1/17/2013, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Free and Open to the Public
Location: Jean and Alexander Heard Library (Google map of this location)
Reception at 3:20 p.m., The Gallery | Lecture at 4 p.m., Central Library Community Room
John A. Johnson (California Institute of Technology) to present the Carl K. Seyfert Lecture in Astronomy
"Searching for Earths Next Door"
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of planet hunters over the past decade and a half, we now know that the Galaxy is positively teeming with low-mass planets. In particular, the highly successful NASA Kepler mission has ushered us from the era of hunting to a time of plentiful gathering. To meet this paradigm shift, we are designing and building a new observing facility dedicated to the detection of the Earth-like planets around nearby stars. The facility, named Project Minerva, is based on the concept of constructing a larger effective telescope aperture by combining many small, roboticized telescopes. I will present the motivation for our survey by highlighting the exciting planet discoveries from the Kepler mission. I will then present our novel approach of using Project Minerva to extend our knowledge of low-mass planets from the distant Kepler field to the stars right next door to the Sun.