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Planets and starquakes with NASA's Kepler space telescope

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Professor Tim Bedding

Sydney Institute for Astronomy
Head of the School of Physics
University of Sydney

Abstract

NASA's Kepler Mission is monitoring the brightness of hundreds of thousands of stars, watching for the tiny dips in light caused by a transiting planet. So far, Kepler has discovered thousands of extra-solar planets, indicating that they are relatively common. Some highlights include: a planet that orbits twin suns (a "Tatooine"), many systems with multiple planets that affect each others orbits, planets the size of Jupiter that orbit their stars in only a few days, and planets the size of Earth that could have liquid water. Meanwhile, the Kepler data are also being used to measure "starquakes", which are oscillations of stars that give valuable information about their internal structures.

Biography

Professor Tim Bedding earned both his BSc (1987) and PhD (1992) from the University of Sydney. He then spent two and a half years as a Postdoctoral Fellowship researcher at the European Southern Observatory in Germany before returning to the University of Sydney as a lecturer. He is now a full professor, working on asteroseismology (oscillations in stars). Among other distinctions, he has been awarded the University of Sydney's Excellence in Teaching Award.