Transit of Mercury
On Monday, May 9, during the morning and early afternoon, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. This event, known as a Transit of Mercury, occurs roughly 13 times each century (the next one will be in 2019). Weather permitting, we will provide safe, free public viewing of this event at our headquarters at 620B East Rock Road, Allentown (directions), from 9:00 AM until 2:30PM. Visitors will also be able to view solar prominences, sunspots, and other features on the face of the sun. Please check here to confirm the event in case cloudy weather is predicted. WARNING: do not try to view the sun yourself unless you have the proper equipment and training! You could experience serious eye injury or even blindness.
General Meeting, open to the public
Sunday, May 15, 2016, 7 p.m.
LVAAS South Mountain Headquarters
Dr. Kevin Luhman,
Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics,
Penn State University
"Searching for Planet X"
Since beginning my PhD thesis in 1995, my research has focused on the formation of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, and the formation of planets around these objects. Why are these topics important? One of the highest priorities for research in the astronomical community is the study of star and planet formation (NRC, 2010). By bridging the gap between them, brown dwarfs can provide insight into the formation of both stars and planets. In addition, low-mass stars and brown dwarfs are valuable laboratories for planet formation because the former are the most common stars in the Galaxy while the latter offer an opportunity to test theories of planet formation in an extreme environment.
I have studied the formation of stars, brown dwarfs, and planets primarily through optical and infrared observations with ground- and space-based telescopes. The central component of my research has consisted of systematic searches for low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in the nearest star-forming regions (age<10 Myr, d=150-450 pc). I have used these surveys to measure the low-mass initial mass function (IMF) and to provide targets for followup observations of various aspects of young low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, such as their circumstellar disks and multiplicity. In addition to work on young objects, I have searched for very cool brown dwarfs in the solar neighborhood, both free floating and as companions to nearby stars.
Dr. Luhman's Wiki page can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Luhman