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Saturday, April 27 • 11:00am - 11:45am
Finding & Exploring Strange New Worlds: NASA's Exoplanet Enterprise - A Voyage of Discovery

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We are in the midst of a golden age in the discovery and characterization of exoplanets. Dr. Carpenter will talk about the incredible successes we have had in finding planets, using the transit method, with NASA’s Kepler/K2 and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and our plans for using the microlensing technique on WFIRST when it launches in the mid-2020’s.

Once exoplanets are found using these survey missions, we need to follow-up with observations from other observatories on the ground and in-space, to get additional data to characterize their properties. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been used to confirm candidate exoplanets, find some on its own, and perhaps most importantly, obtain some of the first detections of specific elements in the atmospheres of select exoplanets. HST was the first to make direct measurements of sodium and helium in an exoplanet atmosphere, has seen an evaporating hydrogen-atmosphere, detected oxygen and carbon in an atmosphere, and made critical observations of the Trappist-1 planets that indicate at least 3 of its 6 planets have compact atmospheres like Earth, Venus, and Mars in our own solar system. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be able to observe fainter and more distant solar systems in a broader range of infrared colors and greatly increase the number of planets studied in this fashion. Dr. Carpenter will summarize what has been done with HST to-date and plans for future observations with JWST.

avatar for Dr. Kenneth Carpenter

Dr. Kenneth Carpenter

Scientist, Hubble Space Telescope, NASA
Dr. Kenneth Carpenter is the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Operations Project Scientist and the Ground Systems Project Scientist for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and a member of Goddard's “Exoplanets... Read More →

Saturday April 27, 2019 11:00am - 11:45am MDT
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