Jo Cline Memorial Astronomy Lecture

The Cline Observatory Jo Cline Memorial Astronomy Day Lecture featuring a prominent researcher in astronomy, astrophysics, or planetary science. The lecture is held each fall in Koury Auditorium at GTCC's Jamestown Campus – it is free and open to the public.

VIEW THE PRESENTATION: View a recording of the lecture on YouTube.

Beyond Eta Earth: Exoplanets as a Window on the History and Habitability of Planetary Systems

Virtual Lecture, Friday, 23 September, 7:30 p.m., Dr. Rebekah Dawson (Penn State University)

Window opens to starsOver the past couple decades, thousands of extra-solar planets have been discovered orbiting other stars. The exoplanets discovered to date exhibit a wide variety of orbital and compositional properties; most are dramatically different from the planets in our own solar system. The search for a true earth twin continues, but the diverse sample of exoplanets discovered to date still have much to teach about the history and habitability of planetary systems. I will present what we've learned from observations and simulations about their formation and evolution and discuss how we can best study future individual potentially habitable planets in the context of their planetary systems.

See this profile of Dr. Dawson by Astrobites.

The Jo Cline Memorial Astronomy Day Lecture is made possible, in part, by an endowment established by Don Cline in September 2015 with an initial funding goal of $50,000. Interest from the endowment provides annual ongoing support of the Jo Cline Fall Astronomy Lecture Series. Cline will match, dollar for dollar, contributions made to this fund until our goal is reached. Please consider honoring Jo’s memory by contributing to the fund. For information about, and donations to, the Jo Cline Endowment, visit our Support the Observatory page.

North Carolina Astronomers’ Meeting (NCAM)

Cline Observatory also hosts the annual technical meeting of North Carolina astronomers in association with Fall Astronomy Day. This event is open to professional astronomers and their students, and is not an open public event. The 2022 edition of NCAM will be held virtually on Saturday, 24 September.

Past Lectures


Sheperd S. Doeleman, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/EHT, "First Pictures of a Black Hole! Imaging a Black Hole with the Event Horizon Telescope"


No Lecture held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic


Cathy Olkin, SWRI, "Exploring the Outer Reaches of Our Solar System"


Gabriela González, LSU/LIGO, “Einstein, Gravitational Waves, Black Holes, and Other Matters


John Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “The History of the Universe from the Beginning to the End: Where Did We Come From, Where Can We Go?”


David Charbonneau, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, “How to Find an Inhabited Exoplanet”


Sean Solomon, Director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute, and Principal Investigator for the Mercury MESSENGER Mission, “The MESSENGER Spacecraft Mission to Mercury: Surprises from the Innermost Planet”


Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford, “The Last and Next 100 Years in Astronomy“


Don Winget, University of Texas at Austin, “Small Stars in a Large Context:  All Things White Dwarf”


Bob Benjamin, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, “A Visitor’s Guide to the Milky Way Galaxy


Francis Halzen, University of Wisconsin-Madison / IceCube, “Ice Fishing for Neutrinos


Giovanni Fazio, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics / Spitzer, “Viewing the Universe with Infrared Eyes:  the Spitzer Space Telescope


Hal Levison, Southwest Research Institute, “What Planets Are and How they Form


Neil Gehrels, NASA Goddard / Swift Mission, “Black Holes:  From Einstein to Gamma Ray Bursts


Michael Turner, University of Chicago, “The Dark Side of the Universe


Scott Ransom, NRAO-Charlottesville, “The Stellar Undead


Jeff Hester, Arizona State University, “From the Big Bang to Big Brains:  the Evolution of Structure in the Universe


Paul Butler, Carnegie Institute, “Extrasolar Planets:  a First Reconnaissance


Prasun Desai, NASA Langley, “Mars Exploration in the Coming Decade


Steve Murray, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics / Chandra, “X-ray Astronomy Comes of Age:  the Chandra x-ray Observatory View of the Cosmos


Jay Bergstralh, NASA Langley, “The Galilean Satellites of Jupiter


Virginia Trimble, Univ. Cal-Irvine / Univ. Maryland, “Cosmology:  Man’s Place in the Universe


Robert Kirshner, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, “The Universe:  Big, Old, and Accelerating


John Wood, NASA Goddard, “Resolution:  Latest Results from the Hubble Space Telescope


Bruce Carney, UNC-Chapel Hill, “How Old is Our Universe?