarf planet and its largest moon. Prof. Horch is currently the principal investigator on three active NSF grants, which provide significant support for student research projects in astronomy at SCSU.
The lecture presentation is from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with discussion.
Dinner follows for CAAS members and guests. (Dinner fee is $35/person)
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For information, dinner reservations, and directions, phone the CAAS office at (203) 432-3113 ext. 2 or email: email@example.com.
Dinner reservations are required by the Thursday prior to meeting. Any cancelations must be received 48 hours before the meeting in order for us to refund dinner cost.
Free parking is available.
(203) 432-3113 ext. 2