Issue 15 - May 2015
Update from Public Communications
By Anya Biferno
The public has been enthusiastically tuning into the hunt for exoplanets. They are fascinated with the stunning work of the community—from discovery, to characterization, to the amazing possibilities the future holds. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the first exoplanet orbiting a main sequence star, we turn our focus to the search for another Earth. In April, ExEP Public Engagement supported NASA Earth Day activities in Washington, DC. A few hundred thousand people attended these events, learning about exoplanets through a whole new lens. The Public Engagement office unveiled a brand-new interactive demonstration explaining how NASA uses transit spectroscopy to characterize exoplanets in our search for another Earth. Using diffraction grating and an “atmosphere” made from didymium glass, the public viewed a simulated transit of planet with a sodium atmosphere.
The coming months hold a bounty of opportunities for the exoplanet community to come together in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the first exoplanet discovered around a main sequence star. We would love to hear from you about any plans you may have—and would be overjoyed to partner in any events we are having, or that you may be considering. Please contact Anya Biferno at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or with any questions. The Public Engagement office will send out an update on the plans for this anniversary soon.