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In this issue:
Fermi Large Area Telescope Collaboration Back at SLAC for Upbeat Meeting
Colloquium Today: Kepler—Any Good Worlds Out There?

SLAC Today

Monday - March 14, 2011

Fermi Large Area Telescope Collaboration Back at SLAC for Upbeat Meeting

Fermi-LAT collaboration members at the celebration dinner. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

Nearly 200 members of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope–Large Area Telescope Collaboration converged on SLAC last week to attend the biannual collaboration meeting. A meeting filled with good news took on an extra air of celebration thanks to the January announcement that UC Santa Cruz particle astrophysicist Bill Atwood, LAT principal investigator Peter Michelson and the entire Fermi-LAT team had received the Bruno Rossi Prize.

"The observatory is operating smoothly and almost exclusively in nominal survey mode," said Fermi Project Scientist Julie McEnery of NASA during a status update on the mission as a whole. In other words, the observatory is spending the majority of its time scanning the skies for sources of highly-energetic gamma rays and refining its catalogue, which is just as it should be, according to McEnery. 

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Colloquium Today:
Kepler—Any Good Worlds Out There?

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Today at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium, NASA/SETI investigator Jon Jenkins will present "Kepler: Are There Any Good Worlds Out There?"

Artist's rendition of a distant planetary system. Kepler detects planets by measuring small decreases in a star's brightness as planets pass in front of it. (Image: NASA/Kepler mission.)

The Kepler Mission began science observations on May 12, 2009, initiating NASA's first search for Earth-like planets. Initial results and light curves from Kepler are simply breathtaking—and they reveal as much about the instrument as they do about the stars under observation. The first confirmed rocky planet, Kepler-10b, was announced in January 2011. In this colloquium, Jenkins will discuss what we've learned about the instrument and the stars, as well as how the science pipeline is being modified to reveal small Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of their stars.

Artist's rendition of the Kepler spacecraft. (Image: NASA/Kepler mission/Wendy Stenzel.)

Jon Jenkins is a principal investigator for the SETI Institute at NASA Ames Research Center, where he researches data processing and detection algorithms for the discovery of extrasolar planets. He is the co-investigator for data analysis for the NASA Discovery Program's Kepler Mission.

The SLAC Colloquium is free and open to all.

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