Colloquia Schedule Fall 2014

Colloquia are on Tuesdays (unless otherwise indicated) at 3:30 pm in RLM 15.216B

Sep. 2

"Hot Chromospheres and Flares on Cool and Ultracool Dwarfs"


Sarah Jane Schmidt

Ohio State University

host: Adam Kraus

Sep. 9

"Let it Collide: An Epic Saga of Star Wars Planets, Planetesimals, and Super Planet Crashes"

The existence of planets born in environments highly perturbed by a stellar companion represents a major challenge to the paradigm of planet formation. In numerical simulations, the presence of a close binary companion stirs up the relative velocity between planetesimals, and a protoplanetary gas disk exacerbates the issue by differentially phasing planetesimal orbits, ultimately interfering or altogether halting the delicate phase of assembly of planetary embryos. However, the detection of several planets in tight binary systems and the recent discovery of circumbinary "Tatooine" planets establishes that planet formation in binary environments is clearly viable. I will try to address the question: "Why is planet formation so complicated, yet so resilient?" by reviewing some of the major barriers to planet formation in binary environments and offering a few venues for planetesimal salvation. Even before planetesimals are formed, there are several hurdles to overcome for solid growth; I will briefly review how with a new Monte-Carlo code.

In the second part of the talk, I will present some of my recent work in public outreach using edu-tainment games and citizen science tools. This work, now funded by UT, is transitioning into a full-fledged platform to develop modern educational apps with moxie. These apps will provide hands-on "virtual labs", delivering access to accurate physical simulations and astronomical datasets to students, teachers and the general public.


Stefano Meschiari

University of Texas at Austin

host: Adam Kraus

Sep. 16

"The Complex Interplay between Star Formation and Galaxy Evolution from z~0-6"


Desika Narayanan

Haverford College

host: Steve Finkelstein

Sep. 23

"Compact Galaxies and Super-Massive Black Holes"


Remco van den Bosch

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Heidelberg

host: Karl Gebhardt

Sep. 30

"The Architecture and Timing of Planetary Systems"


Daniel Fabrycky

University of Chicago

host: TBD

Oct. 7

"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Supermassive Black Hole?"


Jonathan Trump

Pennsylvania State University

host: Steve Finkelstein

Oct. 14

"Puzzles in the Structure of Disk Galaxies"


Stephane Courteau

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

host: Karl Gebhardt

Oct. 21

"Galaxy Build-up in the First Gyr: Insights from ultra-deep HST and Spitzer Observations"


Pascal Oesch

Yale University

host: Steve Finkelstein

Oct. 28

"Forming Earths and Mercuries: Solids Less Volatile than Ice"


Alexander Hubbard

American Museum of Natural History, New York

host: Joel Green

Nov. 4

"Shedding Lyman Alpha Light on Cosmological Reionization"


James Rhoads

Arizona State University

host: Steve Finkelstein

Nov. 11

"Title: TBA"


Andrea Isella

Rice University

host: Adam Kraus

Nov. 18

"Title: TBA"


Rebecca Bernstein

Giant Magellan Telescope Observatory

host: Taft Armandroff

Nov. 25

"Title: TBA"


Speaker: TBD

Affiliation: TBD

host: TBD

Dec. 2

DeVaucouleurs Medalist

DeVaucouleurs Lecture: "The Growth of Supermassive Black Holes and Galaxy Evolution"


C. Megan Urry

Yale University

host: Shardha Jogee

Dec. 3
ECJ 1.202

DeVaucouleurs Medalist

Public Lecture: "Black Holes, Galaxies and the Evolution of the Universe: An Observer's View"


C. Megan Urry

Yale University

host: Shardha Jogee

Dec. 9

"Brown Dwarfs as Exoplanet Analogs"


Katelyn Allers

Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA

host: Adam Kraus

Visitors to the Department of Astronomy can find detailed information and maps on our Visiting Austin Page.

Please report omissions/corrections to: G. Orris at


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