NSN Webinar Series: Exoplanets: Finding Life in the Galaxy

Images: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, Rob Zellem

Join the NASA Night Sky Network on Thursday, October 28 at 6:00pm Pacific Time (9:00pm Eastern) to hear Dr. Robert Zellem from NASA's JPL share how astronomers discover and characterize exoplanets.

What is an exoplanet?
An exoplanet is any planet beyond our solar system. Most orbit other stars, but free-floating exoplanets, called rogue planets, orbit the galactic center and are untethered to any star.

Most of the exoplanets discovered so far are in a relatively small region of our galaxy, the Milky Way. We know from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope that there are more planets than stars in the galaxy.

By measuring exoplanets’ sizes (diameters) and masses (weights), we can see compositions ranging from very rocky (like Earth and Venus) to very gas-rich (like Jupiter and Saturn). Exoplanets are made up of elements similar to those of the planets in our solar system, but their mixes of those elements may differ.

Now we live in a universe of exoplanets. The count of confirmed planets is in the thousands and rising. That’s from only a small sampling of the galaxy as a whole. The count could rise to the tens of thousands within a decade, as we increase the number, and observing power, of robotic telescopes lofted into space.

Night Sky Network members can help in the study of exoplanets by observing them with your own telescope and camera and participating in the citizen science project Exoplanet Watch!

About Dr. Robert Zellem
Rob is a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on ground- and space-based observations of the atmospheres of exoplanets, planets outside of our Solar System. He has observed and worked at major observatories and is involved with developing simulations to predict the ability of NASA and ESA exoplanet-dedicated missions to measure exoplanet atmospheres.  Rob also is active in leading citizen science projects to help aid in the characterization of exoplanets.
Registration and Additional information for Members:
Night Sky Network members can join live, ask questions, and get up-to-date information about the resource. Members may register in advance for this webinar (login required) on the Outreach Resource page.

Public Viewing Options:
The event will stream live on YouTube.
Link: https://youtu.be/S7oyMo7Z_Sw

After the event, this recording will join past webinars featuring NASA Speakers on the NSN YouTube page. 

Click here to see a list of all previous webinars

Upcoming Webinars (all webinars are at 6pm PT/9pm ET)

Public Links to Upcoming Webinars

Oct 9: Kicking off the International Observe the Moon Night party (3 hours - 3pmPT/6pmET)
Oct 28: Exoplanet Watch

Previous NSN Webinars

Images: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL, Paul Abell

Join the NASA Night Sky Network on Tuesday, September 21 at 6:00pm Pacific Time (9:00pm Eastern) to hear Dr. Paul Abell share with us plans for the DART mission to demonstrate a technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space.

This presentation will provide some background on potentially hazardous asteroids, recent Earth impacts, and NASA’s activities to help protect Earth from asteroids.  The presentation will describe NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission as well as share information on the European Space Agency’s (ESAs) Hera mission.  DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space. 

Find links to the recording and further resources on this resource page.
Click here to see a list of all previous webinars

All past webinars are also available on the NSN YouTube page
Last Updated: September 21, 2021
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