Star Talk – The Gaia Satellite: Mapping the Milky Way in 3D
Abstract: For hundreds of years, astronomers have been working to map the structure of the Universe and of the Milky Way, but this endeavor is hampered by the difficulty of measuring distances to celestial objects. Prof. Bovy will tell the story of how we have determined our place in the cosmos, from measuring the size of the solar system and the distance to nearby stars, to figuring out how far other galaxies are. He will then take us to the present day, giving an overview of the new Gaia satellite mission which is making us see the Milky Way with new eyes by measuring the distances to a billion stars in the Milky Way.
About the speaker: Professor Jo Bovy is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He graduated with a PhD in physics from New York University and went on to become a Bahcall fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He currently holds the Canada Research Char in Galactic Astrophysics at UofT, and is a member of the APOGEE-2 survey, which maps the dynamical and chemical patterns of Milky Way stars using near-infrared spectroscopy.
Date and Location: 7:00 PM Sept. 27th, Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories (LM) Room 159
Telescope observing: 8:00 PM on 14th floor of McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP) (weather permitting) — you will be guided to the telescopes.