The UW-W Physics Dept.’s first 2009 Observatory Public Lecture will be Dr. Paul Rybski’s one-hour multimedia presentation “Comets and the International Year of Astronomy” (Fri., Feb. 20th, 8 pm, Upham 141), followed by (weather permitting) a public viewing session at Whitewater Observatory at about 9:15 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.
Anyone interested in additional information about comets, Galilei, or astronomy in general will find a wealth of material in the University’s Library. A search of the Library Catalog would find books such as Comet by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (3rd-floor Main Collection, QB721 .S34 1985) or Galileo: his science and his significance for the future of man (3rd-floor Main Collection, QB36.G2 D48 1996). More about comets may be found online, e.g., the blog “The transient sky – comets, asteroids, meteors” or NASA’s web site (“Green comet approaches Earth”).
LECTURE ABSTRACT: “Four hundred years ago this spring, a feisty Italian physics professor Galileo Galilei heard about the invention of the telescope in what today is Holland and set about building his own. By Summer 1609, he was showing it to important people; and by Fall 1609, he was making the first recorded astronomical observations with this telescope. These observations obtained the first real evidence that astronomical objects were not perfect and unchangeable and that the Earth probably revolved around the Sun.
In celebration of this important event, the International Astronomical Union has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy, dedicated to bringing the universe down to Earth through lectures, exhibits and observing sessions for people of all ages. Whitewater Observatory begins its participation in the IYA with a lecture about the significance of Galileo’s first observations and about the most recent observations of Comets Lulin and Kushida, both visible in the night sky this month.”
The University Library is a federal depository with many federal, state, local, and international documents on a variety of current and relevant issues available to you in print, microfiche, CD-ROM, and electronically. Come check out your government at the University Library!