Dr. Christian Marois has agreed to deliver a presentation for our October 11th UVic Meeting. It is an exciting topic from a renowned Astronomer. What a great way to relaunch the RASC Speaker Program at UVic! – Reg Dunkley, Past President, RASC Victoria Centre
Date/Time: October 11, 2023, starting at 7:30PM
Location: Bob Wright Centre, Lecture Theatre A104, University of Victoria. Park in Lot 1 (pay parking) and cross Ring Road.
“The NRC NEW EARTH Laboratory, and the Quest to Develop the Tools to Find Life on Exoplanets” – Dr. Christian Marois, NRC
Are there Earth-size exoplanets orbiting nearby stars? Is there life as-we-know-it on these Worlds? The exoplanet field is rapidly progressing toward having the required technology to discover rocky Earth-size exoplanets orbiting nearby Sun-like stars, and search for life signatures. I will describe my NRC NEW EARTH team progress over the last few years to test new innovations, and deploy them in two frontier instruments, the SPIDERS pathfinding at the Subaru telescope, and the CAL2 instrument at the Gemini North observatory. I will also describe our new breakthrough concept, STARLITE, that could dramatically speed-up the discovery and search for Earth-like exoplanets using current and future ground-based telescopes. I will finally discuss possible roles that Canada could play in the ~2040 NASA Habitable World Observatory, a ~6m Hubble Space Telescope successor that is optimized for imaging and characterizing Earth-size planets.
Dr. Christian Marois, NRC astronomer and University of Victoria adjunct professor, has revolutionized how we view the universe by pioneering direct imaging of exoplanets. He invented the most powerful high-contrast techniques, methods that are now widely used by the community, and he led an international team of astronomers to make the ground-breaking discovery of the first images of planets orbiting a star other than the Sun, the HR8799 planetary system.
Dr. Marois is the founder and principal investigator of Canada’s only high-contrast imaging laboratory, NEW EARTH, a one-of-a-kind facility for innovation. He is involved in international collaborations, including the Gemini Planet Imager instrument survey team, and is working toward developing frontier technologies for current and future 30-m class telescopes, focussing on the discovery of Earth-like exoplanets and search for life outside our Solar system. He is currently leading the development of three projects, SPIDERS, a pathfinder for the Subaru telescope, CAL2, a facility-class sensor for the Gemini Planet Imager, and STARLITE, a system for imaging Earth-like exoplanets orbiting Sun-like stars using ground-based telescopes.