Monday, July 16, 2012

SETIcon II: Where science and imagination meet!

Last month I worked at the SETI Institute’s SETICon II: where science and imagination meet! It was a fun convention hosted by the SETI Institute that brought together a lot of interesting people.  I helped out at the Lick Observatory Booth and presented an activity and some iPad apps on exoplanets and how to find them.  The activity was very easy to understand and included a model demonstration of the wobble method (Doppler spectrocscopy) and the transit method.

Here’s  a demonstration video by the wonderful Suzy Gurton.  It's titled "How Do We Find Planets?" and can be find on the Night Sky Network list of activities:

Throughout the day, I also showed off the Kepler and Exoplanets apps.  I ended up chatting with Dr. Frank Drake of the famous Drake equation (!), who was presenting at one of the panels later on at the convention.  It was definitely a starstruck moment (pun intended).  I remember attending an astronomy class at a college I visited during high school, and during that lecture we went over the Drake equation ( and the notion of intelligent life in our Universe.  It was pretty full circle when I showed him and his wife the apps, and had a discussion about how I got into astronomy.  Both lovely people, and I had a great time talking it up with them.  I’ve included some photos below:

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