Home › Posts from April 2009

Earth Sized Planet Discovered

Astronomers have just announced (New York Times article) the discovery of a fourth planet orbiting the nearby star Gliese 581. This planet is also the most earth-like, in terms of mass, of the more than 300 extrasolar planets yet discovered.

This newly discovered planet is much too close to its parent star to be conducive to life. However, the outermost planet in the Gliese 581 system is just outside (or possibly just within) the boundary of the habitable zone, which is defined as the region around a star where liquid water might exist on the surface.

The recently developed Stellar Habitability Zone simulator can be used to model this system as well as several others. This simulator is part of an extrasolar biology NAAP module currently under development.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009  —  Chris

Astronomy Camp 2009

UNL will be hosting an astronomy camp for high school students July 12-18. The cost is $100 for in-state students and $150 for out-of-state students (need-based scholarships are available). Interested students should submit applications by May 15. The application form is available in pdf or doc format.
Monday, April 13, 2009  —  Chris

Extrasolar Planets Talk at Nebraska Academy of Sciences

Kevin Lee will be giving the keynote address to the physics section at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences meeting on Friday, April 17 at 1 pm in the Nebraska Wesleyan Planetarium. The talk, entitled Peer Instruction, Computer Simulations, & ExtraSolar Planets will summarize current knowledge of extrasolar planets and will feature educational tools available to introduce the subject to students.
Monday, April 13, 2009  —  Chris