‘Imiloa program will focus on invisible light


‘Imiloa program will focus on invisible light

“Astronomy with Invisible Light” will be the topic at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s next Mauna Kea Skies program at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Join Gary Davis, director of the Joint Astronomy Centre, when he elaborates on infrared observations and its contribution to astronomy.

The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) is one of two British telescopes on Mauna Kea. As the name implies, UKIRT specializes in the study of infrared light, which cannot be seen with the naked eye.

In fact, for most of its 32 years of operation, UKIRT was the largest telescope in the world dedicated exclusively to infrared observations. This type of observation allows the astronomer to study objects which cannot be seen using conventional optical astronomy, ranging from very nearby cool objects such as brown dwarfs to very distant galaxies in the early universe.

In this presentation Davis will describe why astronomers undertake this challenging type of astronomy and the advantages of observing on Mauna Kea. He will discuss what UKIRT has achieved over the past three decades and what the future holds for the telescope.

He will also reflect on why astronomy is important as a means of understanding our place in the Universe and why science in general is such a valuable approach to understanding the world in which we live.

Davis has been the director of the Joint Astronomy Centre and its two observatories, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, since August 2002. He was educated in Canada and England, receiving his doctorate from Oxford University in 1987.

He was a professor of physics and engineering physics at the University of Saskatchewan for 11 years and was highly decorated for his teaching, including the Master Teacher Award.

He holds honorary professorships at the Universities of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Cardiff, and an honorary doctor of science degree from McMaster University. As director of the JAC for the past decade, he has overseen the evolution of UKIRT and the JCMT from general purpose observatories to highly productive survey instruments with unique capabilities based on world-leading technologies.

Mauna Kea Skies will be hosted by Shawn Laatsch, ‘Imiloa’s planetarium manager. He will provide observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawaii, pointing out prominent constellations and stars one can see during this time of year.

The monthly Mauna Kea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Saturday of each month. Cost is $8, with member discounts. Buy tickets at the ‘Imiloa front desk or by phone at 969-9703. ‘Imiloa is at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo streets at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Science and Technology Park. For more information, go to www.imiloahawaii.org, or call 969-9703.

 

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