Close to 300 planets outside our solar system have already been discovered. What if we find earth's twin?
The two leading planet hunters Didier Queloz, University of Geneva, and Debra Fischer, San Francisco State University, will talk about their search for planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) and the possibility of finding an earth-like planet, with liquid water on the surface.
They discuss ideas on what such a planet would look like, what would grow, and what kind of life could exist.
Lynette Cook, well-known portraitist of planets, will envision the outcome of this discussion through painting the imagined surface of one of the most recent discoveries: Gliese 581 c- Swissnex San Francisco
Lynette Cook majored in Biology and Drawing & Painting, receiving both a Bachelor of Science as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree. She interned at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, working in the departments of Exhibits and Invertebrate Zoology. This internship led to freelance work at the museum, and eventually to the staff job of Artist/Photographer for the Morrison Planetarium, a position she still holds.
As Cooks' freelance work progressed, she developed a niche as a space artist and now paints astronomical subject matter almost exclusively. Her astronomical artwork has been published in Astronomy, Science News and Sky & Telescope as well as documentaries on BBC, CNN, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, and PBS; and in many national newspapers. She has exhibited at American Museum of Natural History, Lick Observatory, NASA Ames Research Center, the Smithsonian, Space Center Houston, and Stanford University.
One of Cooks' favorite subjects is SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. She has been commissioned by the SETI Institute for several projects.
She is best known for her depictions of new planets discovered outside our solar system. Cook consults with astronomers, often the discoverers themselves, to learn what these worlds might look like. Then she creates a painting based on the data. Her renderings play a significant role in the education of others about these planets, reaching a wide and diverse audience.
Though the computer is used extensively to work out ideas for her images, Cook finds traditional media to be faster and easier for most final art. She uses a mixed media technique, combining gouache (and/or watercolor), colored pencil, and acrylic. Much of the work is done with the airbrush, with additional details painted and drawn in.
Debra Fischer is a professor of astronomy at San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley.
Fischer has co-authored over 80 papers on dwarf and sub-stellar mass objects in the galactic neighborhood, including many on extrasolar planets. She is also a member of the planet search team led by Geoffrey Marcy looking for extrasolar planets.
Didier Queloz is a Geneva-based astronomer with a prolific record in finding extrasolar planets. He is understudy to Michel Mayor.
Didier Queloz was a Ph.D. student at the University of Geneva when he and Michel Mayor discovered the first exoplanet around a main sequence star. Queloz performed an analysis on 51 Pegasi using radial velocity measurements (doppler effect), and was astonished to find a planet with an orbital period of 4.2 days.
Although he had been performing the analysis as an exercise to hone his skills, the planet, 51 Pegasi b, challenged the accepted views of planetary formation, being a hot jupiter or roaster.