In 01995 two astronomers observed a slight wobble of the star 51 Pegasi. And with that the centuries of speculation about the existence of planets beyond our solar system (extrasolar planets or "exoplanets") began to be scientifically observable fact.
In the two decades since, new science and technology have accelerated exoplanet discovery. Beyond mapping their existence, a more sophisticated search can look for planets similar to our own with conditions that might support life as we know it. Franck Marchis is the Chair of Exoplanet Research at the SETI Institute. He'll tell us about how he and others are searching, from this distant vantage point, for another "Pale Blue Dot."
The Interval at Long Now welcomes Dr. Franck Marchis
Another Pale Blue Dot: ?Inside SETI Institute’s Search for Exoplanets
Check-in begins 6:30pm; talk starts at 7:30pm at The Interval at Long Now
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Dr. Franck Marchis is a Principal Investigator at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. Over the past 15 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. He made the first ground-based observations of the volcanoes on the jovian moon Io, using the first Adaptive Optics (AO) systems available on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) 3.6 m telescope at Chile’s La Silla Observatory. Recently he has been working on a new generation of AOs; developing algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological, using fluorescence microscopy; and developing the Gemini Planet Imager, an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope which will image and record spectra of exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.He holds a PhD from Toulouse III university in his native France. His doctoral research described the application of adaptive optics to the study of the solar system. The asteroid 6639 Marchis was named in his honor in 02007.
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