Monday, March 31, 2014

Talk on the Work of and Crisis at Lick Observatory Now on YouTube

As you may have heard, the Lick Observatory (on whose Council I am now proud to serve) is being threatened by budget cuts at the University of California. Recently, Dr. Alex Filippenko (who was named the best professor at Berkeley a record nine times, and is a wonderful speaker) gave a very exciting talk on: "Exploding Stars, New Planets, Black Holes, and the Crisis at Lick Observatory". The video is now available on YouTube at

Lick Observatory, the first mountain-top telescope facility in the world, was founded in 1888, but continues to be a vibrant research facility and an important site for student and public education. Dr. Filippenko, who chairs the Lick Observatory Council, discusses some of the most exciting research being pursued at Lick, but also explains the funding crisis, what is being done by local citizens, and how you can help.

Today's image is a snapshot I took at Lick, showing Dr. Filippenko (left) with noted venture capitalist Jim Katzman, standing in front of the Katzman Automated Imaging Telescope. It was with the use of this telescope that astronomers discovered a number of special exploding stars in other galaxies that could be used as distance markers for the universe. That work led to the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the cosmos and won the two groups involved the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. We can't let them shut this facility down, folks!


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