University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
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IfA Publications

For immediate release
October 19, 2007


Dr. James "J.D." Armstrong
Maui Technology Education & Outreach Specialist
Institute for Astronomy

Ms. Claudine Wales
Administrative Specialist
Institute for Astronomy, Maui




Institute for Astronomy
Director's office
2680 Woodlawn Drive Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Telephone: 1-808-956-8566
Fax: 1-808-946-3467

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Maui Public Talk on Asteroid and Comet Impacts

asteroid impact with Earth
Artist's concept of a catastrophic asteroid impact with Earth. Image courtesy of NASA.

The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy will hold a UH/IfA Maui Maikalani Community Lecture, the first in a series of free monthly public talks on Maui, on Friday, October 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at its new building, Maikalani, in Pukalani. Dr. Joe Ritter's topic will be "Asteroid and Comet Impacts."

Asteroid and comet impacts have played an important role in the development of our planet and are continuously reshaping the solar system. Dr. Ritter will be discussing collisions between near-Earth objects and current research efforts, as well as past and future effects on the evolution of life on this planet.

Dr. Ritter received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Miami in 1998. His current research areas include active optical systems, nanotechnology, biology, and oncology. His background includes research in plasma physics, space telescopes, radiative transfer, satellite remote sensing, and space propulsion.

Joe Ritter
Dr. Joe Ritter.
Photo by Dr. Greg Park.

Previously, he was team lead at the NASA Marshall Advanced Optical Systems Development Group, associate research scientist in Space Systems Engineering at the Florida Space Institute, and an associate development engineer at the University of California, San Diego's Center for Astrophysics and Space Science.

The address of Maikalani, also known as the Advanced Technology Research Center, is 34 Ohia Ku Street, Pukalani, above Kamehameha Schools in the Kulamalu Town Center (the first light after King Kekaulike High School, just off Kula Highway). For a map, go to

"Maikalani" literally means "from the heavens" but also has the cultural meaning "things we gain from the cosmos."

Dr. Ritter will also be lecturing on "Phytoplankton Measurements and Satellite Oceanography" at the Maui Ocean Center in November.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.




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