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Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout 8 February

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 11:04

"Five Alien Worlds: Planetary System Around K2-138"

The discovery of a planetary system around the star K2-138 with five planets that contain ice and gas, and that might even be rocky, is a result of observations with the K2 (Kepler extension) mission. Data from the K2 mission are made available to everyone through Zooniverse, a citizen-science portal. A software package containing a signal-detection algorithm identifies potential transit signals in the K2 data. Those targets are made available to the public to peruse and find interesting objects. The website contains a training module so that interested individuals can quickly learn what to search for.

The new, tightly packed planetary system contains planets between the size of Earth and Neptune whose orbits are circular, compared to our own solar system where the planets have elliptical orbits. The orbital periods of the planets are short — between 2 and 13 days! This means they are close to their parent K-type star and therefore quite hot.

Join regular hosts Tony Darnell and Carol Christian on Thursday, 8 February, at 3:00 pm ET as they chat with Jessie Christiansen (Caltech) and collaborators about the new planetary system and the citizen-science effort. The best place to hangout with us will be on YouTube, broadcast on the Deep Astronomy Channel. The direct link to view this hangout will be posted on the Deep Astronomy Facebook page. During the hangout, you can take part in the live chat and join the conversation on Twitter with #AstroCoffee. An archive of previous hangouts in this series may be found in the Deep Astronomy YouTube playlist.

Afternoon Astronomy Coffee

What Are "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" and "Future in Space" Hangouts?

"Future In Space” and "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" Hangouts are part of a weekly series, held every Thursday, that also includes a segment called "Footsteps to Mars." We bring the the latest research in astronomy, highlights from the future of space astronomy and astronautics planning, as well as updates on the exploration of Mars to you every week via Hangouts on Air. With the sponsorship of both the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the American Astronautical Society (the other AAS), our hosts Tony Darnell, Carol Christian, Alberto Conti, and Harley Thronson examine today's breakthroughs in research and peer into the unfolding possibilities of what we may learn about the universe and Mars exploration. We join with members of the American Astronomical Society to chat, in an informal online setting modeled after "science coffee" events held in universities and research organizations across the country. We will examine what we hope to learn about exoplanets, black holes, the early universe, quasars, and life in the universe along with what technologies might help us — and reflect upon the scientific endeavors occurring today that uncover amazing astrophysics and lay the groundwork for studies to come.

We will also explore the technology and engineering used today as well as possibilities for future space travel and research with members of both societies, and probe what our future in space may look like and how we might get there. We will examine the underlying technologies of space telescopes, orbiters, landers, and human space vehicles now and in the years to come. We will delve into topics that help us understand the possibilities and limitations of human space flight and eventual human colonization of other worlds.

We hope you can join us each month as we bring experts from both societies — people who think about and plan for our future in space — to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. We invite you to bring your questions and comments and get ready to learn about the amazing possibilities for the future of space astronomy and exploration.

Carol A. Christian
Astronomer
STScI and CEM
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