The Universe Tonight
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The scale of things: the size of our Universe
By Andy Adamson, Associate Director of the United Kingdom
Infrared Telescope (UKIRT)
Ever since the ancient Greeks estimated the distance to the Moon, astronomers have expanded our knowledge of distances within the Universe to larger and larger scales, reaching the nearest stars, the
center of the Milky Way galaxy, and then beyond to local galaxies, clusters of galaxies and the most distant quasars. This talk will expand on a recent Mauna Kea Skies presentation, completing the
picture of how we know distances in the Solar System and beyond. We will illustrate some of the methods using data from Mauna Kea telescopes and elsewhere.
Andy Adamson is currently Associate Director of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). British by birth, before arriving on the Big Island in 1998, Andy was for some ten years a lecturer, researcher and computer systems manager at the University of Central Lancashire in the northwest of the United Kingdom. His research focuses on interstellar dust particles – the microscopic motes of silicate and carbon which pervade the space between the stars and obscure much of the local Universe from our sight. These grains also take a leading role in the life cycle of the stars themselves, assisting the formation process and re-forming and driving the "winds" from stars near the end of their lifespans.