Observatory director to talk about exoplanet system

UKIRT Observatory on Maunakea is studying a fascinating system of small planets orbiting a nearby cool red star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are considered to be in the habitable zone, where conditions would allow liquid water to exist on the surface and potentially allow life to exist.

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UKIRT Observatory on Maunakea is studying a fascinating system of small planets orbiting a nearby cool red star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are considered to be in the habitable zone, where conditions would allow liquid water to exist on the surface and potentially allow life to exist.

Learn more about this quest for knowledge at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center during the next Maunakea Skies talk with Bob McLaren, director at UKIRT Observatory.

Originally known as the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, UKIRT is operated by the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. With its 3.8-meter primary mirror, UKIRT is the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere dedicated solely to infrared astronomy. TRAPPIST-1 is 40 light years away. It is classified as an M8 dwarf, which means it has a mass of about 8 percent that of our sun and a size only slightly larger than Jupiter.

A total of seven planets have been discovered around TRAPPIST-1 by using the transit technique, in which astronomers carefully measure the small dimming that occurs when one or more of the planets crosses in front of the star. With its sensitive infrared camera called the Wide Field Cam, UKIRT is able to measure the transit dimming with a photometric accuracy of 500 parts per million and a timing accuracy of 20 seconds.

McLaren will describe how UKIRT’s observations have played a major role in establishing the multiplanet nature of the TRAPPIST-1 system. He also will explain how these same observations revealed that all seven planets have masses close to that of Earth.

Hosted by planetarium technician Emily Peavy, ‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawaii, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year.

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Maunakea Skies presentations are the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for ‘Imiloa members (member-level discounts apply).

‘Imiloa is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park. Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 932-8901.

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Observatory director to talk about exoplanet system

UKIRT Observatory on Maunakea is studying a fascinating system of small planets orbiting a nearby cool red star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are considered to be in the habitable zone, where conditions would allow liquid water to exist on the surface and potentially allow life to exist.

Learn more about this quest for knowledge at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center during the next Maunakea Skies talk with Bob McLaren, director at UKIRT Observatory.

ADVERTISING


Originally known as the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, UKIRT is operated by the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. With its 3.8-meter primary mirror, UKIRT is the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere dedicated solely to infrared astronomy. TRAPPIST-1 is 40 light years away. It is classified as an M8 dwarf, which means it has a mass of about 8 percent that of our sun and a size only slightly larger than Jupiter.

A total of seven planets have been discovered around TRAPPIST-1 by using the transit technique, in which astronomers carefully measure the small dimming that occurs when one or more of the planets crosses in front of the star. With its sensitive infrared camera called the Wide Field Cam, UKIRT is able to measure the transit dimming with a photometric accuracy of 500 parts per million and a timing accuracy of 20 seconds.

McLaren will describe how UKIRT’s observations have played a major role in establishing the multiplanet nature of the TRAPPIST-1 system. He also will explain how these same observations revealed that all seven planets have masses close to that of Earth.

Hosted by planetarium technician Emily Peavy, ‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawaii, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year.

ADVERTISING


Maunakea Skies presentations are the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for ‘Imiloa members (member-level discounts apply).

‘Imiloa is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park. Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 932-8901.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.