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Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Resume Online

October 22, 2020

dark distant planet

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, at 7 p.m., Dr. Michael Brown, of Caltech, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on "Planet 9 from Outer Space: Searching for a Distant Planet in our Solar System.”

The talk is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series (through Foothill College), now in its 21st year. 

Just when the world was finally getting used to only having eight planets orbiting the Sun, the presence of a new ninth one is slowly coming into view at the edge of the solar system. This planet -- Planet Nine -- is inferred from of its gravitational effects shaping the disk of small icy bodies beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper belt. Dr. Brown will talk about the history of planetary discovery (and demotion), why we think a new one is on the verge of being found, and the techniques that we are using to try to find this very faint body lurking in the far reaches of our planetary system. 

Dr. Michael Brown is a Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology where he teaches classes from introductory physics to the science of the solar system. He is the author of "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming", an award-winning, best-selling memoir of the discoveries leading to the demotion of Pluto as a planet. He has discovered dozens of dwarf planets and received the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics for his fundamental contributions to our understanding of the extent and history of our planetary system. He and his research group spend their time searching for and studying the most distant objects in the Solar System. 

The lecture is co-sponsored by: 

* The Foothill College Physical Science Division 

* The SETI Institute 

* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific 

* The University of California Observatories (including Lick Observatory). 

View online at YouTube:  

If you go to this address the evening of the talk you will see and be able to participate in the live event; we will also make a recording.

Past lectures in the series can be found on YouTube at