By Jessica Hoover
The Link Observatory Space Science Institute is conducting an event called “Discovering New Worlds,” presented by LinkLive, at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Bridgewater Club, 3535 E. 161st St. LinkLive public events are audio/visual presentations that utilize professional science communicators and digital imagery, animation, music and multimedia technology.
“Discovering New Worlds” will feature Greg McCauley, executive director and CEO of the Link Institute, as the speaker. He will discuss topics such as the first discovery of an exoplanet and the 4,000 planets since then that have been confirmed to orbit other stars.
“The question is, ‘Are we alone?’” McCauley said. “Are we alone in this universe? Recently, within the last year, we have discovered 21 new planets and 850 more potential worlds that have yet to be confirmed, all residing within a few dozen light years of our own solar system. Scientists around the world are analyzing these local exoplanets to determine their properties, including their structure and compositions, and even their weather.
“We are at the cusp of a profound understanding of the story of planets everywhere, including whether there is life beyond Earth.”
In addition to his other roles, McCauley also has worked at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, in Mission Planning and Analysis for the Apollo Program. He serves as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA/JPL and lectures throughout central Indiana about NASA missions, astronomy and space exploration.
“If it’s a clear night, go outside and look up,” McCauley said. “Every star you see out there – that’s not just a star, that’s a planetary system you’re looking at. Every single star in the sky is a planetary system. And on those planets, is there life? I think there very well could be. We may very well be in the center of this community of intelligent species, and we just don’t know it.”
Tickets for the “Discovering New Worlds” event are $10. Children 12 and under are free. Attendees also will receive a free archive called “The Search for Planets Beyond Our Solar System.” For tickets, visit linkobservatory.org/index.html.