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Keck Observatory Presenting Public Talk on Exoplanet Research

May 11, 2019, 8:00 AM HST (Updated April 26, 2019, 2:52 PM)
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An artist’s rendering of Kepler-78b, the first Earth-sized exoplanet with a rocky makeup to be measured by astronomers. Image by Karen Teramura/UH/IfA.

The W.M. Keck Observatory will present a free public astronomy exploring exoplanet research on Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m., at HPA’s Gates Performing Arts Center in Waimea.

Guest speaker Courtney Dressing, assistant professor of astronomy at University of California at Berkeley, will present “Exploring Planets Orbiting Nearby Stars” and share the latest findings in exoplanet analysis using W.M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea and NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

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Dressing and her colleagues have been researching these far-flung cousins of Earth to determine how their star systems formed, what they’re made of, and whether they possess any of the conditions necessary to support life as we know it.

Launched in April last year, TESS—the successor to NASA’s Kepler mission which revealed our Milky Way is teeming with Earth-sized planets and planetary systems—is expected to find hundreds of small planets orbiting stars that are much closer and brighter.

The Gates Performing Arts Center is located at 65-1692 Kohala Mountain Road in Waimea. The talk is free and open to the public.

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