Talk on “Seeking New Planets and New Life” presented by MacArthur Genius

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Date: Monday, February 11, 2013
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Are there planets other than Earth where life can exist? How do we discover them? Astronomer Dr. Olivier Guyon, one of the 2012 recipients of the prestigious MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a project scientist at Subaru Telescope, gives a free public presentation that addresses these questions on Saturday, February 23 at 7 p.m. in the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Science and Technology Building, Room 108.

For the last decade, Guyon has been working with astronomers and physicists to develop and test instruments for both ground-based and space-based telescopes that can directly image exoplanets -- planets outside of the Solar System -- where life might exist.

Guyon will describe recent and future technologies that are meeting the challenges of studying exoplanets in enough detail to find evidence of life, and he will highlight research from the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) project that he and his team have been developing to directly image exoplanets.

The prospects for finding more exoplanets, which number more than 800 since 1995, become even brighter when the public joins in the search, and Guyon will describe how the broader community can participate in discovering them. He has already developed a prototype for a network of low-cost, small, yet reliable, robotic cameras that he and some of his colleagues are currently testing on Mauna Loa.

The talk is sponsored by Subaru Telescope and UH Hilo.

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