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Feel, See and Color the Universe

by Imiloa Astronomy Center on November 30th, 2017

‘Imiloa presents Dr. Gordon K. Squires, Thirty Meter Telescope  (TMT)
Date: Fri. Dec. 15
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $10, $8 for members (member level discounts apply)

Scientists have teamed up with artists to create astonishingly detailed visuals to help us better understand complex astronomical discoveries—presenting science as stunning works of art that allow us to view astronomy through a different perspective. Learn more about the fascinating connections between art and science at ‘Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk on Friday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. with Dr. Gordon K. Squires, Lead of Communications, Education and Public Outreach at the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

 

Dr. Squires will lead the audience through fascinating examples of how his team creates visualizations to illustrate revolutionary scientific discoveries. A recent discovery that he will discuss is how scientists have detected the gravitational waves from a neutron star merger, which is how gold originated in the universe. Additionally, in March of this year, astronomers confirmed the discovery of TRAPPIST-1, a unique planetary system which hosts 3 habitable planets orbiting a small cool star. For both of these discoveries Dr. Squires and his team worked to create stunning visualizations to illustrate the “art of gravitational waves” and the “art of exoplanets”. Combining art and science in this way allows us to understand these discoveries, and allows us to imagine what we would witness if we could physically travel to these systems in person.

Pictured: A Kilonova, neutron star collision: the predicted source of all gold in the universe. Kilonovae were theorized but not observed until earlier this year when scientists detected gravitational waves from such an event at 130 million light years away.

Exploring the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system and following the trail of gold in the universe involves many telescopes and facilities on Earth and in space working in collaboration. Dr. Squires will highlight the role of multi-observatory science and discuss the contributions that TMT will provide for these and other astrophysical phenomena. While first-light observations from the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) are still several years away, recent discoveries from other observatories provide tantalizing insights into what TMT will one day reveal.

 

Dr. Squires leads the TMT International Workforce Development, Education, Public Outreach and Communications (WEPOC) efforts. His team– the IPAC Communications and Education team– is co-located at Caltech/IPAC and provides WEPOC support for a number of astronomy and physics-related projects including TMT, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Galaxy Evolution Explore, Kepler, LIGO and the IPAC archives. Dr. Squires is a co-investigator in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Science Activation program called Universe of Learning. He received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Toronto in 1995. He was awarded the Doctoral Prize by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis in Canada and the Plaskett Medal by the Canadian Astronomical Society for the most outstanding thesis in astronomy, both in 1995. His research explores the old, distant universe, enabling us to better understand how galaxies evolved and formed billions of years ago, and probing into the nature of the dark matter via weak gravitational lensing.

 

Hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy,‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for ‘Imiloa members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at 808-932-8901.

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