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The Search for Habitable Worlds around Nearby Stars

Friday August 27, 2021
3:30 pm


 Presenter:  Daniel Apai, The University of Arizona
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  With the number of extra-solar planets discoveries increasing rapidly, a key emerging frontier of extra-solar planet research is the search for potentially habitable planets around nearby stars. It is these relatively nearby planets that we may hope to survey in the near future for potential atmospheric signatures of life. However, due to the challenging nature of exoplanet observations, the majority of nearby planets remains undiscovered. In addition, the nature of many known, nearby planets remains still poorly understood due to the lack of critical measurements.
In this talk I will present a large, interdisciplinary project – Alien Earths – that is funded by NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) program that aims to address these challenges. Our Alien Earths team works toward developing a comprehensive, integrative framework to study and characterize nearby planetary systems to determine which of them are more likely to harbor habitable worlds. In the talk, I will also show examples — such as the tau Ceti system — of how the planetary system architectures and presence of nearby planets can be successfully predicted by combining system-specific but incomplete information with robust, population-level, statistical constraints. I will also describe how Alien Earths combines multiple lines of evidence to characterize nearby planetary systems and support target selection and the interpretation of observations of future missions that search for life on other worlds.
 Host:  Diana Dragomir
 Location:  PAIS-1100, PAIS

Disability Notice If you need an auxiliary aid or service to attend any Department of Physics and Astronomy event, please contact the department (phone: 505 277-2616; email: physics@unm.edu) as far in advance as possible to ensure you are accommodated.