Lecture: 19 June “… the Infrared Sky Re-Imagined” by Kimberly Ennico Smith, PhD, NASA

Once monthly, the SFAA hosts distinguished guest speakers who are leaders in the fields of astronomy, physics and related disciplines. The speakers present to the public and SFAA members the latest developments from cutting-edge scientific programs. The lectures are free.  Non-members should obtain a ticket from Eventbrite here.

Join us for informal coffee and light snacks beginning at 7:00 PM followed by the General Meeting, announcements and lecture at 7:45 PM.

19 June 2019, Wednesday, 7:45 PM, Randall Museum Theater

“Seeing Our Universe in New Ways – the Infrared Sky Re-Imagined”


Kimberly Ennico Smith, PhD, Research Scientist, NASA Ames

Studies of our universe through multi-wavelength “eyes”, enabled by placing telescopes on mountain tops, on airplanes, on balloons, to rockets and satellites in orbit, has revealed a beautiful, mystifying, dynamic, and rather extraordinary place.

Our Earth’s atmosphere no longer became a limiting filter to our observing the light emitted, absorbed, and reflected from the universe in which we live.

Infrared light, in particular, by penetrating deep into dark clouds allows us to capture the birth of stars. Through sensing colder temperatures, we use infrared light to measure the re-emission of the dust left behind by violent supernovae stellar deaths. The infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum is also home to a rich set of atomic, ionic, and molecular transitions, allowing for in-depth studies of the makeup of and environments of the gas and dust from which stars and planets form.

This talk takes us on a local tour of our Milky Way and highlights recent observations by our many “infrared eyes on the sky.”

Will these new observations get us closer to learning how our universe works and where we come from?

Brief Bio

Dr. Kimberly Ennico Smith is a NASA research astrophysicist at Ames Research Center. She is multidisciplinary in her approach to space instruments, telescopes, and mission concepts. She has designed and built infrared airborne and space telescope cameras and spectrometers, tested detectors in laboratories and particle accelerators, designed low-cost suborbital instruments and built lunar payloads. Most recently, she served as deputy Project Scientist leading the calibration of the New Horizons Pluto fly-by mission and Project Scientist for the flying infrared observatory SOFIA.


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