Past Meetup

Zak Staniszewski: A Cold Telescope’s View of the Infant Universe

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BICEP2: A cold telescope's view of the infant Universe

The BICEP2 and Keck array are telescopes designed to probe the first moments in time after the Big Bang. In this talk, I will outline the theory of Inflation, which many scientists believe explains the current and past expansion history of the Universe. If the theory of inflation is true, it explains expansion, and also where all of the matter and structure in our Universe comes from. It also predicts a cosmological gravitational wave signature that should be observable. I will describe how we built a set of unique telescopes to go after this smoking gun signature. These telescopes were largely assembled in southern California at Caltech and JPL. I will highlight novel technology developments that were required to detect such a faint signature. I will also explain how and why we build these these telescopes in the inhospitable geographic South Pole.

Zak Staniszewski

I received my undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy at University of Wisconsin, Madison. My PhD from Case Western Reserve University. I did my PhD on the South Pole Telescope, and I spent the 10 month winter season at the South Pole running that telescope. My thesis project resulted in the first ever discovery of distant galaxy clusters using predicted distortions in the Cosmic Microwave Background. For the last 5 years I have been a postdoc at Caltech studying inflation and the Cosmic Microwave Background.

"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Steve Condrey
The What's Up portion of the meeting lasts for between 20 and 30 minutes and gives the audience an understanding of the what is best viewed each month. Which constellations are up and what objects can be seen. Chris will give a run-down of the position of each of the planets and which are best viewed each month.

Orange County Astronomers Monthly General Meeting

The OCA has a general meeting held on the second Friday of every month* at Chapman University.

These meetings are free and open to the general public.

The meetings take place in The Irvine Lecture Hall with seating for approximately 250 people.

The Irvine Lecture Hall (located adjacent to the Hashinger Science Center) is near the south east corner of the campus
and the nearest cross street is East Palm Ave and North Center Street.

The meetings start promptly at 7:30 PM.

The basic agenda, with approximate times, is as shown below.

7:00 PM - 7:30 PM Pre-meeting Slide Show

Arrival of audience. This presentation includes recent astronomical photographs taken by OCA members.

7:30 PM - 7:45 PM Club Announcements
Usually presented by the OCA Secretary, Bob Buchheim.

7:45 PM - 8:15 PM "What's Up?"
Usually presented by OCA Member and Space Artist, Chris Butler.

8:15 PM - 9:15 PM Main Talk
Speakers are often from JPL/Caltech and other major educational and astronomical institutions.
The level of the talks are usually appropriate for anyone who has an interest in this hobby.

9:15 PM - 9:30 PM Refreshments
Break Donuts, coffee, soda are available for a small donation.

9:30 PM - 10:00 PM "Ask an Astronomer"
Anyone can stay behind and ask a panel of experts any burning question related to this hobby.