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Hubble Space Telescope: Exploding Stars and the Accelerating Universe

Robert Kirshner

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The John N. Bahcall Lecture Series
Presenter: Robert Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science, Harvard University
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
8:00 pm
Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater
Museum in Washington, DC

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6:15 pm and 7:00 pm* - PRE-LECTURE: Concert in the Albert Einstein Planetarium 
"To See the Stars" is a 30-minute song cycle for chamber ensemble that explores the depths of humankind's curiosity and wonder when confronted with the mystery of outer space. Commissioned to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the groundbreaking Hubble Space Telescope, these songs by award-winning composer Faye Chiao and lyricist/librettist Dara Weinberg examine the history of astronomy and the human desire to come into closer contact with the stars. Specially programmed visual projections will complement and enhance the live musical performance.

*Note: Regular ticketholders may attend either the 6:15 or 7:00 pm concert.  Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Priority will be given to regular ticket holders. Overflow and standby ticketholders will be seated based on availability.

7:30 pm - PRE-LECTURE: Meet the lecturer

8:00 pm - Lecture begins
Exploding stars halfway across the universe show that the expansion of the universe is speeding up.  Astronomers detected this runaway universe with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in the 1990s and they are using it now to understand the dark energy that causes cosmic acceleration.  Is the dark energy a modern version of Einstein's discarded cosmological constant or is it something else?  We don't know, but we do know how to find out through observations with HST and its successors. This lecture is suitable for ages 13 and up.   

9:00 pm - Stargazing in the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, weather permitting

The John N. Bahcall Lecture is sponsored by the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Hubble Space Telescope Project/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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