Next Meeting Presentation

3 Feb. 2022 – Club Meeting Presentation
— Thursday night, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. —

This free speaker presentation will be offered virtually using the online Webex video-conferencing platform. Follow this link for instructions on how to join this virtual meeting presentation.

An Astronomy Guest Speaker Series Event – a collaboration of the Astronomy Club of Asheville and UNC-Asheville

Exploring Carbon Chemistry around Massive Young Stars
– presented by
Rachel Smith, Ph.D.
, Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Appalachian State University

Dr. Smith will discuss her current research on observing protoplanetary disks around massive young forming stars in our galaxy. She is particularly interested in the chemical pathways of carbon – one of the most important elements in forming terrestrial planets, like Earth, and the molecules needed for life.
She will share some new results from her current project using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (Maunakea, Hawaii), where her team is taking high-resolution spectra of carbon monoxide (CO) in protoplanetary disks around stars in a range of environments, from our local galactic address to near the center of the Milky Way. These data give her team detailed information on important carbon reservoirs needed for building planets, as well as help give them insight into how our solar system formed ~4.6 billion years ago.
Dr. Smith will also discuss how this work connects to current missions in the search for life beyond Earth, which ultimately aim to answer the question, “Are we alone?”