Detroit, MI 48201
Speaker: David Gerdes (University of Michigan)
The region beyond Neptune contains thousands of small, icy worlds that take centuries or even millennia to orbit the Sun. These "cosmic leftovers" constitute an archaeological record of the processes that shaped our Solar System. The objects with the longest orbital periods--some of which have been discovered by my group--display a statistically improbable orbital alignment that may result from the presence of a distant ~10 Earth-mass "Planet Nine". I'll describe how we are using data from the Dark Energy Survey, which was designed for extragalactic astronomy--to make exciting new discoveries in our own backyard, and discuss our ongoing search for Planet Nine.
Info on speaker: Professor Gerdes is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan