University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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Winter/Spring 2015 Shows

AstroBreaks are free planetarium shows from 12:15-12:45 p.m. on select Wednesdays. All are welcome!

Each program includes a description of the night sky and some of its treasures, along with exploration of a special astronomical topic.

January 14: Winter Constellations
Lecturer: Jean Creighton
Learn more about the myths surrounding the Winter Constellations and find out more about the astronomical objects that are visible in the winter such as the Pleiades and the Beehive cluster.

January 21: Life of a star
Lecturer: Jean Creighton
Learn about how stars are born, become adults, and eventually leave exotic remains such as black holes

January 28: Supernovae
Lecturer: Laura Nuttall
At the end of a massive star's life it will go out with an almighty bang called a supernova.  This stellar explosion briefly outshines an entire galaxy as material is flung out in to space, perhaps giving rise to a brand new star.  During this AstroBreak, we will discuss the path which leads a star to this fate, and explore these exotic explosions!

February 4: Einstein@Home
Lecturer: Sinead Walsh
Hunting for objects scattered across the universe requires a lot of computing power.  Find out how you can help in the search for neutron stars with Einstein@Home.

February 11: Cupid's Constellations
Lecturer: Jean Creighton
All are welcome for stargazing in the beautiful warmth of the planetarium dome.

February 18: Binary Systems
Lecturer: Graduate student Daniel Mashburn
As a binary system evolves, the pair of stars begins to exchange material; the marriage of each system begins to unravel.  The process of Roche Lobe overflow and Black Body radiation play pivotal roles in determining the ultimate fates of stellar mates.  Telescopic methods are numerous, and dependent on the source and the observer.  Radio dishes and arrays collect low frequency light from neutron stars, while X-ray satellites detect distant Super Novae.

February 25: The Science of Interstellar
Lecturer: Distinguished Professor John Friedman

Dive into the science behind the movie Interstellar that was just released. 

March 4: Distant Galaxies
Lecturer: Postdoctoral Researcher Danielle Berg

March 11: Open and Globular Clusters
Lecturer: Postdoctoral Researcher Megan DeCesar

March 25: Black Holes
Lecturer: Graduate student Alex Urban
Imagine for a moment that you're Alice, tumbling down a never-ending rabbit hole into a topsy-turvy world that just doesn't make any sense.  What would you think?  How would you try to understand it?  Turns out, such fantastic wonderlands of gravity gone haywire are very, very real -- and we'll be visiting one in this AstroBreak.  Have you done five impossible things today?  Why not round it off with a lunchtime trip into the inescapable grasp of a black hole, and see how far the rabbit hole really goes...

April 1: Supermassive Black Holes
Lecturer: Graduate student Hong Qi
Learn about the supermassive black holes that reside at the center of most galaxies.

April 8: Galaxy Formation
Lecturer: Graduate student Joseph Simon
Our Milky Way is so beautiful to behold.  Find out how galaxies form and evolve.

April 15: Constellations of the Zodiac
Lecturer: Jean Creighton
Learn some of the stories associated with Leo and Virgo; enjoy the spring constellations projected on our dome.

April 22: Higgs Boson
Lecturer: Postdoctoral Researcher Laleh Sadeghian
On 4 July 2012, scientists at CERN announced that they found a particle that behaved the way they expect the Higgs Boson to behave and on 8 October 2013 the Nobel prize in physics was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of particles which was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle namely the Higgs Boson. What is the Higgs Boson? Find out why its discovery was such a big deal.

April 29: History of the elements
Lecturer: Associate Professor David Kaplan
Find out what we mean when we say we are made of starstuff.

May 6: Glorious Galaxies
Lecturer: Jean Creighton
There are many types of galaxies in our universe; they can be some of the most gorgeous objects to see.  We will see some of the most famous galaxies and learn about what happens when they collide.


Archive of past Astrobreaks.