Most of the news about exoplanets this past year has revolved around the discovery of “Earth-sized” planets in the “habitable zone” of "red dwarf" stars. This is partly due to the fact that such planets are more easily found, partly because most stars are red dwarfs (cooler and smaller than the Sun), and partly because smaller stars apparently tend to have smaller planets. Basri will talk about these discoveries, give a background on red dwarfs, and concentrate on the current thinking about whether a planet around 2027, a red dwarf, could in fact actually harbor life. This question is still a very active one; 15 years ago most astronomers would have just answered “no”. He will explain why, and how our thinking is evolving.
Speaker: Gibor Basri, UC Berkeley
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211 Lincoln Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94129