This program is sold out. Thank You!  Please check our lectures and workshops page for more upcoming events.

Nick Cowan, Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Amherst College

Thousands of planets orbiting other stars have been discovered since the 1990's. The existence of extrasolar planets confirms that planets are commonplace, but closer inspection of these planetary systems reveals that they are completely different from our Solar System. Cowan will discuss how we can observe the atmospheres of exoplanets with current and future telescopes, despite the fact that our targets are pale dots next to bright stars. Current observations of exoplanets are sufficient to infer clouds, winds, and greenhouse gases on these alien worlds. Evaluating the large-scale planetary climate for dozens (and soon hundreds) of worlds will eventually revolutionize our understanding of all planets, including Earth. Over the course of the presentation, we will explore what makes Earth habitable and will estimate the likelihood that similar climes exist on nearby exoplanets.

Share This

Lectures, Classes, and Excursions

Grab your headphones and your imagination while you listen to top scientists talk about their astronomical research on our iTunes podcast channel. The Academy's Benjamin Dean lecture series hosts the world's leading experts in astronomy, astrophysics, and more.

Pop some popcorn and enjoy a videotaped lecture from some of the top scientists in the world. Academy lectures offer thought provoking discussions on topics such as biology, ecology, sustainability, natural history, biodiversity, and evolution.

Garage Hours: 7 am – 7 pm, except Thursdays, 7 am – 11 pm