Notice To Users

Gerard Williger

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Popular Planetarium Talks at U Louisville:

2008 Feb 12, Jeff Bennett, educator from Colorado,
Beyond UFOs:  The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for our Future
(caution: .m4v format)
What is life and how does it begin?  What makes a planet or moon habitable?  Is
there life on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system? How can life be recognized
on distant worlds? Is it likely to be microbial, more biologically complex-or
even intelligent? What would such a discovery mean for life here on
Earth? He describes the startling discoveries being made in astrobiology,
an intriguing new field that blends astronomy, biology, and geology to
explore the possibility of life on other planets.

2007 Apr 12, 7pm, Elizabeth Kessler, Stanford U,
Astronomy's Landscapes: Aesthetics and Science in the Hubble Space Telescope Images
When crafting Hubble Space Telescope images for public display, astronomers
make careful choices regarding color, contrast, and composition. The best
examples elegantly represent scientific knowledge and appeal to our senses.
In many cases, the pictures resemble Romantic landscape paintings of the
American West. By evoking the aesthetics of the sublime and the rhetoric of
the frontier, the images propose a way to view and understand the cosmos.

2007 Mar 26, Don Yeomans, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab,
Killer Asteroids: Finding Them Before They Find Us
Comets and asteroids that can closely approach Earth are, at the same time, scientifically
important, valuable natural resources for colonizing the inner solar system in the
next century and horrific threats to life on Earth. This presentation will discuss the
importance of these near-Earth objects and the efforts underway to discovery and
track them. The international efforts to use spacecraft to understand their physical
characteristics will also be discussed.

2006 Dec 1, Volker Beckmann, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center,
The Violent Universe: NASA's High Energy Missions
A synopsis of some of the most violent, high energy phenomena in the Universe,
from collapsed stars to supermassive black holes, and the satellites which explore them.

2006 Sep 14, Chuck Keeton, Rutgers U,
Black Holes and the 5th Dimension (63 minutes; caution: asx)
Black holes are perhaps the oddest  objects thought to populate the
universe. Long sought, black holes have  recently been "found" lurking
in the centers of galaxies (tipping the scales  at a million to a
billion times the mass of the Sun), and interacting with normal
stars  to create energetic X-ray binary systems.  Now, there are enticing
hints that tiny black holes could exist; thousands of them could
conceivably be found in our Solar System.  These tiny black holes
may  hold the key to determining whether there is more to the universe
than the familiar dimensions of length, width, height, and time.
Chuck Keeton is a Louisvillian.

Bullitt Lectures:

8th Lecture, 2008 Oct 29, Caty Pilachowski, Indiana U,
The Star Cities of the Milky Way
(caution: .flv format)
As we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope
in 1608, and, next year, the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of
the telescope to study the celestial sphere, we can also celebrate the
star cities of the Milky Way - the glorious globular star clusters that
surround our galaxy.  Just as the telescopes of the 17th century opened
the sky for discoveries of star clusters and nebulae, 21st century
telescopes take us to explore the origin and evolution of globular star
clusters in our galaxy, and in galaxies far away.  Globular clusters
offer a glimpse of early star formation in the Universe, and of the
origin of the basic elements of the periodic table.  Some globular
clusters harbor black holes, while others may be the remnants of
galaxies shredded by the tidal forces of the Milky Way.  And above all,
the globular clusters are magnificent sentinels in the night sky,
shining with the power of hundreds of thousands of suns.

7th Lecture, 2007 Oct 25, C. Robert O'Dell, Vanderbilt U,
Creating the Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is arguably the most power optical 
telescope ever built. It represents a leap in our ability to view the 
universe that is comparable to advantages of Galileo's first 
telescope of 400 years ago over the unaided human eye. The idea of a 
large observatory in space was first advocated in 1921, long before 
there were rockets that could reach Earth orbit, and became a natural 
goal for the fledgling National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 
Construction began in 1971 and the telescope was launched in 1990. 
Since then it has  steadily been producing unprecedented scientific 
discoveries and is widely viewed as NASA's Scientific Flagship.

6th Lecture, 2006 Apr 20, Alan Dressler, Observatories of the Carnegie Institute of Washington,
Galaxies, Stars, Planets, and Life: The Birth of the Modern Universe (caution: asx)
Alan Dressler's father was a University of Louisville Dental School alumnus.
After expanding for a half-a-billion years, the Universe cooled enough that the
first stars were born, filling the Universe with the gleam of starlight.  That blaze
continues today, almost 14 billion years later, in the lives of a thousand-billion-billion
Suns like our own.  Although still shrouded in mystery, astronomers are closing
in on a detailed portrait of this crucial moment, through both theoy and direct observation.
The Universe we know today was born -- galaxies of stars, stars with families of planets
and planets, built from the newly created chemical elements, crucibles for the formation
of life.  Putting together all the pieces, decoding the many steps and the interplay
of complex processes, is the greatest challenge for astronomers today, an accomplishment
that is now within their vision, if not their grasp.

Other Talks:

Clip of an interview with Tim Dowling on planetary atmosphere research
at U. Louisville from Discovery Channel, filmed in June 2007

Clip of an interview with Dr. John Kielkopf, Ken Alderson (LAS President) and Pete Strauser (Int'l Dark Sky Assoc) on Light Pollution
on WFPL-FM State of Affairs, taped on 20 Nov 2007 June 2007