Astronomy Colloquia
Astronomy and Astrophysics Colloquia - Usually Wednesdays, 3:30 PM, ERC 161, unless otherwise specified. Reception starts at 4:30 PM in Hubble Lounge; persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please call the departmental secretary in advance at 773-702-8203 or email See also the list of KICP Wednesday Colloquia which alternate with the Astronomy and Astrophysics Colloquia.

Current & Future Astronomy Colloquia
DateTalk TitleSpeaker
January 17, 2018WFIRST: Where Things Stand with the First Exoplanet Direct Imaging Flight MissionMaggie Turnbull, SETI
January 31, 2018TBAEllen Zweibel, University of Wisconsin-Madison
February 14, 2018TBATim Heckman, Johns Hopkins University
February 28, 2018TBAEnrico Ramirez-Ruiz, University of California, Santa Cruz
March 7, 2018TBABekki Dawson, Pennsylvania State University

WFIRST: Where Things Stand with the First Exoplanet Direct Imaging Flight Mission
January 17, 2018 | ERC 161 | 3:30 PM
Click on the image to enlarge
Maggie Turnbull, SETI

The WFIRST mission will be the first demonstration of exoplanet coronagraphy in space, and is intended to demonstrate several key technologies that are on the critical path to larger missions that will eventually find and spectrally characterize planets that could be habitable to life as we know it. WFIRST entered Phase A in January of 2016, and is expected to enter Phase B in April of this year. This talk will describe the entertaining story of how this mission came to be, where things currently stand in terms of predicted imaging performance, the potential for a starshade rendezvous mission, and what to expect for guest observer opportunities. I'll also describe how the two coronagraph science teams are working to maximize the scientific output of what is categorized as a "technology demonstration" instrument. Finally, I'll offer some of my personal take-aways from the experience of watching such a large and challenging mission come together.

January 31, 2018 | ERC 161 | 3:30 PM
Ellen Zweibel, University of Wisconsin-Madison

February 14, 2018 | ERC 161 | 3:30 PM
Tim Heckman, Johns Hopkins University

February 28, 2018 | ERC 161 | 3:30 PM
Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, University of California, Santa Cruz

March 7, 2018 | ERC 161 | 3:30 PM
Bekki Dawson, Pennsylvania State University