February 3, 2016, 3:30 p.m., Building 3 Auditorium
GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT
"The Science of Interstellar:
Thoughts on the Habitability of Planets Orbiting Black Holes "
In the recent movie
"Interstellar" (Warning: spoiler alert!), a team
of intrepid astronauts set out to explore a system of planets
a supermassive black hole named Gargantua, searching for a world
may be conducive to hosting human life. With Kip Thorne as
advisor, the film legitimately boasts a relatively high level of
scientific accuracy, yet is still restricted by Hollywood
and limitations. In this talk, we will discuss a number of
additional effects that may be important in determining the
(in)habitable environment of a planet orbiting close to a giant,
accreting black hole like Gargantua. In doing so, we hope to
greater understanding of the fascinating physics governing
black hole accretion, relativity, and astrobiology.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Jeremy Schnittman joined the Astrophysics Science Division
civil servant in 2010, after spending three years as a Chandra
postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University. He earned a
doctorate in physics in 2005 from MIT under the direction of
Prof. Edmund Bertschinger.
His research interests include theoretical and
computational modeling of black hole accretion flows, X-ray
polarimetry, black hole binaries, dark matter annihilation,
gravitational wave sources,
gravitational microlensing, planetary dynamics, resonance
and exoplanet atmospheres. He has been described as a
astrophysics theorist," which he regards as quite a compliment.
works closely with members of the X-ray Astrophysics and
Astrophysics Labs on the PRAXyS and LISA missions, as well as an
of future mission concepts like LUVOIR.
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