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Planets, Planets, Everywhere: A Free Public Presentation on 26 February

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A free presentation titled "Planets, Planets, Everywhere" will be given at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, 26 February, in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park Campus by Eric Feigelson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. This event is part of the 2005 Friedman Public Lecture Series in Astronomy.

Feigelson will discuss dusty "protoplanetary" disks around young stars in known star-forming regions in our own galaxy, which have been studied in considerable detail at various wavelengths of light, and will share some dramatic photos from recent research. He will talk about "extrasolar planets," remarkably diverse planetary systems that have been detected orbiting over 130 nearby stars similar to our Sun. “This is the story of planet formation,” says Feigelson. “Astronomers are developing new ideas that weave together properties of our own solar system with recent discoveries of protoplanetary disks and with the diverse planetary systems found around other stars."

Feigelson also will share several images from the most powerful telescopes available — NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory — and will discuss his research on young stars. "This show will amaze people of all ages," says Christopher Palma, outreach fellow in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. "Feigelson will shine new light onto the age-old question: Where does our world come from?"

Feigelson is widely recognized as one of the world's experts on the application of advanced statistical methods to astronomical data sets and has made a number of fundamental contributions in the field of stellar formation. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from the chemistry in materials surrounding stars to X-ray emission produced by massive black holes.

Feigelson received his doctoral degree in astronomy from Harvard University in 1980 and joined the faculty in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1983. He teaches a range of courses from introductory first-year surveys to specialized topics for graduate students. Feigelson was the founder of Penn State's summer workshops in astronomy for high school science teachers, and he works closely with Christopher Palma on the department's public outreach program.

The presentation is hosted by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is funded largely by the Ronald M. and Susan J. Friedman Outreach Fund in Astronomy. Friedman is a member of the department's Board of Visitors.

[ E F / L A K ]

CONTACT:
Eric Feigelson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, 865-0162 or 865-0418
Chris Palma, outreach fellow in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 865-6236 or 865-0418

 

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