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Public Events -- Illinois State Museum, Springfield

  Brownbag Lectures: Fifty Years of Major Astronomical Discoveries   

Brownbag Lectures: Fifty Years of Major Astronomical Discoveries

  • Location: ISM Research & Collections Center, Springfield
  • Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2013, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Presented by:
Charles Schweighauser
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy/Physics
University of Illinois at Springfield

What do we know about the universe today that we did not know in 1963? Starting with the electromagnetic spectrum (EM), only a small part of which was available to astronomers fifty years ago, this lecture will explore what the rest of the EM spectrum can tell us. Further, the major shift in the way astronomy is practiced today compared to fifty years ago will also be explored.

Starting close to home, we will consider why reclassifying Pluto as a dwarf planet is an extremely important step forward in our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Solar System. The discovery of nearby extra-Solar System planets in the last twenty years is a big increase in our understanding not only of stellar systems but also of the composition of our galaxy and presumably of other galaxies. Of course, finding a planet with conditions appropriate for life is of unparalled importance.

An absolutely essential piece of research was the determination of the Hubble constant, which fixes the age and the size of the observable universe. In addition, the slowing of the expansion of the early universe after the Big Bang and the subsequent discovery (1998) that in the last five billion years or so expansion is speeding up due to dark energy (Einstein’s cosmological constant?) will be a major part of our discussion. The role of dark matter in galactic rotation, including the Milky Way, as well as intergalactic motion will also be discussed.

One of our Brownbag Lectures

Weekly lectures held at the Museum's Research and Collections Center. Lectures are usually held during lunchtime on Wednesday. The RCC is located at 1011 E. Ash Street in Springfield. Access to the building is from 10 ½ Street (between Ash and Laurel Streets), where there is ample visitor parking in the west parking lot. For more information, please call 217-785-0037. Brown Bag Lectures are free and open to the public.

Also, if you want to be informed of upcoming lectures by email, you can sign up for the brownbag announcement list

For more events at ISM Research & Collections Center.

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