Dr. Stella Kafka, Executive Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), will present the state of exoplanet research on January 19 at Mesa College. Discussions with Dr. Kafka and among the members of San Diego’s citizen science and exoplanet research community will follow. Exoplanet novices are especially welcome.

Dr. Kafka’s Presentation: News and Challenges in Exoplanet Exploration

We live in the century of exoplanet exploration: So far, more than 3000 planetary systems of all sizes have emerged around all types of stars because of ground- and space-based missions. Some of the exoplanets are Earth-sized and occupy that niche we call the Goldilocks zone; we are close to identifying our Earth’s twin. In this presentation, I will discuss the main exoplanet detection techniques that have already provided a zoo of exoplanets. She will also present contributions of small telescopes to exoplanet exploration, and how the AAVSO can help YOU to engage in and contribute to exoplanet studies with a small telescope.

Before her tenure at the AAVSO, Dr. Kafka held positions at CTIO, Spitzer Science center/Caltech, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM and AIP Publishing. The AAVSO is an international non-profit organization of variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy.

Our meeting plan:

10:00 – 10:15         Meet and greet everyone (coffee will be served)

10:15 – 11:00         Dr. Kafka’s presentation

11:00 to ~ noon      Group discussions on current / future research here in San Diego

We will meet at Building S-6 on the Miramar College campus in Room S6-103. Miramar College is located at 10440 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92126   Guests can park in the northern parking lots Lot 3 and G-3 and walk south to S-6.  See below.