Press Release

Kepler’s Quest for New Worlds Public Talk

By SpaceRef Editor
November 17, 2011
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Kepler’s Quest for New Worlds Public Talk

Is life common in our galaxy? Does it exist? How unique is life here on Earth? Are we alone? The Kepler Mission is taking us one step closer to answer these age-old questions.

Join Dr. Natalie Batalha and Dr. Don Kurtz for a free public talk on NASA’s Kepler Mission, NASA’s first mission capable of detecting Earth-size planets around other stars, on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in building 152 at NASA Ames Research Center.

Catching Shadows: Kepler’s Quest for New Worlds: Dr. Natalie Batalha,professor of physics and astronomy at San Jose State University and the deputy science team lead for NASA’s Kepler Mission.

Humankind’s speculation about the existence of other worlds like our own turned into a veritable quest with the launch of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft in March 2009. The mission is designed to survey a slice of the Milky Way to identify planets orbiting other stars. It looks for the telltale dimming of light that occurs when an orbiting planet passes in front of the star thereby casting a shadow into space. The roster of exoplanets discovered by Kepler has reached close to 30 in number, including one world that is unquestionably rocky in composition, another with 6 transiting planets, and another in a circumbinary orbit. Moreover, the team has released a catalog of nearly one thousand stars showing the recurring dimmings of light that suggest the presence of a planet. The methods used to identify planets will be described in this talk as well as the discoveries that have been announced to date. Now in its third year of operation, Kepler is honing in on the answer to the question that drives the mission: are potentially habitable worlds abundant in our galaxy.


Songs of the Stars: the Real Music of the Spheres: Dr. Don Kurtz, professor of astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom and a steering committee member of the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium.

We humans are visual creatures. For us “seeing is believing.” The Pythagoreans 2500 years ago believed in a celestial “music of the spheres”, an idea that reverberated down the millennia in Western music, literature, art and science. Johannes Kepler (the namesake of the Kepler Mission) was so enamored with Pythagoras’s idea that in the early 1600s that he spent years trying to discover harmonic relationships among the periods of the planets in their orbits about the Sun, finally, disappointingly (for him), proving otherwise. Now we know that there is a real music of the spheres. The stars have sounds in them that we can use to see right to their very cores. This multi-media lecture looks at the relationship of music to stellar sounds. You will hear the real sounds of the stars and you will hear musical compositions where every member of the orchestra is a real (astronomical) star! You will also learn about some of the latest amazing discoveries from the Kepler Space Mission that lets us “hear” the stars 100 times better than with telescopes on the ground.


Register today: Space is limited! The Kepler Mission has transformed our understanding of planetary systems and is rewriting textbooks. We invite all members of the public to join in an engaging and moving presentation of how Kepler is shaping the understanding of our place in the universe.

To register, please visit:

For information about NASA’s Kepler Mission, please visit:

Please note because the event is being held at a Federal Government facility, the following restrictions apply:

* Entry at the main gate for NASA and the Conference Center requires a government issued picture identification along with the ticket for the event. Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult with a government issued picture identification.

* Unauthorized entry upon any NASA real property of installation is prohibited. (14 CFR 1204.1004)

* Your entry into, continued presence on, or exit from, this installation is contingent upon your consent to inspection of person and property. (14 CFR 1204.1003)

* Unauthorized introduction of weapons or dangerous materials is prohibited

* Unless specifically authorized by NASA, you may not carry, transport, introduce, store, or use firearms or other dangerous weapons, explosives or other incendiary devices or other dangerous instruments or material likely to produce substantial injury or damage to persons or property. (14 CFR 1204.1003)

* Possession of firearms or dangerous weapons is strictly prohibited

* No Smoking

SpaceRef staff editor.