Mt. Tam Astronomy Night - Life in the Goldilocks Zone - Hosted by Friends of Mt. Tam
Featuring: Natalie Batalha, Research Astronomer, NASA Ames Research Center
Host: Friends of Mt. Tam
Discoveries by NASA’s Kepler Mission suggest there are billions of potentially habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. What has the study of planets within and beyond the Solar System taught us about our own planet Earth? And what’s next in the search for life beyond the Solar System?
Batalha began her career as a stellar spectroscopist, studying sun-like stars. She holds a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, a doctorate in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 1997, William Borucki added Batalha to the science team and she started work on transit photometry. She has been involved with the Kepler Mission since the design and funding, and as one of the original Co-Investigators was responsible for the selection of the more than 150,000 stars monitored by the telescope. She now works closely with team members at Ames Research Center to identify viable planets from the data of the Kepler mission. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery in 2011 of Kepler 10b, the first confirmed rocky planet outside our solar system.
In 2017, Batalha and two other exoplanet scientists were named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Meeting Location: Parking is free but limited at the Rock Spring parking lot. Please try to carpool. Directions here.The amphitheater is a short walk from the parking lot. Dress warmly, and bring blankets, cushions and a flashlight. along with food and beverage of your choice. Astronomy programs are held monthly from April through October. More program information.