Monday, November 22, 2010

Family Astro: Black Holes!

Seven kids and about 10 adults visited the Columbia Astronomy department for an afternoon full of activities designed to teach about Black Holes. First we had a talk explaining that black holes are areas which are so dense nothing can move fast enough to escape out of them. We also learned that black holes are the remains of massive stars which have died. We had a demonstration using stretchy fabric and heavy balls of how gravity is a result of space curving, and put ping pong balls on orbits. We also talked about the extreme densities of black holes what would happen if you fell into a black hole.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Public Observing and Lecture: November 12, 2010

Columbia University Astronomy PhD candidate Taka Tanaka presented an excellent lecture on colliding black holes to a packed lecture theatre of particularly enthusiastic visitors. Afterwards record numbers stayed for stargazing and slideshows.

Monday, November 8, 2010

October 29 Outreach Report

Postdoc Josh Peek gave an excellent lecture on Friday, October 29,
titled "Outer Space" to about 250 visitors. We took a tour of space
near to us and far away as Josh proved outer space isn't just "space"
but rather that most of the atoms in the universe are in the form of
soot and gas hiding in between planets, stars, and galaxies. The
audience was treated to pictures and explanations of the many forms
this matter can take. These include cold clumps of gas and dust which
block out the light coming from behind them and can sometimes form new
stars, as well as hot gas in clusters which can rip a galaxy's gas
right out of it. After the lecture many people were able to observe
Alberio, the double cluster, and Jupiter and four of it's moons. In
addition to observing, guests were also able to watch a 3D wall
presentation on Mars by Cameron Hummels, or to watch the film Cosmic
Collisions. Thanks to all our visitors and to all the volunteers for a
great night!