“Mapping the Universe: New Vistas, New Lands”

Join the Department of Astronomy as renowned astronomers from across the country give five free lectures throughout the year. The first speaker in the 2017-2018 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series is David Silva, director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Silva will present “Mapping the Universe: New Vistas, New Lands” Thursday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Lecture description

To be human is to explore. Today’s astronomers are cosmic explorers, creating maps of the universe near and far. The earliest star maps were painted thousands of years ago on the walls of caves. Our maps today are spectacular, full of objects and phenomena that were completely undiscovered even 20 years ago.

Yet great mysteries remain. Is a civilization-ending asteroid lurking in the darkness? Do Earth-like planets orbit nearby stars, and do they harbor life? How did our home galaxy, the Milky Way, form and evolve? What are dark energy and dark matter? These are some of the known questions—the known unknowns—but what about the unknown unknowns, the objects and phenomena that await discovery?

Silva’s presentation will address ongoing and planned cosmic mapping expeditions to explore space and time, journeys into the nearby darkness and back to the dawn of time.

About the speaker

Silva is the director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the U.S. national center for nighttime astronomy, operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy on behalf of the National Science Foundation. NOAO enables astronomical exploration and discovery through the development, implementation and operation of telescopes, instruments and data systems for a diverse international research community. NOAO headquarters are located in Tucson, Arizona, where it operates the Kitt Peak National Observatory (home of the CWRU Burrell-Schmidt telescope) as well as a center for data-intensive astronomy. In Chile, NOAO operates the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and provides critical infrastructure support for the Gemini South and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Silva also will give a special astronomy colloquium Friday, Oct. 13, at 11 a.m. in the Sears Library Building, Room 552.

See event details.

About the series

The 2017-2018 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series is sponsored in cooperation with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Astronomical Society and through the support of the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Endowment.

More information on the Frontiers series is available at the Department of Astronomy website.