Most of the information that we get about our universe, from the compositions and temperatures of stars to how fast galaxies are speeding away from us, comes from the light that these objects emit. How are astronomers able determine these characteristics? This talk will discuss the methodology of studying objects in our universe, touch on a few related topics, and include engaging live demonstrations. A Question & Answer session will follow.
After the talk and if weather permits, Dyer Observatory’s telescopes will open for viewing of a number of different objects including (later in the evening) much-anticipated Mars! Approximately every two years Mars and Earth meet up in their orbits to achieve “closest approach.” As a result of its proximity, Mars appears as a particularly bright ruddy “star” and telescopic views often allow one to observe some of its features including the polar ice caps, plains, and even some volcanoes and craters. Closest approach this year occurs on July 31st, but telescopic views of the red planet will still be just as good for several more weeks. Note that Mars rises late in the evening - once it is visible above the tree-line, the Seyfert Telescope will view it.
Dr. William (Billy) Teets is the outreach astronomer at Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory. Billy was born and raised in Clarksville, Tennessee, and received his B.S. in Physics in 2004 from Austin Peay State University. He was accepted to the Vanderbilt University graduate program in 2005 and received his Ph.D. in (astro)physics in 2012. He has worked at Dyer Observatory since 2006, starting as a part-time student helper and then getting hired on as the staff astronomer in late 2012. As Dyer’s outreach astronomer, you will find Billy giving tours around the observatory, giving public lectures, operating myriad telescopes, programming a new exhibit...the list goes on.