The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce a major discovery about exoplanets. The agency kept the rest of the details under wraps, save from the event’s 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) schedule in Washington, D.C. It will likely last an hour at least, depending on a number of questions from both the press and the public.
So, how can you watch the press conference? Here’s everything you need to know the NASA announcement:
Where & How To Watch?
You can stream the press conference live online through NASA’s official website. According to Express, the coverage of the exoplanet briefing will start anytime between 1 pm EST and 2 pm EST. If you want updates in real time, you can go to Twitter and use the hashtag #askNASA. The agency says they will also use it for the questions. So if you have any in mind, you can post it with the hashtag on the networking site.
In case your question will not make it to the cut or you want additional information, scientists will answer queries about exoplanets during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) at 8 pm GMT (3 pm EST). As for the findings, Journal Nature will publish them 6 pm GMT (1 pm EST) as the press con in Washington starts.
Who is Taking Part in the NASA Announcement?
Participants of the briefing include the University of Liege in Belgium astronomer Michael Gillon, Space Telescope Science Institute astronomer Nikole Lewis and NASA Headquarters associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen. Sean Carey, NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC manager, and Sara Seager, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary science and physics professor will also present the exo-conference.
What To Expect From NASA Announcement?
At this point, it remains unclear what NASA has specifically discovered. But it’s worth noting that the last time it has announced something related to exoplanets was back in 2015. During that time, it had found an exoplanet that closely resembles Earth.
More plausibly, we may hear the same news on Wednesday. The agency could either have discovered another potentially habitable planet or has collected more information about the ones we already know about. But with the term “major announcement,” it can go as big as a discovery of a planet that has an oxygen-rich atmosphere.
NASA uses the powerful Kepler Space Telescope in looking for exoplanets located into the “Goldilocks zone” of its parent star. Per ABC, the zone refers to the habitable region around a star where the temperature is just right – not too hot nor too cold – for liquid water to exist on a planet. Anything that has those is definitely of huge interest to the agency.
The first exoplanet was discovered in 1995. We have discovered 4,696 candidates, 3,449 confirmed exoplanets so far; and of these exoplanets, 348 have been terrestrial.