The University of Toledo Astronomers' Lecture Series 2008-2009

7:30 PM

Ritter Planetarium,
The University of Toledo Main Campus

Open to the public, admission free

Suggested donation to Ritter Planetarium: $5 general, $2 students, or what is affordable

Each lecture will be followed by a short planetarium show and (weather permitting) viewing at one of our telescopes.

Plenty of evening parking is available for $1.50 in the visitor lot adjacent to McMaster Hall.

Sponsored by: Ritter Planetarium-Brooks Observatory, the Ritter Astrophysical Research Center, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Toledo

April 2, 2009

"Astrophysical Black Holes and Energy Extraction"

Prof. Reva-Kay Williams

Visiting Professor

Black holes, the most exotic objects in the universe, are a display of gravity at its finest. They range in mass from about ten times the mass of our Sun to about a billion times that. I will discuss the formation of black holes, the enormous energy they emit, and the process by which the energy is emitted, or extracted.
Artist's concept of the swirling whirlpool of hot gas surrounding an active black hole.

Previous lectures in this year's series

November 6, 2008
"Stars and Disks (and Planets?) - Oh, My!"

Karen Bjorkman

Professor of Astronomy and
Interim Chair,
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Artist's concept of a disk around a young star where planets are forming
Many stars have disks of gas and/or dust around them, and some of these disks might even be potential birthplaces for other solar systems. These disks are found around stars of all ages - young stars, middle-aged stars, and old stars - but they are small, faint, and far away, so they are difficult to study. Ever wonder how astronomers can figure out about what these disks are like, when in many cases they can't even see them directly? Come and learn about some of the research going on right here at The University of Toledo, as one part of our Search for Origins program, to learn more about the disks around stars of all ages, and their possible connection to other solar systems.
December 4, 2008

"The Search for New Worlds with Space Telescopes:
A Legacy of Lyman Spitzer, Jr."

Prof. Tom Megeath

Assistant Professor of Astronomy

January 15, 2009

Glowing Carbon Molecules in Space:
Observations through Earth- and Space-Telescopes

Dr. Uma Vijh
Research Assistant Professor

I will talk about observations of optical and infrared emissions from large carbon molecules, specifically aromatic hydrocarbons called PAHs, in a variety of astrophysical environments. PAHs are an important component of the dust around young stars just as they are being born, as well as around dying stars.
The Large Magellanic Cloud as observed by Spitzer
February 5, 2009

"Distant Young Suns in the Winter Night:
Star Formation in Taurus and Orion"

Dr. Will Fischer

Postdoctoral Fellow

Young Star HH30's Dynamic Disk and Jets
Two of the most prominent constellations in the winter skies over Toledo host regions of ongoing star formation. In Taurus and Orion, astronomers study distant young stars that are still emerging from cold, gigantic clouds of gas and dust. These stars closely resemble our sun in its youth, so by studying them, astronomers learn about the earliest days of our own solar system. Come and hear about how advances in imaging and spectroscopy allow us to probe star-forming regions in fine detail even though they are hundreds of light years from Earth.
March 5, 2009

"When Good Stars Explode: the Nearest Supernova"

Prof. J. D. Smith

Assistant Professor of Astronomy
This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the scattered remains of an exploded star named Cassiopeia A.

About the 2007-2008 Astronomers' Lecture Series

Image credits - Nov. 6: NASA/Pat Rawlings. Dec. 4: NASA. Jan .15: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Meixner (STScI) & the SAGE Legacy Team. Feb. 5: NASA, Alan Watson (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico), Karl Stapelfeldt (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), John Krist (Space Telescope Science Institute) and Chris Burrows (European Space Agency/ Space Telescope Science Institute). Mar. 5: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Minn. Apr. 2: artwork by A. Hobart, CXC
Contact Nancy Morrison with comments or questions. Latest update to this page: 3/17/09