LIKE MANY AN astronomer before him, Woodruff T. “Woody” Sullivan III works at night. All night, usually. While much of the world around him is sucked into vapid prime-time game shows and other distractions, Sullivan’s brain is freed to roam in the enveloping silence, unleashed to dance with stars …
The UW Astronomy Department notes with sadness the death of Dr. Erika Böhm-Vitense. Erika was born in 1923 in Germany. She received her Ph.D. from Kiel University in 1951. Erika and her astronomer husband Karl-Heinz Böhm joined the UW Astronomy Department in 1968. Erika’s astronomical research f…
Woodruff T. Sullivan III — “Woody” for short — is a University of Washington professor emeritus of astronomy and co-founder of the UW Astrobiology Program. He sat down with UW Today for a wide-ranging talk about the search for life beyond Earth, his plan to pen a historical biography — and “the …
February 23, 2017 at 4:00 PM Venue:Physics/Astro Auditorium Speaker: Heather Knutson (Caltech)
Over the past two decades ongoing surveys have detected thousands of new planetary systems around nearby stars. These systems include apparently single gas giant planets on short period orbits, closely packed systems of up to 5-6 “mini-Neptunes”, and solar-system-like architectures with either one small planet or no planets interior to 0.5 AU. Despite our success in cataloguing the diverse properties of these systems, we are still struggling to develop narratives that can explain their divergent evolutionary paths. In my talk I will describe two promising new avenues of investigation, including constraints on the compositions of short-period planets and statistical studies of the frequency of outer gas giant and stellar companions in these systems. Taken together, these observations provide important clues that can be used to determine whether or not the observed population of short period exoplanets formed in situ or migrated in from farther out in the disk.
February 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM Venue: Peddler Brewing Company Speaker:
THIS MONTH Universe Sandbox² creator Dan Dixon* joins us to answer the question “What If You Could Simulate the Universe?” by providing an introductory look at Universe Sandbox ², an accessible space simulator application that allows you to ask fantastical what-if questions and see accurate and realistic results in real-time. It merges real-time gravity, climate, collision, and physical interactions to reveal the beauty of our universe and the fragility of our planet. In addition, we will hear from UW professor in astronomy and astrobiology Dr. Rory Barnes on “Habitability of Planets in Complicated Systems.”
*Dan Dixon is the creator and director of Universe Sandbox ². Dan began work on the original Universe Sandbox in 2006, and continues to work on the latest version, Universe Sandbox ², with the help of a growing team of talented developers, artists, and scientists.
This month we are excited to again be hosted by Peddler Brewing Company in their large beer garden. Bring lawn chairs if you’d like to to make your own front-row seating! There will be a food truck at the event, but outside food is also welcome.
Each FREE Astronomy on Tap event features accessible, engaging science presentations on topics ranging from planets to black holes to the beginning of the Universe. Most events have games and prizes to test and reward your new-found knowledge! There is always lots of time to ask questions and interact with the presenters and other scientists who inevitably stick around for the beer.
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