London and Western University had a hunter in their midst on Wednesday 8 Oct 2014.
Exoplanet hunter Dr. Sara Seager of M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) came to Western to give two lectures.
In the afternoon, Dr. Seager presented a Physics and Astronomy colloquium to the Western community titled "The Search for Earth 2.0".
The main event that evening was the 10th Annual CPSX Distinguished Lecture, at which Dr. Seager spoke about "Finding Earth's Twin: The Great ESCape".
The lecture was also part of World Space Week (4-10 Oct. 2014).
Welcoming the speaker to London was mayor Joni Baechler.
Associate Director of CPSX, Dr. Gordon Osinski, gave the formal introduction of the speaker.
After the evening lecture, a lucky group of about a dozen random attendees was selected to a private reception and moon viewing at the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory, joined by Dr. Seager, members of the CPSX, and co-hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, London Centre.
Delicious snacks and warm drinks welcomed everyone to the observatory, where the group was able to chat informally while the telescopes were being prepared upstairs on the observing floor.
Having grown up in Toronto, Dr. Seager had been introduced to astronomy through the outreach activities of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Toronto Centre, and it was very obvious that Dr. Seager made a real effort to get to speak with the younger people at the reception, those who might well one day share her passionate search for life like ours in the universe.
We were also fortunate to have in attendance the president of the RASC Toronto Centre, Charles Darrow.
Skies slowly cleared, revealing a striking full moon. It was a great honor to have Dr. Seager, Mayor Baechler, and the other visitors, observe the moon through the historic 25.4 cm. refracting telescope, along with the two smaller telescopes out on the observing deck.