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Astronomy Lecture: Brown Dwarfs & Free-Floating Planets
When You're Just Too Small to Be a Star
Smithwick Theatre (Room 1001)
April 17, 2013
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Archive Story
The Sun, a low mass star, a brown dwarf, Jupiter and Earth.
Image credit: NASA

As part of the 13th annual Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, Gibor Basri, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss Brown Dwarfs & Free-Floating Planets: When You're Just Too Small to Be a Star, an illustrated, non-technical lecture, Wednesday, April 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.
The least massive star is six times heavier than the most massive known planet. In between is the realm of the mysterious brown dwarfs. The first of these was discovered only in 1995, the same year astronomers found the first planet beyond our solar system. Since then we have found hundreds of each, and new techniques are giving us even more power to probe the properties of these enigmatic bodies. Dr. Basri will summarize the progress we have made in understanding the domain of cosmic objects that don't qualify as stars.
Gibor Basri has been a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley for more than 30 years, teaching not just astronomy but also a course on the science in science fiction. He is known as one of the discoverers of brown dwarfs, and an expert on low-mass stars. In addition, he is a member of the Kepler mission team which is searching for earth-sized planets around other stars. He has used telescopes ranging from mighty Keck telescopes in Hawaii to space-borne telescopes like Hubble and Kepler. He has long made promotion of science in underrepresented communities a mission, and is the first person to serve as the first vice-chancellor for equity and inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley.
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 A number of past Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are now available free on YouTube on the series' own channel at:
Parking lots 1, 7 and 8 provide stair and no-stair access to the theatre. Visitors must purchase a parking permit for $3 from dispensers in any student parking lot. Dispensers accept one-dollar bills and quarters. 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.

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