Exploring Alien Worlds with Tomorrow's Tools

Join Dr. Dan Jaffe, astronomy professor and UT's Vice President for Research, for the 2017 Great Lecture in Astronomy.

As Dan explains, "we have already detected planets orbiting hundreds of stars. With next year’s launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), we will discover hundreds of additional planets around the most nearby stars. Our group has developed a key technology that will make possible a move from detecting alien planets to determining what they are made of, their temperatures, and even the presence of winds and clouds."

Dan's technologies have been used on telescopes at UT's McDonald Observatory, as well as NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii. They are part of the ucoming James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's successor to Hubble Space Telescope that will launch next year. Now he is building an instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope, soon to be the world's largest ground-based telescope. UT is a founding partner of this international project. 

"We will discuss how scientists use infrared spectrographs to determine the properties of exoplanets, present some of the results derived by the pioneers of this new and exciting field, and explain how our new technology and the next-generation Giant Magellan Telescope will push us closer to the ultimate goal of finding evidence for life on other planets," Dan says.

(After this talk, another public astronomy talk will take place in the same room, 'The Discovery of Proxima b, the Closest Exoplanet.' For more information, see:

http://calendar.utexas.edu/event/the_discovery_of_proxima_b_the_closest_exoplanet#.WKRs5yMrJjA )


Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Building (POB), 2.302 (Avaya Auditorium)
201 24TH ST E, Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Science & Tech


College of Natural Sciences

Target Audience

General Public, Students, Staff, Faculty



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