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NSAAC June Club Meeting

Friday, June 7, 2024, 7:30 PM until 9:30 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC-05:00)
10 Elm Street, Boxford, MA (Center at 10 Elm)

Additional Info:
Registration is not Required
Payment In Full In Advance Only

This month's meeting will take place onJune 7th at 7:30 at 10 Elm Street, Boxford.

The business meeting will come first, followed by a presentation on The Search for Earth 2.0 by Dr. Andrew Szentgyorgyi of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Two of the highest priority programs in astrophysics are the discovery and characterization of
Earth 2.0 – rocky, Earth-mass exoplanets orbiting Solar-type stars in their habitable zone and the search for biomarkers in the atmospheres of exoplanets in general.

The first program is enabled by precision radial velocity (PRV) measurements of the line-of-sight reflex motion of host stars in response to the gravitational influence of low-mass exoplanets that orbit those stars. The search for biomarkers and the characterization of the molecular composition of exoplanets requires extremely high spectral resolution spectrographs on large aperture telescopes.

The G-CLEF spectrograph has been designed to provide these capabilities. Before deployment at the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), G-CLEF will be delivered to the Magellan telescopes in in 2027, to do several pathfinder observational programs that will allow observers to optimize G-CLEF for its delivery to the GMT in 2032.

A key project for G@M+MagAO-X will be to resolve and search for O 2 in the atmosphere of a habitable zone planet orbiting the star nearest to the Sun – Proxima Cen b. The
talk will discuss several aspects of habitability, habitability searches and several technical
innovations we will deploy to optimize the Proxima Cen b habitability search.

Dr. Szentgyorgyi has worked in a number of astrophysical areas including neutrino astronomy, very high energy gamma astronomy and X-ray astronomy. For the last two decades he has focused on optical high dispersion stellar spectroscopy with a focus on precision measurement of stellar radial velocities. These measurements are often used to detect and measure the mass of exoplanets, especially the lightest exoplanets with masses similar to that of the Earth. He has exploited a number of state-of-the-art technologies to improve the precision of these measurements. He is currently the principal investigator of the GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF), the first light instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope. With the G-CLEF scientific team, he is exploring the potential of G-CLEF to detect biomarkers in the atmospheres of habitable-zone exoplanets. In addition to stellar astrophysics, his scientific interests include optics, especially vision and atmospheric phenomena and musical acoustics