About This Episode
Seth Shostak, SETI Institute Senior Astronomer and StarTalk veteran, is back to host StarTalk All-Stars as he and his co-host Chuck Nice welcome Jason Wright, Associate Professor of Astronomy at Penn State, to explore the exoplanets. Jason, who is a member at the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, offers his insights on the important discovery of Proxima b, the neighboring exoplanet to Earth, roughly 4 light years away. We get details on what makes Proxima b special, space transportation by light sails and laser beams, and information on star KIC8462852, or as Seth calls it “Bob”. You’ll learn how the Kepler Space Telescope uses the dimming of stars to find planets, which bio-signatures we look for on exoplanets, and how coronagraphic telescopes work. Discover what signals SETI scans for, how long it would take to confirm a possible alien transmission, and the protocol SETI takes if a possible transmission is received. You’ll also find out about alien astro-architecture, “super Earths”, and whether it’s possible for non carbon-based life to exist. Plus, get the answers to Cosmic Queries like how do we detect life on an exoplanet? How many exoplanets have we visually seen? Are there planet types that are theorized but haven’t been discovered? A fan even asks, “Once you go alien, can you ever go back?”
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Exploring Exoplanets, with Seth Shostak – StarTalk All-Stars.