David Aguilar
(617) 495-7462

Christine Pulliam
(617) 495-7463


CfA Press Release


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Over 300 scientists are expected to attend the 10th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun, July 15-19, 1997, at the Marriott Hotel, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.

The long-running, bi-annual conference will bring together solar and stellar astronomers from around the world to discuss the latest findings from a host of new ground and space instruments.

With data pouring in from the Solar and Heliosphere Observatory (SOHO), the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE), BeppoSAX, and other instruments in space, the conference is expected to yield exciting results about stars throughout the galaxy as well as about our very own, very "cool," star -- the Sun.

Some expected highlights of the four-day meeting include a review of the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets, with a panel of experts describing planet-search techniques, as well as some late-breaking results from the field.

The first identification of "free floating" brown dwarfs is also expected at the Cool Stars Workshop. Previously, astronomers have sought brown dwarfs, objects with masses between that of planets and stars, by looking for stellar binaries where brown dwarfs may be paired with much more massive companions, or in young, star-forming regions. Now, however, scientists have confirmed two brown dwarfs that are simply nearby neighbors to our Sun and not gravitationally bound to another star or a cluster of stars, that is, "free floating." This type of brown dwarf could be important because in sufficient numbers they could help account for the "missing mass" in the galaxy.

Also, new results on active cool stars from the Italian satellite, BeppoSAX, will be discussed. In addition, scientists will describe new techniques used to image the surfaces and environments of other stars.

And, scientists presenting models of the Sun's evolution will try to determine if this very special "cool star" is, indeed, "normal," or, if it is unique among stellar objects.

The meeting will conclude on Saturday, July 19, with a public lecture at the Boston Museum of Science by Geoffrey Marcy, who will describe "The Search for Planets Orbiting Other Stars." The illustrated lecture, given at 3:30 pm in the Cahners Auditorium, is free with a general admission to the museum.

The conference is hosted by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, with the support of NASA and the National Science Foundation.

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