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Stargazing Lecture

Friday, February 24, 2023
7:00pm to 9:00pm
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Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Can Exoplanets Keep Their Atmospheres Long Enough for Life to Develop?
Jessica Spake, 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Planetary Science, Caltech,
  • Public Event

Stargazing is dependent on clear weather, but lecture and Q&A happen regardless. Event will occur in-person, with lecture and Q&A additionally live-streamed on YouTube.

For remote viewers, the event will be live-streamed here:

7:00–7:30 p.m. - Public Lecture
7:30–9:00 p.m. - Panel Q&A and Guided Stargazing

Earthly life requires water and a stable atmosphere. Our atmosphere has protected liquid water on the Earth's surface for billions of years - long enough for life to evolve. But since our planet formed, much of its atmosphere has been lost to space, and even today it is slowly trickling away. We seek life beyond our Solar System, and in the last decade we have found hundreds of rocky planets around other stars. Some of these planets seem like the right temperature for liquid water, and therefore life -- but do they still have atmospheres? Or have they been stripped bare by the heat and winds from their parent stars? I'll explain how we study exoplanets which are losing their atmospheres; and the rocky road to finding truly habitable planets.

About the Series

Stargazing Lectures are free lectures at a public level followed by a Q&A panel and guided stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting). All events are held at the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech. No reservations are needed. Lectures are 30 minutes; stargazing and panel Q&A last 90 minutes. Stay only as long as you want.

Stargazing is only possible with clear skies, but the lecture and panel Q&A takes place regardless of weather.

For directions, weather updates, and more information, please visit:

For more information, please contact Cameron Hummels by email at [email protected].