Monday, October 15, 2012

October 5: X-ray Spectacular!

On October 5th, over 175 people came to Doug Thornhill's talk on the newly launched X-ray telescope NuSTAR. NuSTAR was assembled at the Nevis Laboratories of Columbia University and Doug worked with the NuSTAR team for almost four years as an undergraduate student at Columbia since the beginning of the project. He provided a clear and thorough explanation on how x-ray telescopes work, with a physical demonstration on how light is detected by the telescope. Doug then showed how NuSTAR was built and discussed the scientific goals of the telescope including the survey of super-massive black holes, supernovae remnants and compact objects, as well as the study of the energy transport of our sun.

After the talk, some people stayed in the lecture hall to enjoy the movie "High Energy Vision: The Chandra X-ray Observatory," which is another NASA X-ray telescope launched more than a decade ago. 

As it was a fairly clear night, many people headed up to the roof to view the night sky through the telescopes. Additionally, Columbia undergrad, Bryan Terrazas, showed 3D movies on the 13th floor. 

Join us for our next event on October 19th, when we will hear from Or Graur on how astronomers use the universe as their laboratory.