Abstract: Bigger telescopes are usually better telescopes…. but not always. In this talk I will explore the ghostly world of large low surface brightness structures, such as galactic stellar halos, low-surface brightness dwarf galaxies, and other exotica such as supernova light echoes. These objects are nearly undetectable with conventional telescopes, but their properties may hold the key to understanding how galaxies assemble. I will describe why finding these objects is important, and why it is so devilishly difficult.
Although space travel is not yet possible, consider visiting the planet Kepler-16b in a binary star system. Kepler-16b is the first discovered circumbinary planet, detected in a wide 229 day orbit around a close pair of cool, low-mass stars some 200 light-years away. It was detected by observing a slight dimming in the light curve from the planet transit. One would think that this world would be similar to a Tatooine-like terrestrial desert world, but it is believed to be a cold, uninhabitable planet…so be warned.
Interested in more travel destinations? Check out Visions of the Future!