Voyager Lecture Series: With Dr. Ron Smith – The Pale Red Dot
November 3rd @ 7:30 pm$15
Voyager Lecture Series:
The Pale Red Dot: Can Proxima Centauri B Support Life?
With with Dr. Ron Smith
The habitability of Proxima Centauri B, the closest planet outside of our solar system, has not yet been firmly established. The planet experiences stellar wind pressures of more than 2,000 times those experienced by Earth. This would likely blow all atmosphere away, leaving the surface as the only potentially habitable elevation.
However, the planet is orbiting within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, the region where, with the correct planetary conditions and atmospheric properties, liquid water may exist. In October 2016, researchers at France’s CNRS research institute stated that there is a considerable chance of the planet harboring surface oceans and having a thin atmosphere. However, unless the planet transits in front of its star from the perspective of Earth, it is difficult to test for either.
Even though Proxima Centauri B is in the habitable zone, the planet’s habitability has been questioned because of several potentially hazardous physical conditions. The exoplanet is close enough to its host star that it might be tidally locked. In this case, it is expected that any habitable areas would be confined to the border region between the two extreme sides, generally referred to as the terminator line, since it is only here that temperatures might be suitable for liquid water to exist.
Retired scientist Ron Smith will share with us the latest details on our closest “exoplanet,” Proxima Centauri B, continuing the distinguished Voyager Lecture Series.
This lecture will begin at 7:30pm on November 3rd. An informal gathering begins at 6:30pm in the Lorberbaum-Stahl Studio. Tickets are $15, including refreshments.