Sara Seager, Ph.D.

seager-s..pngSara Seager, Ph.D. (Prof. of Planetary Sciences, MIT)



1.1 – Chariots, Gods, & Beyond (3.8.09)
1.3 – The Visitors (4.27.10)
1.4 – The Mission (5.4.10)
1.6 – The Return (5.25.10)

2.1 – Mysterious Places (10.28.10)
2.8 – Unexplained Structures (12.16.10)

3.7 – Aliens, Plagues, & Epidemics (9.8.11)
3.11 – Aliens & the Founding Fathers (10.5.11)
3.13 – Aliens & the Secret Code (10.19.11)

4.9 – The Time Travelers (4.27.12)

5.4 – Destination Orion (1.11.13)

6.13 – Mysterious Structures (6.20.14)

8.6 – The Other Earth (9.28.15)



Sara Seager is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT. Her science research focuses on theory, computation, and data analysis of exoplanets. Her research has introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterization, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere. Professor Seager also works in space instrumentation and space missions for exoplanets, including CubeSats, as a co-investigator on the MIT-led TESS, a NASA Explorer Mission to be launched in 2017, and chaired the NASA Science and Technology Definition Team for a “Probe-class” Starshade and telescope system for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs.

Before joining MIT in 2007, Professor Seager spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her PhD is from Harvard University. Professor Seager is on the advisory board for Planetary Resources. Professor Seager was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, the 2012 recipient of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, and the 2007 recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize. She has been recognized in the media, most recently in Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential in Space in 2012.[1]




For the first time in human history, we know for certain the existence of planets around other stars. Now the fastest-growing field in space science, the time is right for this fundamental source book on the topic which will lay the foundation for its continued growth. Exoplanets serves as both an introduction for the non-specialist and a foundation for the techniques and equations used in exoplanet observation by those dedicated to the field.


2Exoplanet Atmospheres: Physical Processes

Over the past twenty years, astronomers have identified hundreds of extrasolar planets–planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Recent research in this burgeoning field has made it possible to observe and measure the atmospheres of these exoplanets. This is the first textbook to describe the basic physical processes–including radiative transfer, molecular absorption, and chemical processes–common to all planetary atmospheres, as well as the transit, eclipse, and thermal phase variation observations that are unique to exoplanets.

In each chapter, Professor Sara Seager offers a conceptual introduction, examples that combine the relevant physics equations with real data, and exercises. Topics range from foundational knowledge, such as the origin of atmospheric composition and planetary spectra, to more advanced concepts, such as solutions to the radiative transfer equation, polarization, and molecular and condensate opacities. Since planets vary widely in their atmospheric properties, Seager emphasizes the major physical processes that govern all planetary atmospheres.

Moving from first principles to cutting-edge research, Exoplanet Atmospheres is an ideal resource for students and researchers in astronomy and earth sciences, one that will help prepare them for the next generation of planetary science.

The first textbook to describe exoplanet atmospheres illustrates concepts using examples grounded in real data; provides a step-by-step guide to understanding the structure and emergent spectrum of a planetary atmosphere; and includes exercises for students.


3Exoplanets and the Search For Habitable Worlds (online pdf)

Have you ever wondered whether life exists beyond Earth? Are you curious to know how many planets just like Earth might be out there? To answer these and other common questions Professor Seager has written the factual non-fiction book: Is there Life Out There? The Search for Habitable Exoplanets. Exoplanets are planets orbiting stars other than the sun. By searching for exoplanets like Earth, science will one day answer humanity’s oldest question: Is There Life Out There? Few understand that science-fiction is becoming science fact with a serious search for planets beyond Earth that can support life.




Who were they?… Why did they come?… What did they leave behind?… Where did they go?… Will they return?…

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