George Mason Observatory’s ‘Evenings Under the Stars’ series (where you’ll also get to look at awesome galaxies, stars, planets and more through our 0.8 meter telescope!) is back for Spring 2014! The next event will be Monday, April 21st and will feature a talk by Korey Haynes on ‘Characterizing Exoplanets – The Next Frontier’! Talk at 8:00 PM. Observing starts at 8:30PM until 10:00PM. Arrive at the lobby of Research Hall. As always the event is free and everyone is invited! We hope you can come out and join us!
Remember that there will only be one talk given during each observing session so make sure you don’t miss it! Directions to GMU and Research Hall here: http://eagle.gmu.edu/map/fairfax.php Zoom in to find Research Hall next to engineering building and York River Rd. Keep an eye on twitter for updates – Just keep an eye out for weather – the event may be postponed or cancelled due to bad conditions – updates will be available here – Observatory Twitter
About the talk:
One of the most exciting fields in astronomy right now is exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. Kepler and other missions have found well over a thousand confirmed exoplanets, but finding them is only the beginning. Telescopes like Hubble can characterize these planets and give us much more detail. By watching these planets carefully as they orbit their stars, we can learn about their atmospheres: how hot they are, how they circulate heat, and what they’re made of–including water.
About the speaker:
Korey Haynes is a fourth-year graduate student at George Mason University working at NASA/GSFC with Dr. Avi Mandell. She studies transiting exoplanets in the near-infrared to determine the structure, temperature, and composition of their atmospheres. She’s also an American Astronomical Society Astronomy Ambassador and a writer at Astrobites (a site that describes breaking astronomy research for the public).