This month’s speaker for the RAS, was Heather A. Knutson. She is an assistant professor in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. She is working onthe physics and chemistry of exoplanetary atmospheres, planet formation and migration, and the search for new low-mass eclipsing planetary systems.
As usual, our meetings are held at Cossentine Hall at La Sierra University.
Dr. Knutson spoke about her research into smaller exoplanets. Most of the exoplanets are large, like Jupiter large. She is trying to find Earth analogous planets.
She also spoke about some of the planets that have been discovered.
One particular planet has 6,000 mph winds and liquid rock for clouds! Trust me, the science works, it just seems odd.
She also explained that instead of looking at large suns for Earth sized planets, they are starting to look as smaller suns. It makes perfect sense. If you can’t make the planet larger to detect, look at smaller suns and the planet gets bigger by default.
It was also interesting to note that Kepler imaged a very, very tiny part of our galaxy. That spot with the red arrow is as much as we have looked at to date. There are a lot of other exoplanet missions planned, but the galaxy, and the universe, are really big. Lots more data to come.
Remember, everyone is welcome at the meetings and you can find out about the topics by visiting http://www.rivastro.org.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +