Seeing Beyond Red with Cool Technology

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Humans often don’t realize that they can sense more than visible light. But we feel an invisible form of light as heat, and we call it infrared radiation.

Over the past few decades, there has been an explosion of technological innovation in the detection of infrared light. This has enabled huge discoveries in astronomy. It has allowed us to see the effects of our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole, and take pictures of planets in nearby star systems. Stardust in galaxies also lights up in the infrared, allowing us to track the evolution of galaxies from very early times.

The technology required to detect infrared light is unique and presents difficult engineering challenges. Join us for this AstroTour talk, as the Dunlap Institute’s Suresh Sivanandam presents an overview of the great new discoveries in infrared astronomy and the technological breakthroughs that have ushered in this new and exciting era of astronomy.

Sivanandam, a Dunlap Fellow, constructs novel infrared instrumentation for studying how galaxies in our Universe evolve. Currently, he is involved in building an infrared imaging spectrograph called WIFIS that will be heading to Kitt Peak, Arizona next Spring.

Following the lecture, tour-goers can peer at the night sky through the balcony and dome telescopes of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, or watch a planetarium show presented live by a U of T astronomer. Admission to the tour is free. Seating for the lecture is on a first-come, first-served basis (doors open ten minutes before the start of the lecture), and the telescope observing is walk-in. The planetarium shows require registration; for full details and to register, visit the AstroTour website.

AstroTours are supported by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

 

McLennan Physical Laboratory Building
60 St. George Street
Toronto

December 04, 2014