Habitable Exoplanets Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, January 15 at noon Pacific for the Habitable Exoplanets Hack Chat with Alberto Caballero!

Many of the major scientific achievements of the last 100 years or so have boiled down to problems of picking out a signal from the noise. Think about analyzing the human genome, for instance: we each have something like two meters of DNA coiled up inside each cell in our body, and yet teasing out the information in a single gene had to wait until we developed sufficiently sophisticated methods like PCR and CRISPR.

Similarly, albeit on the other end of the scale, the search for planets beyond our solar system wasn’t practical until methods and instruments that could measure the infinitesimal affect a planet’s orbit on its star were developed. Once that door was unlocked, reports of exoplanets came flooding in, and Earth went from being a unique place in the galaxy to just one of many, many places life could possibly have gotten a foothold. And now, the barrier for entry to the club of planet hunters has dropped low enough that amateur astronomers are getting in on the action.

Alberto Caballero is one such stargazer, and he has turned his passion for astronomy into an organized project that is taking a good, hard look at some of our nearest stellar neighbors in the hope of finding exoplanets in the habitable zone. The Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project is training the instruments in 33 observatories around the globe on ten stars within 100 light-years, hoping to detect the faint signal that indicates an orbiting planet. They hope to add to the list of places worthy of exploration, both from Earth via optical and radio telescopes, and perhaps, someday, in person.

Join us on the Hack Chat with Alberto as we discuss the search for habitable exoplanets. We’ll explore the project’s goals, its successes thus far, and where it’s going in the future. We’ll also find out just what the amateur astronomer needs to get in on the action, and maybe even talk a little about why the search for “Earth 2.0” is so important.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, January 15 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have got you down, we have a handy time zone converter.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Kepler-442b image credit: Ph03nix1986 [CC-BY-SA]

One thought on “Habitable Exoplanets Hack Chat

  1. Somewhere out there in the vast observable universe there is a planet the conditions of which has a sentient life form based upon silicon rather than carbon as we; the ‘Siliens’. They breathe a phosphorus atmosphere and drink H2S instead of H2O. Very diferent of course, compared to us; their nervous systems, communicating electromagnetically with each other. They have a glassiness to their anatomy and fragile psyches. No? Remember in the universe with time, anything that can happen, will, and what can’t, won’t. Remember the adage about a timeless monkey typing ut the works of Shakespeare. A space faring race, they travel between the stars by surfing gravity waves. They have noting to do with us as we are so alien to them and nothing to gain by interaction with us – poisonous to say the least.

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