Colloquia Schedule Fall 2016

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

Aug. 30

Setting Stellar Chronometers: The PTF(+) Open Cluster Survey


Marcel Agueros

Columbia University

host: Adam Kraus

Sep. 6

Exploring Galaxy Formation in the Epoch of Reionisation


Stephen Wilkins

University of Sussex

host: Steve Finkelstein

Sep. 13

The Milky Way Laboratory


Cara Battersby

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

host: Neal Evans

Sep. 20

No talk scheduled

Sep. 27

Spin and Magnetism in Cool Stars


Elisabeth Newton

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research

host: Andrew Mann

Oct. 4

A Story of Stellar Nurseries


Nia Imara

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

host: Caitlin Casey

Oct. 11

Network Cosmology: What can we learn from galaxy Facebook?
Sungryong Hong

Comet Update!
Adam McKay

The Fossil Record of Binary and Planetary Orbits
Trent Dupuy

UT Postdocs (Three talks)

Oct. 18

Formation and Compositions of Planet Interiors and Atmospheres: Discoveries from Kepler, K2, and beyond


Erik Petigura

California Institute of Technology

host: Brendan Bowler

Oct. 25

The Future of Exoplanet Science at McDonald Observatory

The field of exoplanet science, particularly as it relates to the discovery and characterization of the nearest exoplanets, stands at the threshold of a renaissance. A new generation of dedicated radial velocity (RV) spectrometers is quickly coming online, which will enable sub-1 m/s Doppler measurements of nearby stars across the entire optical-NIR bandpass. Combined with transit observations from K2 and the upcoming TESS mission, these instruments promise an era of characterization for nearby low-mass exoplanets. Further afield, the development of space-based and 30-meter telescopes capable of measuring the atmospheres of Earthlike planets offers the tantalizing possibility of transitioning from exoplanet taxonomy to observational astrobiology. With the imminent arrivals of the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) and the upgraded High Resolution Spectrometer (HRS) and, later, the Giant Magellan Telescope, McDonald Observatory is well equipped to lead the field of observational exoplanet science in the coming decades.
I will outline the primary science drivers and capabilities of today's exoplanet observing technology, and explain how ongoing initiatives to discover exoplanets and measure their properties will set the stage for exploring those planets with tomorrow's telescopes. I will discuss the vital role of ultra-precise RV instruments in an era where exoplanets are discovered in bulk by transit surveys, focusing on the HPF instrument at HET. Actually achieving Doppler measurements more precise than 1 m/s is fraught with challenges, and I will highlight some of the novel approaches HPF and other upcoming Doppler spectrometers are implementing to achieve unprecedented stability. With the improvements in measurement precision comes the simultaneous need to better mitigate astrophysical noise from stars themselves, and I will emphasize the fact that discovering and characterizing Earth analogs in the near future will require a concerted, collaborative effort from instrumentalists, astrophysicists, and statisticians.


Paul Robertson

Penn State University

host: Greg Mace

Nov. 1

Title: TBA

Kelly Holley-Bockelmann

Vanderbilt University

host: Craig Wheeler/Eva Noyola

Nov. 8

Towards the Characterization of Potentially Habitable Planets with High Resolution Spectroscopy


Matteo Brogi

University of Colorado Boulder

host: Dan Jaffe

Nov. 15

Controlling Star Formation: From Clouds to Galaxies

Eve Ostriker

Princeton University

host: Volker Bromm

Nov. 22

Title: TBA

Sean Gulick

The University of Texas at Austin Institute for Geophysics

host: Bill Cochran

Nov. 29

Dust-obscured star formation at the Cosmic Frontier : New observations from the Large Millimeter Telescope


Alexandra Pope

University of Massachusetts Amherst

host: Caitlin Casey

Dec. 6

Title: TBA

David Sand

Texas Tech University

host: Kristy McQuinn

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7 June 2016
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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