General Meeting

Next Meeting:  Friday, March 3, 2017

Open to the Public:  TAAA encourages the public to join our general meetings held on the first Friday of the month in the Steward Observatory Lecture Hall (Room N210) on the U of A Campus.

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Previous Meeting:  Friday, February 3, 2017

Introductory Presentation – 6:30 PM

The Art of Planetary Science exhibit at the Lunar and Planetary Lab

Presenters:  Sarah Peacock and Jim Scotti

February 10th marks the opening of The Art of Planetary Science exhibit at the Lunar and Planetary Lab. This annual event “celebrates the beauty and elegance of science.” This month, we’ve invited the event co-organizer, Sarah Peacock, to tell us about the exhibit.

We’ll also have a presentation by Jim Scotti, Space Artist and LPL Senior Research Specialist (with LPL’s Spacewatch program). Jim has been drawing and painting space art since the 1960’s. He will show some of his space art which includes rockets and astronauts (several based on Apollo missions) and spacescapes.

Main Presentation – 7:30 PM

Robots and Lasers: Revolutionizing Astronomy at Kitt Peak Observatory’s 2.1m Telescope with Robo-AO

Presenters:  Megan Nieberding & Ula Szafruga, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)

The 2.1m telescope may have been built in the 1960s but it now has the most high-tech vision on Kitt Peak. In 2015, Robo-AO (a robotic laser guide star adaptive optics system) was moved from Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California, to the 2.1m telescope,creating the first dedicated adaptive optics (AO) observatory. Robo-AO is capable of observing 20 targets per hour, making it 10 times more efficient than any other AO system in the world. During its 4 years of operation, the system has discovered several hundred new binary stars, and 5 of the 6 planet-containing quadruple star systems. Additionally, Robo-AO has observed over 90% of the Kepler Objects of Interest in the search for exoplanets. To learn more about adaptive optics and how Robo-AO helps astronomers take ultra-high resolution pictures, come hear Megan Nieberding and Ula Szafruga from NOAO at the next TAAA meeting, February 3rd.