SETI INSTITUTE

How I Plan to Help Save Science Education with the Unistellar eVscope!
Published 10/2/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Lightning strikes a dream Several weeks ago I had a dream during the intense lightning storms in and around San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, which then sparked some of the devastating wildfires that we are still recovering from and experiencing. In this dream, I was in my high school chemistry class. My group was asked to answer the problem on the board and when we went up and didn’t know the answer, everyone, including the teacher (and Nelson from the Simpsons), laughed at us. This inspired me to share the failure of the American education system with my students and... read more ❯

New Unistellar eVscope exoplanet light curve and exoplanet targets this weekend!
Published 4/10/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, With your Unistellar eVscope you have the technology to detect planets orbiting other stars. Think about this--over 30 years ago planets around other stars (exoplanets) were hypothesized, but none yet were detected. Since the most agreed upon "first detection" of an exoplanet in 1992 around a pulsar, astronomers have detected thousands of exoplanets, but this has been done mostly through the use of expensive remote telescopes and highly technical techniques. Now, you and your eVscope can observe exoplanets with a few clicks on your smartphone and some time. I've been posting exoplanet targets for you and me to... read more ❯

Look up and let the stars lift your spirits AND exoplanet targets for Unistellar eVscope users!
Published 3/27/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Cosmic Diary guests and Unistellar eVscope users, My heart and best wishes go out to you and to your families during the COVID-19 global crisis. I have been very busy adjusting to this new way of life in quarantine and social distancing to do my part in "flattening the curve" and staying safe, as I'm sure many of you also have. In addition to being a PhD student, I also teach high school physics full-time and my school in the Bay Area, CA, closed down for the pandemic on Friday, March 13. My teacher colleagues and I began teaching completely online... read more ❯

TONIGHT: NASA TESS exoplanet target for Unistellar eVscope users on March 7.
Published 3/8/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, Since it was very cloudy last night in California, I thought I'd post another target since forecasts predict only partly cloudy skies tonight. Be sure to check your weather, and be especially careful for any rain, but if the stars align, then go get some exoplanet data!!! 😉 Background Information (skip to the observing directions, if you've seen this before) If you have not seen my previous posts on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research... read more ❯

March 6 Weekend Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe NASA TESS exoplanets!
Published 3/6/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, It's time for another Unistellar eVscope exoplanet citizen science campaign. We would love your help observing some exoplanets, so if you want to join us in some planet hunting, then charge up your eVscopes and get ready because we need your help this weekend! Background Information (skip to the observing directions, if you've seen this before) If you have not seen my previous posts on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if... read more ❯

Feb. 14 - Feb 22 Weekend Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe exoplanets!
Published 2/14/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, It's time for another Unistellar eVscope exoplanet citizen science campaign. We would LOVE (Happy Valentine's Day by the way) your help observing some exoplanets, so if you want to join us in some planet hunting, then charge up those eVscopes and get ready because we need your help over the next few weekends! If you didn't catch my recent posts on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is... read more ❯

Feb. 1 - Feb. 9 Weekend Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe exoplanets!
Published 1/29/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, It's time for another Unistellar eVscope exoplanet citizen science campaign. We would love your help observing some exoplanets, so if you want to join us in some planet hunting, then charge up those eVscopes and get ready because we need your help over the next few weekends! If you didn't catch my recent posts on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy enthusiast around... read more ❯

January 24 Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe a NASA TESS exoplanet TONIGHT!
Published 1/24/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, Today is my birthday and for a gift, I want you to be involved in something innovative like participating in the very first second Unistellar exoplanet detection campaign? Then charge up those eVscopes and get ready because we need your help tonight to try and observe a NASA TESS exoplanet! If you didn't catch my last post on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy... read more ❯

Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe an exoplanet this weekend!
Published 1/11/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, Want to be involved in something innovative like participating in the very first Unistellar exoplanet detection campaign? Then charge your eVscope and get ready because we need your help this weekend! My name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy enthusiast around the world to coordinate with planet hunting scientists like us to help contribute to the search for planets around other stars (a.k.a. exoplanets). Exoplanet searches usually... read more ❯

Drake Equation Mural in a High School Physics Class
Published 10/2/2019 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
The Attention-Grabbing Intro How well do you remember your first high school physics class? The only thing I recall was dropping an egg off of some bleachers and trying to make a device that protected that egg so that it would not crack. I also remember that there was some math involved and I think I might not have been too happy about that. Other than those memories, I cannot remember anything from that class! Sorry, Mr. Hanlon! Science was not my favorite subject in high school. In fact, it wasn’t until my late 20s that I fell in love with science... read more ❯

Capturing a Snapshot of Pluto’s Atmosphere. The Story of an Occultation
Published 8/19/2018 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Last Tuesday night, a large number of amateur and professional astronomers located across Mexico, the US, and Canada took advantage of a rare and exciting opportunity: observe a blinking star while Pluto occulted it. In Southern California, the SETI Institute, the Observatoire de Paris, Unistellar, and Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT), one of the largest telescope retailers in the world, collaborated to observe this rare event and gather the precious data we need to understand Pluto’s atmosphere and climate. Here is our story.   Like most events in the world of modern astronomy, this one started with an email. In February 2018, I... read more ❯

Seeing the Sombrero Galaxy Seen From Cities
Published 5/31/2018 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
I am happy to share with you an update from Unistellar. Our team has recently collected a pair of images of the glorious Sombrero Galaxy (M104 in the Messier Catalog) taken during one of the most recent observing runs. Both images were taken in heavily light-polluted environments, the first near Marseille, in the south of France, on May 17 and the second from San Francisco, California on May 14. As usual, these are unedited images, and they clearly show what you can see with our eVscope prototype after just a few hundreds of seconds of observing.   Sombrero Galaxy (M104) taken from San Francisco, on... read more ❯

SETI Alumni: Portrait of Sarah Blunt
Published 5/5/2017 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Sarah Blunt, REU student class of 2015, is today a full member of the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey. Together with SETI researcher Eric Nielsen and Franck Marchis, she has developed an innovative method to fit the orbits of directly imaged exoplanets. She has published her work in Astronomical Journal and is a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship that will fund her graduate school. Here her story. Every year the SETI Institute hosts several interns who work with our researchers through a Research Experience for Undergraduates (or REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation. We often wonder what... read more ❯

Let's be careful about this "SETI" signal
Published 8/29/2016 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
August 31: See update at the end of this post Several readers have contacted me recently about reports that a group of international astronomers have detected a strong signal coming from a distant star that could be a sign of a high-technology civilization. Here’s my reaction: it’s interesting, but it’s definitely not the sign of an alien civilization—at least not yet. Here’s why: The signal was first detected in May 2015 and has not repeated since. Unfortunately, although international protocols call for alerting the astronomical community to the detection of a mysterious signal, the... read more ❯

Des mondes similaires au nĂŽtre cachĂ©s dans des centaines d’exoplanĂštes ? SETI PR en Francais
Published 6/9/2014 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
CommuniquĂ© de presse de l'Institut SETI et de CASCA Monday, June 09 2014 - 12:15pm, PDT Mountain View, CA - Cette annĂ©e a Ă©tĂ© intense pour les chasseurs d’exoplanĂštes, ces planĂštes autour d’autres Ă©toiles. Une Ă©quipe d'astronomes de l’Institut SETI et du centre de recherche de la NASA Ames a dĂ©couvert 715 nouvelles exoplanĂštes enfouies dans les donnĂ©es du tĂ©lescope spatial Kepler. Ces nouveaux mondes qui tournent autour de 305 Ă©toiles diffĂ©rentes, constituent des systĂšmes planĂ©taires multiples, similaires a notre systĂšme solaire, lui-mĂȘme constituĂ© de huit planĂštes. L’annonce de cette dĂ©couverte a Ă©tĂ© suivie par une nouvelle encore plus importante dans le monde... read more ❯

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