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The Universe Tonight

On the first Saturday of each month, the Visitor Information Station (VIS) hosts The Universe Tonight, a special presentation on the current research and discoveries occurring on Maunakea. The presentation begins at 6:00 PM and is followed by the regular evening stargazing program at the VIS.

The Universe Tonight typically features an astronomer from one of the observatories on Maunakea giving a presentation on recent observations and discoveries from their telescope. Observatories are on a rotating schedule.

 

Upcoming Presentations

March 4th, 2017 @ the VIS Presentation Room, 6:00 p.m.

 Dr. Josh Walawender, Support Astronomer with the W. M. Keck Observatory, presents:

The Birth of Stars

Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, can be seen streaming across the sky in the early evening in winter and summer from here in Hawaii. This "river of stars", made up of billions of distant suns, is marred by dark patches where the light of those distant stars is blocked by clouds of interstellar dust. This dust is the raw material of star birth. In the densest clumps within these interstellar clouds, hundreds or even thousands of stars of different sizes and colors are born in these stellar nurseries. 

In this talk we will explore the early phases of a star's life when the young star is still shrouded in its parent gas cloud. As these stars age and grow, they will destroy their parent cloud through stellar winfs, outflows, radiation, and supernovae. At this stage, they are sometimes visible as spectacular emission nebulae such as the Great Nebula in Orion which will be prominent in Hawaii's sky that night.

Our sun was once part of these stellar nurseries and, later, part of a cluster of stars. Now, roughly five billion years later, its stellar siblings have all drifted away; but we can watch as other stars are born and evolve and use them to understand our own star's origin.


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