Over the past few decades, hundreds of new planetary systems have been discovered, many of which show remarkable diversity compared with our own Solar System. A key step towards characterizing these planets is the determination of which planets occupy the Habitable Zone (HZ) of their host stars. In this talk Stephen will describe the properties of the HZ, the dependence on the stellar properties, and the current state of exoplanet detections in the HZ. Along the way he will attempt to dispel some common misconceptions regarding the Habitable Zone. Finally, he will present several case studies of HZ Kepler planets, including new results from Kepler and the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri.

Stephen Kane has been researching planets around other stars for more than 20 years and has discovered and characterized hundreds of exoplanets, including Kepler-186f, which is the smallest planet yet to have been found in the Habitable Zone of a star. After spending many years working at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Kane is now a Professor of Astrophysics at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He is the Chair of the Kepler Mission Habitable Zone Working Group and the Director of the Planetary Research Laboratory at SFSU.

You may purchase food and drinks at Harry’s Hofbrau and enjoy them before, during, and after the presentation in the banquet room.

Volunteers are needed and appreciated for set up and tear down! If you’re a new member, this a great way to dive head first into the community. Setup starts at approx 6:00pm. See Social Director Sean Washington about becoming an event roadie. If you’re more interested in making your fellow atheists (members and/or guest speakers) feel welcome, see Lyn about joining our hospitality team.

This event is totally free, though we do accept donations ( http://sanjoseatheists.org/donate/ ).

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