Finding the Next Earth: Latest Results from Kepler
Presentation Kicks Off 13th Year of Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series
October 17, 2012
7 to 8:30 p.m.

Kepler-47 system diagram. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
Kepler-47 system diagram. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

As part of the 13th annual Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, Natalie Batalha, Ph.D., mission scientist for NASA’s Kepler Project, will discuss Finding the Next Earth: The Latest Results from Kepler, an illustrated, non-technical lecture, Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. Admission is free and the public is invited. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early to locate parking.

With the launch of NASA's Kepler spacecraft in 2009, humanity's quest to find planets orbiting other stars took a great leap forward. Dr. Batalha will describe the techniques used by the Kepler team to identify Earth-size planets and update the audience on the remarkable progress they are making. She will discuss the planets already found (including one like Tatooine in Star Wars, with two suns in the sky), and share what we know so far about the thousands of candidate planets that are in the Kepler data (planets ranging from one-half the size of Earth to twice the size of Jupiter).

Batalha is a research astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center and the mission scientist for Kepler. She holds a doctorate in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz. She started her career studying young, sun-like stars. Inspired by the growing number of exoplanet discoveries, she joined the team at Ames working on the emerging technology for finding planets by measuring the tiny decrease in light when a planet moves across the face of its sun. Twelve years later, she stands poised with the Kepler team to make discoveries that, until recently, have been in the realm of science fiction, but are now becoming our scientific reality.

The free lecture series is sponsored by the Foothill College Astronomy Program, NASA Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Past lectures from the series are available online at

Visitors must purchase a parking permit for $3 from dispensers in student parking lots. Parking lots 1, 7 and 8 provide stair and no-stair access to the theatre. Foothill College is located off I-280 on El Monte Road in Los Altos Hills. For more information, access or call (650) 949-7888.

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Special Notice: Admission is free; parking is $3. Purchase required parking permit for $3 from dispensers in any student lot.