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Jason Wright Colloquium Abstract (Oct 4, 2017)

Artifact SETI and the Puzzle of (Tabby) Boyajian's Star

I have been at the center of efforts to understand KIC 8462852, a strange star found during the Kepler mission.  It exhibits deep, irregular "dips" or dimming events lasting days, up to 22% in depth, and appears to be dimming secularly on decadal timescales.  As ever-more-contrived natural explanations are proposed and explored by my team and others, we continue to put together monitoring and target-of-opportunity programs to catch it "in the act" of dipping and determine the nature of the dips.  In parallel, I have led an effort with the Berkeley SETI Research Center to use GBT to perform a SETI program, inspired by the similarity between the Kepler light curve and predictions by Luc Arnold and Freeman Dyson for observable effects of large alien civilizations. I will also discuss other artifact SETI efforts I have undertaken under the GHAT program, and some of the interesting anomalies we have uncovered.


Technical talk: The Future of Precise Radial Velocities for Exoplanet Discovery

I am Project Scientist for NEID, the new public NASA/NSF precise Doppler instrument at WIYN, co-PI of MINERVA and the Habitable Zone Planet Finder, and a user of the new HRS at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.  These instruments are designed to measure the masses of the rocky, Habitable Zone planets that will be discovered by the next generation of NASA exoplanet missions.