Life in the Universe
posted by: bueter
The quest to find life beyond earth has a long tradition, but new tools in the modern era are changing the active hunt. Dr. Phil Sakimoto will present Life in the Universe: From Viking to Kepler this Thursday, May 31, at 7:00 p.m. in the Penn-Harris-Madison Digital Video Theater (formerly PHM Planetarium) in Bittersweet School (map). Admission at the door is $3/adult, $2/senior.
The 2012 transit of Venus is a front row seat to the phenomenon by which astronomers now look for habitable planets around distant stars. For example, the NASA Kepler spacecraft uses the transit method to detect small drops in brightness around host stars. Thousands of candidate star systems have been revealed this way, changing our perception of humankind’s special place in the cosmos.
The last transit of Venus in this century occurs the evening of Tuesday, June 5. Many viewing sites and events in the Michiana community will celebrate this rare planetary alignment. The next opportunity to witness a transit of Venus from the Midwest will be in December 2125.
Dr. Sakimoto is currently the Director of Academic Excellence for the University of Notre Dame’s College of First Year of Studies. He was previously employed at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC as the Acting Director and Program Manager for NASA’s Space Science Education and Public Outreach Program. His affiliation with NASA began in 1976 as student intern on the Viking Mission to Mars—a mission that seeded a lifelong interest in the search for life in the universe.
The PHM Digital Video Theater is located in Bittersweet School, which is just north of the Penn High School football stadium and east of the tennis courts. See map.