Astronomers estimate 400 billion planets orbiting stars in our galaxy, so the Milky Way is full of exoplanets. In the past two decades, researchers have discovered thousands, most of them with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and now its successor, the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Some of them are rocky, some are gaseous, and some are very, very odd. But there's one thing each of these strange new worlds has in common: All have advanced scientific understanding of our place in the cosmos.
We invited two renowned astronomers who have dedicated their careers to studying exoplanets to share their lists of the top weird exoplanets. Andrew Vanderburg is an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research has led to the recent discovery of a Jupiter-sized exoplanet around a White Dwarf star. Andrew will describe this incredible discovery and its consequences for the search for life beyond Earth. Jessie Christiansen, an astrophysicist with the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech, works on NASA’s TESS to find the nearest planetary systems to Earth.
Senior Planetary Astronomer Franck Marchis will moderate the conversation. It will be an opportunity to discuss the potential these space oddities have to teach us about the diversity of life we might find in our galaxy one day.
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