How often do you get to attend a lecture presented by the Executive Director of a project that produced three Nobel Prize Winners? The answer is next year - if you attend the annual SDAA Banquet.
David Reitze, Professor of physics at the University of Florida, will be our guest speaker. Professor Reitze is currently at Caltech as the Executive Director of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. The 2017 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three scientists working on the LIGO project.
Einstein predicted that massive accelerating objects such as colliding black holes or neutron stars would cause the very fabric of space-time to ripple, sending waves across space. However, he thought they would be so tiny as to be undetectable. According to Professor Reitze - "It was a technological tour de force and proved Einstein right, but that's not why it was important," he said.
"It's important because it opens a whole new window on the universe. We are now going to be able to look at the universe in gravitational-wave emissions, a completely different kind of information carrier."
Most astronomy up to now – from X-rays through visual light to radio waves – has been in the electromagnetic spectrum. Gravitational waves are a new kind of source and its great promise is to unlock some of the deepest secrets of the universe.
"One of the holy grails of this field would be to see the gravitational-wave residue of the Big Bang," Professor Reitze said.
After Professor Reitze’s presentation, we will hold an auction of astronomy related gear donated by our members. We will also raffle off the many great items that have been donated by our corporate sponsors - watch www.sdaa.org for an up-to-date list. Our Master of Ceremonies will be SDAA’s very own Jerry Hilburn.
During the past year, we remodeled our bathrooms and completed the first phase of our electrical upgrade. The Cruzen Observatory is still a work in progress, but we hope to have it in operation by the summer of 2018. The 20’ x 10’ observatory will contain two telescopes, a 14.5” DK Cassegrain and a Takahashi TOA 130, and may be reserved for use by Contributing members who complete a mandatory training program.
The banquet is our major fundraiser, so please join us and consider making a donation to keep SDAA moving forward!
Wishing you clear skies,
SDAA Board of Directors