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IAP 2005 Activity

Frontiers of Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Space Science and Technology
Dr. Ralf Heilmann
No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: None

Check frequently for updates of this series!

A series of lectures and lab tours aimed at freshmen non-physics majors highlighting the latest discoveries about the nature of our universe and the potential for dramatic advances in the coming decade. Tour the MIT labs (advance sign up) where the next generation of cutting-edge telescopes and instruments are being developed, and get a sneak preview of tomorrow's headlines in astronomy, astrophysics, and space science and technology.
Web: http://space.mit.edu/IAP/2005/activities.html
Contact: Dr. Ralf Heilmann, 37-421, 253-8764, ralf@space.mit.edu
Sponsor: Center for Space Research

Mars Gravity Biosatellite
Dr. Paul Wooster
The Mars Gravity Biosatellite program is an effort to design, build, launch, and recover a low-earth orbiting satellite containing a payload of 15 mice to study the effects of Martian gravity on mammals in preparation for a human mission to Mars.
Thu Jan 6, 02-02:30pm, 37-252

MIT's Man Vehicle Laboratory
Philip Ferguson
MVL's goal is to define physiological and cognitive limitations of pilots and passengers of air- and spacecraft, and to optimize human-vehicle system effectiveness and safety. We will cover projects such as astronaut motor control adaptation, artificial gravity, virtual reality training, astronaut energetic studies and a new spacesuit design.
Thu Jan 6, 02:30-03:00pm, 37-252

Tour of the Man Vehicle Laboratory
Philip Ferguson
The lab tour will showcase the main research areas being pursued in the MVL, such as a hydraulic robot, new spaceflight experiments on the ISS, artificial gravity on our short-arm centrifuge, virtual reality training technology, and more.

Enrollment limit: 24 persons; advance sign-up required (contact ralf@space.mit.edu)
Thu Jan 6, 03pm-03:45am, 37-252

The History of the Universe in 30 Minutes
Prof. Max Tegmark
Our entire observable universe is inside a sphere of radius 13.3 billion light-years, with us at the center. Space continues outside the sphere, but an opaque glowing wall of hydrogen plasma hides it from our view. Check href="http://space.mit.edu/IAP/2005/activities.html">here for details.
Tue Jan 11, 02-02:30pm, 37-252

Taking a Picture of an Extra-Solar Planet
Dr. Benjamin Lane
The study of extrasolar planets is one of the most exciting research endeavors of modern astrophysics. While the list of known planets continues to grow, no direct image of any extrasolar planet has been obtained to date. I will discuss a number of recent developments in this exciting area.
Tue Jan 11, 02:30-03:00pm, 37-252

New Visions of the Center of Our Galaxy
Dr. Frederick Baganoff
A new generation of instruments have revealed the core of the Milky Way in spectacular detail, including strong evidence for the existence of a supermassive black hole. Flares just outside the black hole's event horizon are observed across the electromagnetic spectrum to measure the physical properties of the plasma on which the black hole feeds.
Thu Jan 13, 02-02:30pm, 37-252

Mapping Hydrogen Structures in the Young Universe
Prof. Jaqueline Hewitt
The characteristic hydrogen radio line emitted in the young universe is redshifted to frequencies below 200 MHz when we observe it today. A key project of the new Mileura Widefield Array radio telescope is to use the redshifted hydrogen line to map the first structures and to detect the ionizing effects of the first luminous objects.
Thu Jan 13, 02:30-03:00pm, 37-252

Tour of the Operations Control Center for the Chandra X-ray Observatory
Dr. Irene Porro
The Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA's Great Observatories, is controlled a few blocks from MIT main campus. Tour participants will be introduced to X-ray astronomy and visit the control center where the observatory science and mission operations are performed.

Limited to 25 participants
- advance signup required (contact ralf@space.mit.edu)
Thu Jan 13, 03:15-04:15pm, 37-252

Science in the Woods: Tour of MIT's Haystack Observatory
Dr. Preethi Pratap
MIT's Haystack Observatory is an interdisciplinary research center engaged in radio astronomy, geodesy, atmospheric sciences, and radar applications.
Talks will be followed by a tour of the research facilities, including the 37-m (115 ft) diameter radio telescope.

Advance signup required (contact ralf@space.mit.edu)
- Limited to 20 participants
Tue Jan 18, 12:15-05:30pm, Bus to Haystack Obs.

High Energy Processes in Star Formation
Dr. Norbert Schulz
Young stars are strong X-ray emitters exceeding emissions from the Sun by many orders of magnitude. High precision X-ray spectral diagnostics increasingly shape a novel understanding of high energy processes which take place during the early phases of stellar evolution with implications towards the origins of our own solar system.
Thu Jan 20, 02-02:30pm, 37-252

How to Build a Spectroscopy X-Ray Telescope
Dr. Ralf Heilmann
Telescopes for x-ray astronomy are subject to a unique set of requirements different from optical or radio telescopes due to the nature of x-rays. This talk will cover how these constraints are attacked in the Space Nanotechnology Lab at MIT's Center for Space Research.
Thu Jan 20, 02:30-03:00pm, 37-252

Tour of the Space Nanotechnology Laboratory
Dr. Ralf Heilmann
During the tour of the SNL's three clean rooms visitors will see sophisticated optical and mechanical systems (such as the Nanoruler) that support the development of thin-foil x-ray optics and gratings.

Enroll. limit: 6 persons; advance sign-up required (email ralf@space.mit.edu)
Thu Jan 20, 03:15-04:00pm, 37-252

Our Solar System as an Astrophysical Laboratory
Dr. Justin Kasper
Many high energy astrophysical processes such as particle acceleration, magnetohydrodynamic shock waves, and magnetic
reconnection cannot easily be recreated in a laboratory on Earth. Instead we learn from studying these processes in the solar system with data from instruments on spacecraft such as Voyager, Wind, Trace, and Solar Probe.
Tue Jan 25, 02-02:30pm, 37-252

Hunting for the Brightest Explosions in the Universe
Dr. Geoffrey Crew
For the last four years, the MIT-built High Energy Transient Explorer satellite (HETE) has been detecting and localizing gamma-ray bursts (GRBs): massive explosions thought to signify the births of black holes. We will describe the HETE satellite and how it has been used to shed light on "dark GRBs", the GRB-supernova connection, and X-ray flashes.
Tue Jan 25, 02:30-03:00pm, 37-252

Tour of the Operations Control Center for the High Energy Transient Explorer
Dr. Geoffrey Crew
This tour will showcase the HETE satellite and operations center. The HETE satellite is unique because it was built in and operated from a university, rather than a NASA center. We will review the construction of the satellite and its science instrument complement, its launch, and flight operations from MIT. Adv. sign-up req.(ralf@space.mit.edu)
Tue Jan 25, 03-03:45pm, 37-252

Gravitational Lensing
Prof. Paul Schechter
Thu Jan 27, 02-02:30pm, 37-252

Detecting Gravitational Waves
Dr. David Ottaway
Gravitational waves from astrophysical systems cause tiny changes in the distance between massive objects, or "test particles". We can detect these waves by measuring displacements of 10^-18 m rms (1/1000 of an atomic nucleus!). I will describe how we can make such precise measurements.
Thu Jan 27, 02:30-03:00pm, 37-252

Tour of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Lab
Dr. David Ottaway
Visitors will be taken on a tour of the LIGO prototyping facilities at MIT. These include a full-scale prototype of the LIGO vacuum chambers, laser, isolation and suspension systems, and laboratories for thermal and optical noise measurements.

Limited to 16 participants, advance signup required (contact ralf@space.mit.edu).
Thu Jan 27, 03:15-04:15pm, 37-252
Latest update: 06-Jan-2005

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Last update: 30 September 2004