In the fall of 1995, the first planets circling stars like our sun were discovered. Today, nearly 100 such planetary systems are known.The new discoveries have radically altered our understanding of how solar systems are born, and helped us to better estimate the chances of finding life elsewhere in the universe. This talk will describe how astronomers have been able to find so many new planets so effectively, what the prospects for future discoveries are, and the puzzles and promises of these new discoveries for our understanding of our own solar system.
Exploding stars, called supernovae, are among the most violent and spectacular events in the heavens. They provide astronomers a key to the understanding of how stars are born and die, how the elements are formed, and how the raw materials of life itself are spread throughout the universe. In recent years, they have even provided us with a key to understanding the past history and age of the universe. The talk will focus on the history of discovery of supernovas, and will highlight the important advances that have been made in our understanding since the explosion of a very bright nearby supernova in 1987.
Brace Hall and the Union can be found on the following set of campus maps which allow one to magnify a region by clicking on it.
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