I got the chance to speak at Google over the winter break as part of the Talks at Google series. If you are interested in hearing the talk, its now on YouTube (and embedded below). The entire trip to Mountain View was a great time, and the audience for my talk was engaging and had great questions. Astronomy is entering an exciting era, where surveys such as Gaia and LSST will provide the precise data needed to answer some of our biggest questions, including characterizing dark energy and producing exquisite maps of the Milky Way. Moreover, all of the data will be public, meaning anyone with an internet connection can get their hands on cutting edge data. The opportunities for citizen science will be outstanding. Hope you enjoy the talk!
I recently got invited to share a little bit about my work on mapping the Galaxy and large astronomical surveys with the folks at Google. My talk will be part of the talks@Google series. This is a really fantastic place to visit. From the free coffee to the Google bikes, I’ve enjoyed my time on campus immensely.
Last week I got the chance to be on the Preston and Steve morning drive time show at WMMR. The entire experience was a blast, and I want to thank Nick McIlwain for setting the whole thing up. I was invited to the show as a “not your average listener”; a segment that features fans of the show that have done something remarkable. After learning about my discovery of the most distant stars in the Milky Way, Nick invited me to come by the studio. You can hear the audio from the interview here (I come on around 2h and 5 minutes). Thankfully, the WMMR listeners agreed that I was “not so average” and I walked away with some extra cash. Thanks Nick and the rest of the P&S and WMMR team!
LSST, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, is one of the largest undertakings in modern astronomy. It will survey the entire visible night sky about every 3 nights for 10 years, assembling an incredible dataset that will include over 20 billion objects. To get ready for this survey, hundreds of astronomers all over the world have self-assembled into science working groups. These groups are collections of astronomers that are focused on making the most of LSST to work on their science.
Along with Beth Willman and Nitya Kallivayalil, I am a chair of the Stars, Milky Way and Local Volume Science collaboration. I am happy to announce our public website, available here. If you’d like to know more about what our group is working on, and how you can contribute to LSST, please contact me or see more at the site.
If you have the time, go check out the video below of Andy Connolly‘s ted talk on LSST. He does a wonderful job of explaining how LSST, a telescope that will image the night sky every 3 days for 10 years, will unlock new roads for discovery and answer fundamental questions. I am also involved with LSST, as co-chair of the Stars, Milky Way and Local Volume science collaboration.
One of the largest hurdles for the next generation of large telescopes is the construction of adaptive optics systems that can track multiple stars at the same time. For the first time, this technology has been installed on a 8m telescope, as detailed in my recent Sky & Telescope article.
For the last two years, I have been part of a team searching for the most distant stars in the Milky Way. In July 2014, we published our latest results, which included the two most distant stars ever discovered. You can read more about it in my Sky & Telescope blog article, and the other media outlets that picked up our story.