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Top astronomer in Okanagan to talk about probability of life on other planets

Dr. Jaymie Matthews, one of Canada’s foremost astronomers and a self-proclaimed astro-paparazzo, will take stage in a public presentation at Okanagan College next month, to describe his efforts to spy on planets around other stars that might be homes for alien celebrities.
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August 31, 2016 - 4:30 PM

VERNON – One of Canada’s top astronomers will be in Vernon next month talking about the mounting evidence that there is life on other planets.

Dr. Jaymie Matthews, a self-proclaimed astro-paparazzo, will describe his efforts to “spy on planets around other stars that might be homes for alien celebrities.”

“The first step in finding abodes for life is to find planets in the Habitable Zones of their stars, whose surface temperatures would allow liquid water,” Matthews says in a media release. “These are known as Goldilocks Worlds – not too hot, not too cold, but just right for life as we know it. We live in a revolutionary era for the understanding of the origin and evolution of planets, including our own Earth.”

Matthews says that as of late August 2016 there are roughly 3,500 confirmed planets with the right conditions for life to exist.

Interest in exoplanets is trending with the recent discovery of Proxima B, the closest exoplanet to earth yet to be found at a mere 25 trillion miles or 4.2 light years away. It is thought to be a rocky, Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star to us: the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.

Matthews’ presentation, Goldilocks and the Three Thousand Worlds: Searching for planets that are 'just right', will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Matthews is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. He leads the MOST (Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars) mission – Canada’s first space telescope – and is an expert in the fields of stellar seismology (using the vibrations of vibrating stars to probe their hidden interiors and histories) and exoplanets.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advance tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.


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