NASA scientist, Franklin alum to speak at UGA


Franklin College welcomes alumnus and NASA scientist Roger Hunter back to campus on April 12 to give a very interesting talk:

The project manager for NASA's Kepler Mission, which is searching for planets that could support life, will deliver a lecture at the University of Georgia on April 12 at 4 p.m. in room 202 of the physics building.


Roger Hunter, who earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, will present an overview of the Kepler Mission, its science objectives, the results discovered so far and the expectations for the mission. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"We are excited to have Col. Hunter back on campus again for what will undoubtedly be a fascinating lecture," said William Dennis, a professor and head of the UGA physics and astronomy department. "The question of whether we are alone in the universe is as old as humanity itself, and we're proud to have a UGA alumnus working to answer the question."

NASA's Kepler Mission spacecraft was launched in March 2009 and includes a telescope that continuously monitors the brightness of stars. When a planet passes in front of its parent star, it blocks a small fraction of the light from that star. Kepler must record at least three transits to verify a signal as a planet. From the brightness change, scientists can determine the planet's size. From the time between transits, scientists can determine the size of the planet's orbit and estimate the planet's temperature-qualities that determine possibilities for life on the planet.

See you there.

Image: NASA photo, credit - Carter Roberts. Section of the MIlky Way, including the Kepler field of view, 10/3/2006

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