Sarah Ballard, University of Washington
Astronomers used to hedge at the question of whether the Sun and its system of planets are unusual in the cosmos. The study of exoplanets – planets around other stars – is relatively new. State-of- the-art instruments just brush up against the sensitivity to find planets similar to our very own planet Earth. I will summarize findings from the past couple years that contextualize Earth as one potentially habitable, rocky planet among many. However, the environments of these worlds are by-and-large astoundingly different from the conditions that have nourished life here at home.
These talks are held in partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History at 8:00pm on Thursday nights. Admission is free to the general public; parking is available in the museum lot for a $6 charge.