Guildford Astronomical Society

Prof Donald W Kurtz

Prof Donald W KurtzProf Donald W Kurtz

Professor Kurtz is a co-author of the fundamental textbook, "Asteroseismology" and (past) Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DateTalk at GAS meeting
1 Jun 2017Planets and Pulsations: The New Keplerian Revolution

NB: This is a change to the previously advertised talk.

One of the biggest questions humans can ask is, "Are we alone?" Does Earth harbour the only life in the universe? Everyone has an opinion on this question but, as scientists, we want to know. A first step is to find other planets like the Earth, planets with rocky surfaces and liquid water where conditions are similar to home. The Kepler Space Mission has done this. With the discovery of nearly 5000 planets orbiting other stars Kepler has revolutionised our view. It has found entire solar systems orbiting other stars and it has even found planets orbiting double stars: Yes, Luke Skywalker's fictional home planet Tatooine really does exist out there. The Kepler mission measured the brightnesses of 200,000 stars for four years, giving us a view of the stars 100 times more precise than is possible from the ground. From this a jewel box, exotic stars have been discovered, and astrophysics that used to be purely theoretical is now also observational. This talk introduces the concepts of asteroseismology and shows a selection of exciting results from the Kepler mission in a multi-media performance of science, animations and the physics of music and the stars.