Exoplanets and the popularization of science among female audiences


The International Astronomical Union (IAU) developed the “Women and Girls in Astronomy” project, which supports events that recognize the role of women in advancing science and encourages all, within and across the gender spectrum, to consider careers focused on space.

This project is active throughout the year, with a special focus between two International Days adopted by the United Nations (UN): the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, on February 11, and International Women's Day, on March 8th.

As part of this initiative, the Olhar Espacial Program will dedicate four Fridays to female participation in astronomy, each edition welcoming an experienced astronomer for a chat with a young woman interested in pursuing a career in science.

The debut episode of the series featured the participation of Josina Nascimento, an astronomer at the National Observatory for 45 years, and the young Raissa Carvalho, who does a beautiful job of promoting astronomy on social media. Check out the program in full here. Last week, the second episode (which you can watch here) welcomed space physicist Alessandra Abe Pacini and young science popularizer Giovanna Veronez.

And this Friday (1), the third and penultimate episode brings physics Stela Ishitani Silva, Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Center, and student Maria Eduarda Padilha, who, at 14 years old, carries out various research and lectures in the area. She says that her interest in astronomy was born from art. “I always loved drawing and painting, I thought the colors of galaxies and nebulae were true works of art.”

Stela Ishitani Silva and Maria Eduarda Padilha are this Friday's guests (1) on the Olhar Espacial Program. Credits: Background: Triff – Shutterstock / Photos: Personal archive / Editing: Olhar Digital

Exoplanet expert is awarded by NASA

Tonight's theme will be the detection of exoplanets (planets outside our Solar System), a career in Astronomy and the importance of popularizing Science among the female public.

In her research, Stela explores methods for detecting exoplanets and the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence for detecting stellar variabilities. Graduated in Physics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, she has a Master's and Doctorate in Physics from the Catholic University of America.

During her doctoral studies, Stela was awarded the John Mather Nobel Scholar Award, recognizing her outstanding scientific promise at NASA GSFC, and recently received the NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship, the agency's prestigious postdoctoral fellowship.

She led the analysis that led to the discovery of the planet MOA-2020-BLG-135Lb, in addition to co-authoring the discovery of more than 20 exoplanets using the gravitational microlensing technique, and more than 180 exoplanet candidates using the planetary transit technique. .

Among his co-authors is the discovery of the first isolated black hole. Stela is part of the team responsible for surveying exoplanets that will be discovered with the Roman Space Telescope, NASA's next flagship space telescope.

Read more:

How to watch the Olhar Espacial Program

Presented by Marcelo Zurita, president of the Paraibana Astronomy Association – APA; member of SAB – Brazilian Astronomical Society; technical director of the Brazilian Meteor Observation Network – BRAMON and national coordinator of Asteroid Day Brasil, the program is broadcast live, every Friday, at 9 pm (Brasília time), through the vehicle's official channels on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X)LinkedIn and TikTok, in addition to the subscription channel Markket (611-Vivo, 56 -Sky and 692-ClaroTV).


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