Special Public Lecture - Surveying the Universe



A very special virtual public lecture by Steven M. Kahn, the Director of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, a unique new major astronomical facility that will stitch together a completely new image of the entire Southern sky every few days!

The event is free and open to anyone, everywhere. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session where we will take questions from the audience.

The livestream can be viewed on Zoom or on YouTube Live. Please register here to receive the Zoom link.

Summary: I will describe the design and development of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, a unique new major astronomical facility under development in Chile with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy. The Rubin Observatory is a large-aperture, wide-field ground-based telescope designed to perform a ten-year, time-domain survey of the entire southern hemisphere of sky in six optical color bands. Every part of the southern sky will be photographed nearly 1,000 times over the decade of operations. We will discover nearly 20 billion new galaxies, and a comparable number of stars – the first time in human history when we will know of more objects in the Universe than there are people on Earth. A diverse array of distinct science investigations will be enabled by the resulting database, ranging from studies of small moving bodies in the solar system to the structure and evolution of the Universe as a whole. The construction of the Rubin Observatory also involved a number of technical challenges that we had to overcome. We were approaching completion before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused us to halt work at the summit facility last March. We are just now resuming activities on the mountain, which will hopefully allow us to achieve “first light” in 2023.

About the speaker: Steven M. Kahn, is the Cassius Lamb Kirk Professor in the Natural Sciences, Stanford University, and Director of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory

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