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Colloquia & Guest Speakers


The next generation of large ground-based telescopes

Dr. Jeff Kuhn

Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii,

Monday, March 1, 2021
3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Zoom Virtual Setting

Abstract:  You may wake up some morning to the announcement that life has been discovered around another star. It’s quite possible this will come from a very large telescope on the ground. Solving the “direct imaging” exoplanet problem has important advantages with ground-based telescopes that may never be available from space.  New technologies are enabling heretofore unbuildably large optical systems. There is real progress toward 100-m scale synthetic aperture optical systems even at the scale of 4m telescope hardware. This next generation will be sufficient in collecting area and dynamic range to measure the light from possibly life-bearing exoplanets around a few 100 nearby stars.

Bio:  Jeff Kuhn’s 1981 PhD is in physics from Princeton. He’s currently a professor of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, where he was founder of the Advanced Technology Research Center of the Institute for Astronomy, and its director for 10 years. He also founded the optical technology company MorphOptic, Inc. and the non-profit Planets Foundation. His 250 publications encompass many areas of solar, stellar and gravitational physics, polarimetry, IR optical and instrumentation, telescope technologies, and signal detection. Kuhn is a Sloan Foundation grant recipient and winner of the Humboldt Prize (Germany) and Regents Prize (Hawaii).