Giant Telescopes Focus of NUI Galway Lecture

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The next in a series of public talks organised by NUI Galway s Centre of Astronomy will explore the topic of Giant Telescopes. The free event takes places at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 9 December, in the McMunn Lecture Theatre, Arts & Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, presented by NUI Galway?s Dr Alexander Goncharov, will focus on telescopes such as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Currently under construction, the E-ELT will provide European astronomers with the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world. With a mirror diameter of 42 meters, the E-ELT will be more than one hundred times more sensitive than the present-day largest optical telescopes. Ireland has a strong tradition in astronomy with one of the largest telescopes in the world being built in Co. Offaly in 1845. Known as ?The Leviathan of Parsonstown?, it was the largest telescope of its time and was built by the third Earl of Rosse, William Parsons. Speaking about the lecture, Dr Goncharov said: ?The high interest of astronomers in further development of new, powerful telescopes is shared by a large part of the general public. The lecture will give special emphasis to astronomical imaging with adaptive optics, a new technique that helps to overcome the limiting effects of the earth s turbulent atmosphere. Future giant telescopes will initiate and support a new era in observational astronomy?. The lecture will also cover observing the night sky with a naked eye, amateur telescopes and professional optical telescopes. Essential scientific challenges including the search for earth-like planets will also be discussed. The series of public talks co-incides with the International Year of Astronomy which takes place throughout 2009. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php.
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