CTC Seminar for 2024-04-24

Series: CTC Seminar
Date: Wednesday 24-Apr-2024
Time: 11:30-12:30 pm
Location: PSC 1136
Speaker: Ligia Fonseca Coelho (Cornell University)
Title: Purple is the new Green: The Colors of Life as a Tool to Search for Life in the Cosmos

Abstract: Biopigments, crucial components of organisms across the tree of life, significantly influence Earth's landscapes. They protect against radiation, temperature variations, resource scarcity, and general conditions also found on other planets. These pigments also act as distinctive markers of life, displaying unique spectral features linked to specific environmental conditions. In the search for life beyond Earth, biopigments emerge as promising targets for direct biosignature detection. Current surface models primarily focus on chlorophyll-covered planets (green landscapes), neglecting the diversity of other colors on Earth and potential variations on exoplanets around different stars. To address this limitation, we developed a novel spectral catalog encompassing the colors of life associated with various environments, from irradiated to frigid conditions, across different solar systems. This comprehensive spectrum library, spanning the visible to near-infrared range, serves as a valuable resource for researchers and observers. It facilitates the training of retrieval algorithms, optimization of search strategies, and refinement of models for Earth-like planets, aiding future telescopes such as ELTs and HWO. In this research, we see the emergence of new colors indicative of life on planets with unique and varied environmental characteristics, where orange, yellow, or even purple could be the new green.

Guidelines and format for the CTC Lunch seminars.
Past CTC Lunch seminars.
For other questions, contact the CTC Lunch host: Matt Nixon


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

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