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Thursday, April 11 • 4:30pm - 4:35pm
Lightning Talks: Moving Objects in Exoplanet Mission Data: Studying the Solar System and Protecting the Earth

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Understanding of the history of the solar system and answers to questions such as “How did Earth get its water?” rely heavily on the study of small bodies such as asteroids and comets as these objects are the most pristine probes of their formation regions within the solar system. In the last 30 years, studies of asteroids and comets have usually been directed towards the study of one object at a given time with a given telescope, but the advent of large area surveys for the monitoring of stars for exoplanets has offered a new data source to used by solar system astronomers. While these data are fraught with challenges including, but not limited to: limited data recording capabilities resulting in only predefined image pixels being saved, variability within images related to spacecraft motion and images with large pixels containing many objects, detection of small solar system bodies is still possible. From the measurement of brightness variations of these small rocky bodies in the solar system via time series analysis, we learn a wealth of information about shape and density of these small objects allowing us to learn about the solar system’s past, and potentially even ways to protect the Earth if one of these asteroids or comets is heading towards us. Data presented in this talk will be from projects led by the speaker using both the Kepler and TESS exoplanet missions.

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avatar for Erin Ryan

Erin Ryan

Astronomer, SETI Institute
Erin Lee Ryan is an asteroid that can be found approximately 4 AU from the Sun. It's human namesake can be mostly frequently found in the Charlottesville area trying to do science on some form of imagery. She holds a bachelors in astronomy from the University of Arizona and a PhD... Read More →


Thursday April 11, 2019 4:30pm - 4:35pm EDT
Violet Crown: Theater 5 200 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, USA