From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s website
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s “Frontiers of Astronomy” is a free lecture series that offers those with an interest in astronomy the chance to learn about the latest research in the field. Presentations begin at 8 PM in Murch Auditorium. No tickets or reservations are required. Limited parking is available in the Museum lot for $6. On clear evenings, the Ralph Mueller Observatory will be open afterward. Click Here to Download this year’s brochure.
25 YEARS OF THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2015
Dr. Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute
In April 1990, astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth’s orbit, and launched a new era of astronomical discovery. Now, 25 years later, we celebrate a remarkable milestone for a space observatory whose groundbreaking investigations have brought revolutionary changes in our understanding from planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies to the very frontiers of the cosmos. Dr. Summers will share the trials and triumphs of NASA’s first Great Observatory, and display a compendium of some of the greatest imagery the Universe has ever known. It’s a celestial silver celebration!
THE HISTORY OF THE MILKY WAY WRITTEN IN THE STARS
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2015
Dr. Jennifer Johnson, The Ohio State University
Our Galaxy, the Milky Way, did not always look as it does now, a multi-armed spiral galaxy with at least one neighborhood hospitable to life. The Milky Way has been growing and evolving for the last 13 billion years, creating billions of stars throughout its life. These stars, through their age, chemical composition, and motions, record the history of the galaxy and provide a “fossil record” to observe and interpret. Dr. Johnson will discuss both how a large number of astronomers, engineers, and technical staff come together to relentlessly probe the night sky and how this enormous amount of data is revolutionizing our understanding of our home galaxy.
GAMMA-RAY BURSTS: THE BIGGEST EXPLOSIONS SINCE THE BIG BANG
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2015
Dr. Edo Berger, Harvard University
Representing nature’s biggest explosions since the Big Bang itself, gamma-ray bursts were first accidentally spotted in the 1960s by Department of Defense satellites hunting for terrestrial nuclear blasts. Dr. Berger will describe the ensuing decades-long quest to decipher the origin and energy source of these mysterious explosions.
THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2016
Dr. Kathryn Johnston, Columbia University
Images of galaxies are awe-inspiring—spirals of billions of stars, along with the gas and dust from which stars form, spinning slowly and serenely in the sky. Yet these majestic objects are thought to have formed quite violently through the agglomeration of smaller objects. Even our own home, the Milky Way Galaxy, seems to be in the process of devouring several smaller galaxies! Dr. Johnston examines why we think galaxies are cannibals in general, and what this means about the past and future evolution of the Milky Way in particular.
BIOGRAPHY OF THE MILKY WAY
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2016
Dr. James Bullock, University of California, Irvine
The Universe on the grandest scales is a vast network of galaxies. Dotted along an expanding cosmic web, galaxies shine with the collective light of thousands to billions of stars, forming dynamic ecosystems. They allow multiple generations of stars to build new atoms that had never before existed. They foster complex chemistry, even organic chemistry, in an otherwise sterile Universe. One galaxy, the Milky Way, is special to us. Without it, we would not exist. Dr. Bullock will share the story of how it happened, and how, once revealed, the Milky Way led the way to a revolution in our understanding of Universe’s origins, its makeup, and possibly its ultimate fate.
The Department of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University through the support of the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Endowment; The Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and The Cleveland Astronomical Society.