The Seniors Outdoors! general meeting will be held at the Durango Rec Center on Feb. 8, 2022. The social half-hour without refreshments will begin at 5:30 pm with the meeting and program presentation held from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Face masks are required indoors. Any changes to these plans due to the vagaries of the Covid pandemic will be posted on this site.
Speaker: Doug Summers
Title: Ultra-clear outer space images and new science discoveries from ground-based telescopes
Presentation summary: We’re living in the golden age of astronomy. Over just the last 25 years, humans have come to rearrange the solar system’s components, characterize our galaxy’s black hole, and understand that every star in every galaxy likely hosts from 1-10 planets. In this talk, we examine the role of the largest optical telescopes on earth, and how they work in synergy with smaller space-based telescopes to produce images that reveal and confirm amazing science about our universe. Along the way, we’ll view some interesting outer space science images and weave a story of some professional astronomy characters who compete and collaborate for science fame and glory.
Speaker bio: Doug Summers is a computer scientist who completed studies at Brigham Young University in 1987. After early career assignments in defense contracting and telecommunications, in 2001 he switched careers to support ground-based Astronomy at the world’s most scientifically productive observatory in the world, the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. He has since worked with many of the largest ground based optical/infrared observatories around the world. Doug is a google scholar, having authored or co-authored 45 published scientific/engineering papers with over 1700 peer citations. He shares the dubious distinction of being part of the team that “demoted” Pluto, as well as a team member responsible for observations of the Milky Way’s black hole environment, which ultimately culminated in the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics. Recently retired from the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Doug continues to periodically support ground-based observatories around the world as an expert in Laser Beam Avoidance. Doug is both an accomplished telescope builder and amateur astrophotographer. He has been married for 31 years and has 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
Meeting Place: Durango Rec Center 5:30 pm
Difficulty Info: Easy and educational and fun