2016 Jo Cline Memorial Astronomy Lecture
Cline Observatory, GTCC

How to Find an Inhabited Exoplanet

A free public lecture by Dr. David Charbonneau, Exoplanet researcher from the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Friday, 23 September 2016, 7:30 p.m.,
Koury Auditorium, GTCC, Jamestown

Cline Observatory will be open after the talk, weather permitting

Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of planet candidates around other stars.  Join us as one of the pioneering scientists in the field shares the details of this exciting research.

About the Talk:  The NASA Kepler Mission taught us that Earth-sized planets are commonplace throughout the Galaxy. But did life take root on any of these distant worlds? Using upcoming large telescopes, astronomers will search the atmospheres of Earth-like planets for the telltale chemical fingerprints of life.

About the Speaker:  David Charbonneau is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University. His research focuses on the discovery and characterization of planets orbiting other stars, with the ultimate goal of identifying inhabited worlds. He was the first to observe a planet eclipse its parent star; this method, known as transits, is now the means by which most planets outside the solar system have been identified.  He also developed the first methods which astronomers use to study the atmospheres of these distant worlds. He currently directs the MEarth Project, which aims to find the first habitable exoplanet that can be searched for the chemical signatures of life, and the Aliens Earths Initiative, an interdisciplinary collaboration that develops the tools with which to undertake that characterization. He was a member of the NASA Kepler Mission, and he is a co-investigator in the upcoming NASA TESS Mission, scheduled for launch in 2017.

Dr. Charbonneau completed his PhD at Harvard in 2001. He spent 3 years as the Millikan Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech before returning to Harvard. He has received numerous awards for his research accomplishments, including the Waterman Award (the NSF’s top prize for a scientist under the age of 35), the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and he was named 2007 Scientist of the Year by Discover Magazine. In recognition of his commitment to teaching, he was recently named Harvard College Professor.

David Charbonneau

Harvard University’s newly tenured professor David Charbonneau of the Department of Astronomy visits the telescopes atop the Science Center. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer


Fall Astronomy Day Lecture Directions

Directions to the Koury Auditorium at GTCC’s Jamestown Campus

If you have any questions please contact Tom English – 336-334-4822 x50023

The Cline Observatory Astronomy Day Lecture is held each fall, featuring a prominent researcher in astronomy, astrophysics, or planetary science.  Follow this link to see a list of Past Lecturers.

North Carolina Astronomers’ Meeting (NCAM)

Cline Observatory also hosts the annual technical meeting of NC astronomers in association with Fall Astronomy Day. This event is open to professional astronomers and their students.  This year’s edition of NCAM will be held on Saturday, 24 September 2016.