Observatory Night: Would We Know Life if We Saw It?
7 p.m. Thursday, April 15
Clara Sousa-Silva, Astrochemist, Center for Astrophysics
Over the last few decades, scientists have found thousands of planets beyond our own. Some of those planets might be habitable, and perhaps even inhabited already; but how can we tell? Clara Sousa-Silva, a fellow at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard-Smithsonian, looks for signs of life on other planets using astronomical tools such as spectroscopy to detect faint signals emitted by potential alien biospheres. In this presentation, Clara will draw on her experience investigating strange molecules on strange planets, such as her recent work exploring the possibility of phosphine on Venus, answering the question: “Would we know life if we saw it?”
Observatory Night: All that Glitters is Gold
7 p.m. Thursday, May 20
Edo Berger, Astronomer, Center for Astrophysics
The cosmic origin of gold has fascinated humans for millennia. In this talk, Professor of Astronomy Edo Berger will explore the long-standing question of how gold (and other rare elements) are created in the universe, showing that this process is intimately connected to the collision of neutron stars (the remnants of powerful supernova explosions) — and the production of gravitational waves.
Enjoy our catalog of previous Public Observatory Nights at our YouTube channel, including this featured presentation on NASA's Parker Solar Probe.