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NEW PODCAST: Probing the Kuiper Belt and Beyond June 17, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Asteroid, Asteroids, Astronomy, Podcast.
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Description: Meg and Brooke discuss what we have learned by studying the small planetesimals orbiting beyond Neptune in the Kuiper belt and beyond. In particular they discuss Sedna, a roughly Pluto-sized body on a highly eccentric orbit beyond Neptune that challenges our understanding of the solar system and suggests the presence of a distant icy population of bodies residing beyond the Kuiper belt. They discuss the possible origin of Sedna’s orbit and the search for more Sedna-like bodies.

Bio: Meg Schwamb is National Science Foundation (NSF) Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University’s Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (YCAA). As part of the La Silla-QUEST KBO Survey (http://hepwww.physics.yale.edu/lsqkbo), she is searching the southern skies for the largest and brightest members of the Kuiper belt and beyond, and studying the orbital and physical characteristics of these new discoveries. Meg is also studying the processes of planet formation and evolution as project scientist for Planet Hunters (www.planethunters.org), a citizen science project searching for the signatures of transiting exoplanets in the data collected by NASA’s Kepler mission.

Brooke Simmons is a researcher at the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics, studying the mechanisms by which black holes and galaxies co-evolve over cosmic time. Currently, her research focuses on extending our understanding of galaxies hosting actively growing supermassive black holes to a time when the universe was less than a quarter of its present age. Brooke is also actively involved in Galaxy Zoo (www.galaxyzoo.org), a citizen science project that invites the public to participate in forefront scientific research.



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