List of Past Planetary Astronomy Lunches (PALS) : 01-Sep-1997 to 31-Dec-1997


Date:   Thursday 23-Oct-97
Speaker:   Scott Horner (Penn St.)
Title:  51 Pegasi and Tau Bo&oumltis: Planets or Pulsations?
Visit the Planetary Seminar Home Page ! If you would like to speak at Planetary Seminar or receive an emailed version of this announcement, please contact Doug Hamilton.

Date:   Thursday 13-Nov-97
Speaker:   Seth Shostak (SETI Inst.)
Title:  The Search for Extraterrestrials

Could there be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? Recent research indicates that hundreds of billions of other planets may be scattered throughout the vast starfields of the Milky Way. How many of these other worlds sport life able to send messages into space, or perhaps to travel between the stars?

In 1995, an ambitious scientific effort to search out distant civilizations by eavesdropping on their radio traffic got underway. Over the next five years, this effort, known as Project Phoenix, will use sophisticated digital receivers on large telescopes to probe the vicinities of nearby stars for a faint radio signal that would tell us we are not alone.

But what are the chances of success? Is Project Phoenix aiming its antennas at the most likely sites for life? Can Nature be expected to readily cook up interesting biology elsewhere? Even if alien life is common, is any of it intelligent? And finally suppose Project Phoenix succeeds: what then? World peace? Rioting in the streets? Would we learn the secrets of the ages, or merely find that we are small fry in heaven's vast expanse?

Visit the Planetary Seminar Home Page! If you would like to speak at Planetary Seminar or receive an emailed version of this announcement, please contact Doug Hamilton.


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