DIRAC & Astronomy on Tap Seattle Present: ASTRONOMY AT HOME

Join us for an evening with an astronomer and participate in talks and live conversations about topics that vary from searching for the most mysterious stars in our Galaxy to the Starlink satellites changing our view to the night sky!

UW astronomers will talk about their work and latest discoveries. Astronomy at Home talks are for everyone: astronomy enthusiasts, students, and all who are curious and interested in astronomy and data science in astronomy. The talks will be 20 minutes in length with plenty of time for Q&A. All talks will be streamed on YouTube and you can join for live discussion via Zoom.

Next scheduled talk of the series will be presented by Željko Ivezić, Deputy Director for the construction of Vera C. Rubin Observatory and LSST Project Scientist.

Thursday, June 11th at 8:00pm PDT

Tune in on Zoom by going to https://dirac.us/zoom

or view the stream on our YouTube channel at https://dirac.us/yt

JUNE 11 | Željko Ivezić | The Greatest Movie of All Time

Ivezić Željko

Željko Ivezić of the University of Washington has been associated with the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Project since its inception in the early 2000’s.  Currently he is a Deputy Director for the construction of Rubin Observatory and LSST Project Scientist.

The Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), the first project to be undertaken at the new Vera C. Rubin Observatory, will be the most comprehensive optical astronomical survey ever undertaken. Starting in 2022, Rubin Observatory will obtain panoramic images covering the sky visible from its location in Chile every clear night for ten years. Close to a thousand observations of each position across half of the celestial sphere will represent the greatest movie of all time: it would take 11 months of uninterrupted viewing to see it. About 20 billion galaxies and a similar number of stars will be detected using this 60 petabyte image dataset — for the first time in history, the number of cataloged celestial objects will exceed the number of living people. I will briefly describe scientific goals behind this project and show lots of pretty pictures to illustrate the progress of its construction. 

JUNE 25 | Meredith Rawls | It’s a Star, it’s a Galaxy, it’s… Starlink?

Meredith Rawls works with the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Data Management group at the University of Washington. Meredith is a Research Scientist in the Department of Astronomy and a DIRAC Fellow. She writes software to enable real-time discovery of moving and variable objects in terabytes of nightly data from LSST.

SpaceX has launched over 400 Starlink satellites into low-earth orbit, and they’re just getting started. These satellites are changing our view of the night sky and showing up as bright streaks in telescope images. They have the potential to mess up large ground-based optical telescopes like Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which is designed to find new things going bump in the night and discern subtle brightness patterns. The good news is, SpaceX is working with astronomers to make future Starlinks a whole lot darker. (The bad news is, SpaceX isn’t the only game in town.) I’ll share new results from observations of SpaceX’s so-called DarkSat — a Starlink they literally painted black — to see how much it helped. SpaceX’s mitigation plans should salvage most planned Rubin Observatory science, and should also hide their satellites from the naked eye most of the time. We really hope other companies will follow their lead.