Saturday, January 29, 2011

Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts!

Last night we had a great outreach event featuring a talk by Dr. Maryam Modjaz. She captivated the audience with a lecture about some of the largest explosions in the Universe: gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperative, so we weren't able to observe the night sky after the talk. We did offer telescope tours, a 3D wall demonstration of astrophysical phenomena and Yuan Li and Cameron Hummels offered several slideshows on exoplanets and the Winter sky.

Thanks to all 100 attendees for a successful evening of science!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Visit from Harlem Academy

This morning, we had 15 students and three instructors from Harlem Academy tour the department. They were treated to a presentation on what's visible from the night sky, the observing on Kitt Peak National Observatory and a tour of the big dome. The students had enthusiastic and knowledgeable questions about astronomy and were treated to Hubble Posters and Trading Cards at the end of the event when they headed off to the American Museum of Natural History.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Black Holes and a cold winter's night viewing of the heavens

On January 14, 90 people joined six Columbia Astronomy Department volunteers to learn all about black holes from Dr. Sean T. McWilliams who gave a wonderful lecture on the upcoming observations by LIGO and LISA that may lead us to the first detection of gravitational waves from black holes. After his lecture, attendees were treated to a presentation by Andrew Brown on the issues relating to the in-the-news hoopla over the sidereal versus tropical zodiacs, missions to Mars, and the evolution of stars. Simultaneously on the 13th floor, Cameron Hummels gave a 3D tour of various astronomical observations and simulations to an enthusiastic crowd keeping warming from the main event: a tour of Jupiter, the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, and the moon by volunteers Duane Lee, Erika Hamden, and Christine Simpson.