Hunting for Exoplanets: Kepler, TESS and Citizen Scientists

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Parkway Central Library (Free Library of Philadelphia)

1901 Vine Street · Philadelphia

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Skyline Room, 4th floor on the right hand side. Elevators are back-and-right from the main entrance.

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Does it take the Luck O' the Irish to find new habitable worlds in outer space? Ask one of the researchers involved with NASA's T.E.S.S. mission this March 17th!

Mark Gagne of West Chester University will give a talk about exoplanets, Keplar, TESS, and citizen-scientist discoveries.

After nine years of operation & discovering nearly 2,700 exoplanets, NASA retired the Kepler mission on 30 October, 2018. Meanwhile, NASA launched its next exoplanet hunter, TESS: the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite on 18 April 2018. This talk will review what we know about exoplanets currently and how we know, discuss prospects for discovering truly habitable exoplanets, and examine how biosignatures may be detected in the atmospheres of those planets. Ii will end by highlighting the discoveries made by Citizen Scientists, and discuss how you can help discover an exoplanet.

Dr Marc Gagne is Professor and Assistant Chairperson, Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, West Chester University. Dr. Gagné is directly involved in the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite project around exoplanet identification. He and his students also study young stars and star formation, primarily through their x-ray and infrared emission. Students in his research group analyze data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the XMM-Newton satellite to identify newborn stars in molecular clouds, star clusters, and OB associations. With his collaborators at Swarthmore College, Penn State and the University of Delaware, his research seeks to understand the mechanisms which produce the x-rays seen from the most massive young stars. Dr. Gagné is currently writing a textbook and lab activity book in support of his course on Galaxies and Cosmology.