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Mtg&Talks: “The Quest for Michigan Dark Skies” & “A Visit to LIGO”

October 7, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

At the Warren Astronomical Society’s Cranbrook meetings, we spend the first hour or so of the meeting on club business and observing reports, then have two presentations, one short and one full-length.

Main Talk: “The Quest for Michigan Dark Skies” by Professor Sally Oey

When you step outside at night and look up, do you see the unfettered sparkle of dazzling starlight? If you live in an urbanized area, the answer is likely, “No!”

The exponential growth of artificial light at night not only blocks our view of the universe, but also disrupts the ecosystem, negatively affects human health, and can even cause safety problems. Michigan in particular has unique dark sky resources of national importance.

Sally Oey joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2004, where she is Professor of Astronomy. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1995, and held prize postdoctoral fellowships at Cambridge University, UK, and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. She was also a staff astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. Oey is a recipient of the Annie Jump Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society and a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. She is the lead organizer of the community advocacy group, Michigan Dark Skies.

Short Talk: “Visiting the Large Interferometer Gravity Observatory (LIGO)” by Kevin McLaughlin

LIGO comprises two observatories: one near Baton Rouge, Louisiana and one in Hanford, Washington. LIGO measures changes in the space-time fabric caused by the acceleration of large objects such as orbiting neutron stars and exploding supernova. How LIGO performs these measurements along with recent discoveries will be covered.

Additionally, a recent tour of the facility will be discussed along with suggestions on how to go about getting a tour if you are in the area.

Kevin McLaughlin has been a member of the Warren Astronomical Society since 2017. He worked in both the aerospace and automotive sectors and has multiple patents and publications across a wide range of technical areas including automotive safety, motor control, vehicle steering control, and satellite control and operations. He is presently studying physics at Wayne State University.

After each Cranbrook meeting of the Warren Astronomical Society, a number of Club members go to the Redcoat Tavern (31542 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48073) for a snack and/or a drink and informal chat. Guests are also invited to join us there. We leave from the Cranbrook meeting when it ends around 10 PM and meet at the restaurant a few minutes later. We order food and beverages, eat and sit around and chat, and leave the restaurant by midnight.

Directions: Head south on Woodward. The Redcoat will be on your left, on the east side of Woodward, two blocks north of 13 Mile and just north of Burger King. Make a Michigan left and find parking either in front or the large back lot.

If you would like to present either a short talk (10-15 minutes) or a full-length talk (45-60 minutes) at a future meeting, please email Jonathan Kade at firstvp@warrenastro.org.

The views expressed in presentations are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent, and should not be attributed to, the Warren Astronomical Society.

We accept donations via PayPal (goo.gl/BwYFGp) to help us educate and inspire the general public. We are a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible public charity, and we would be happy to send you a donation receipt for your tax purposes.

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October 7, 2019
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Cranbrook Institute of Science
1-27 Institute Way
Bloomfield Hills, US


Warren Astronomical Society