Our Huntington Lecture Series resumes—digitally!

Each year Carnegie Observatories organizes a series of free public lectures on current astronomical topics. These lectures are given by astronomers from the Observatories as well as other research institutions and are held in the Rothenberg Auditorium at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. This year, our final two lectures of the series were postponed when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Huntington closed its public indoor spaces. We are pleased to announce, however, that these lectures have been rescheduled and will be held remotely via live stream. The lectures will be broadcast from The Huntington's auditorium on September 14, 2020, and October 5, 2020. Please see below for details and links to the live streams.


Dr. John Mulchaey, Division Director of The Carnegie Observatories:

Our Astronomy Lecture Series at The Huntington is an important part of our community outreach efforts and represents one of the main ways we are able to engage with the public on scientific topics. We were very disappointed to have to postpone the second half of our lecture series earlier this year and have been working since then to develop a safe way to bring it back. While we will miss seeing many of you at these lectures, we hope you will still be able to enjoy them from your homes.





Dr. Solange Ramirez, SDSS-V Project Manager at The Carnegie Observatories:

One of the best characteristics of human beings is our capacity to adapt to new circumstances. Giving the lecture in this mode is another example of this feature. I will try to focus on the many people breaking the barrier of online participation, in particular on those who would have not fit in the space of the auditorium.





Dr. Chris Burns, Research Associate at The Carnegie Observatories:

While it’s going to be strange to get on stage and not see all the enthusiastic faces, I’m excited to share the work we’re doing at Carnegie and Las Campanas Observatory. 





Erica Clark, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at The Carnegie Observatories: 

Now in its 18th season, the Carnegie Astronomy Lecture Series has long been the Observatories’ most popular educational offering, and represents an enduring program partnership with The Huntington. The Lecture Series’ ever-growing audience reflects the public’s perennial interest in the explosion of knowledge in astronomy today, and the mysteries of our universe. In these difficult times—and especially when the value of science is sometimes challenged—we’re delighted that technology enables us to share the wonders of Carnegie’s astronomy research and discovery with our audiences far and wide.





Dr. Karen R. Lawrence, President of The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens: 

Our proud connection to Carnegie Observatories runs deep. George Ellery Hale, who founded Mt. Wilson Observatory in 1904, was instrumental in the creation of The Huntington, and served on our first Board of Trustees. Since then, a valuable modern partnership has developed, with our library holding their important rare book and manuscript collection, and of course, our collaboration on this vibrant lecture series. I am delighted that we are able to present these conversations online at this time, so that a wide audience can continue to enjoy the benefits of this partnership.




On September 14, 2020, Dr. Solange V. Ramirez will present “Building Astronomical Instrumentation for the Next Generation.” For the past 20 years, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey — a collaboration among astronomers worldwide — has been working to gather spectral and photometric data covering one third of the sky and analyzing millions of individual objects. The making of every telescope and its instrumentation requires extraordinary creativity, innovation, and expertise, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has pioneered the development of novel equipment designed to address many crucial astronomical questions; the resulting information is providing a rich legacy for future research. In this lecture, Dr. Ramirez will describe how SDSS-V, the latest phase of this massive project, is designing and building the instrumentation that will reveal information about the universe in unprecedented detail.

On May 18, 2020, Dr. Chris Burns will present “Hubble's Troublesome Constant.” Nearly 100 years ago, Carnegie astronomer Edwin Hubble made two truly revolutionary discoveries. First, that our Milky Way was only one of many galaxies in a vast universe; and second, that the farther these galaxies were from us, the faster they appeared to be moving away. The ratio between these speeds and distances, which we now call the Hubble Constant, is a fundamental quantity that sets the scale for the size and age of the entire cosmos. For decades, its precise value has been a source of contention among astronomers. Even today, with the most powerful telescopes at our disposal, tension between different groups remains. Dr. Burns will cover the history of Hubble’s troublesome Constant and how we are trying to pin it down. Watch the live stream by following this link.

Both lectures will be streamed live through Livestream and simultaneously on our Facebook CarnegieAstro page.