Dr. Jonathan Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Science and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. He is also the vice president and a co-founder of the Society of Catholic Scientists.
In this “part 3” of our interview, Dr. Lunine talked about exoplanets. The discovery of planets outside our Solar System has revolutionized planetary science.
The Kepler space telescope mission, with its nine-year voyage which ended last year, made possible the detection of thousands of planets. It’s now understood, Lunine said, that planet formation is a common part of star formation.
Lunine noted that Cornell University, where he is on the faculty, has many new avenues of astrophysics and planetary science research. The Carl Sagan Institute hosts a multidisciplinary team studying exoplanets.
Half of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics went to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for their discovery of the first exoplanet around an ordinary star.