Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars other than our sun. Until now, exoplanet discovery was the exclusive domain of professional scientists: large observatories discovered the first exoplanets in the 1990s; in the 2000s, NASA built the $600 million Kepler space telescope and discovered over 1000 planets. PANOPTES, which combines inexpensive, off-the-shelf components with open source hardware and software to build a geographically dispersed array of small observing telescopes, brings exoplanet science to amateur astronomers and school students.
Jenny Tong, a developer advocate at Google, and Wilfred Gee, an astronomer from the University of Hawaii, demonstrate how open source can discover planets. Jenny and Wilfred explain what PANOPTES is made of, how it observes the sky, and how raw data turns into candidate planets. Come join us to prove that a worldwide team of open source observers is better than a single multimillion-dollar telescope. You too can discover planets around other stars.
Jenny Tong is a developer advocate on cloud at Google. In this role, she helps developers build cool stuff on all sorts of platforms. Previously, Jenny worked in a wide variety of software roles from robotics at NASA to developer advocacy for Google Glass. She is passionate about education, especially on the subjects of technology and science. If she’s away from her laptop, Jenny’s probably skating around a roller derby track or hanging from aerial silk.
Wilfred Gee is a software developer who was tired of making money and decided he wanted to make science instead. Pursuing a PhD in astronomy, Wilfred recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, also obtaining a certificate in Women’s Studies and a minor in English. His previous bachelor’s degree was from the University of Utah in psychology with a minor in cognitive science. Wilfred is also a wannabe Shakespearean actor and, in his free time, likes to rappel down waterfalls.
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