Fuertes Observatory Lecture Series

Public lectures at the Fuertes Observatory take place at 7:30pm (unless otherwise specified) in Appel Commons Multipurpose Room 303. You may also join via Zoom at the link provided under the lecture. Lectures are usually given several times a semester by Cornell faculty, researchers, and students studying astronomy. Each lecture is followed by an Open House Night. See the list of upcoming lectures below:

Fall 2022 Lecture Series

Upcoming Lectures

Building Instruments For Astrophysics Research

Professor Abby Crites

October 21, 2022

8pm, Appel Commons Multipurpose Room 303

Please note the 8pm start time!

Abigail Crites is an Assistant Professor & Fred Young Faculty Fellow in the Cornell Department of Astronomy. She will discuss the physics, engineering, and software development needed to build instruments that study the evolution of our universe!

Carl Sagan's Birthday Lecture - Alien Earths

Carl Sagan Institute Director Lisa Kaltenegger

November 11, 2022

7:30pm, Appel Commons Multipurpose Room 303

On the Friday nearest November 9th, we'll be celebrating Carl Sagan's birthday with apple pie and a talk by Professor Lisa Kaltenegger, who follows in Sagan's footsteps to search for life on exoplanets. Be sure to visit the observatory afterward for more festivities!

Please register here: https://cglink.me/2ee/r1852033

Irving Porter Church Memorial Telescope 100th Anniversary Lecture

Professor Phil Nicholson

October 14, 2022

7:30pm, Appel Commons Multipurpose Room 303

This Friday we celebrate the 100th birthday of our beloved telescope, Irv! CAS faculty advisor Phil Nicholson will highlight Irv's history, with space-themed cupcakes provided! Walk with us to the observatory afterward for more festivities.

Please register here: https://cglink.me/2ee/r1848411

Past Lectures

Student-Built Spacecraft - Cornell University Space Systems Design Studio

October 7, 2022

7:30pm, Appel Commons Multipurpose Room 303

Water propellant and holograms in space? Cornell students involved in Space Systems Design Studio missions will give lectures about the  spacecraft they're building!

Heating Leftovers: Understanding Planet Formation From the Stuff Left Behind

Dr. Tajana Schneiderman

September 30, 2022

7pm, Appel Commons Multipurpose Room 303

Dr. Schneiderman is a Visiting Scientist in the Cornell Department of Astronomy. Her talk examines planetary debris—gas and dust—and how it helps reveal a planet's history!

Tension in the Cosmos: How Fast is the Universe Expanding Today?

Professor Michael Niemack, Department of Physics, Cornell University

April 2nd, 2021

Recent measurements of the cosmic microwave background (the remnant light from the Big Bang) suggest the Universe is expanding slower than measurements of supernova and other more “local” sources. These differing measurements of the Hubble expansion constant could indicate that a more complex model is needed to describe our Universe or could be due to a problem with one or more of the measurements themselves. We will discuss our current dark energy and dark matter dominated cosmological model as well as recent measurements from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope and other observatories that have contributed to this tension in our cosmological model. We will also briefly describe next generation observatories including the CCAT Observatory and Simons Observatory that will help address these questions in the future.

Click on the video to see the recorded lecture!

Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds

Postdoctoral Fellow Jayesh Goyal, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University

March 26th, 2021

For centuries, humans have wondered about the existence of planets around stars, other than our own Sun. However, for the first time in human history we have the capability not just to find, but also to characterize these far away worlds, termed as “Exoplanets". In this talk Dr. Goyal will show the astonishing variety of exoplanets that have been discovered and techniques used to find them. He will discuss how we study exoplanet atmospheres using the combination of remote sensing observations, 1D and 3D atmospheric models, retrieval techniques and thereby characterize them. Dr. Goyal will also briefly discuss how modeling the atmospheres of exoplanets from first principles, aid in-depth understanding of different processes, in the past as well as present Earth.  Finally, he will show our approach to answer one of the most fundamental questions of humanity, Are we alone in this Universe?

Click on the video to see the recorded lecture!

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Cornell Reaches New Heights: Building a Telescope at 18,400 Feet

Professor Martha Haynes, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University

December 11th, 2020

Cornell University is the major partner in an international collaboration establishing the CCAT Observatory at 5600 meters (18,400 feet) elevation on Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama region of northern Chile that will host the Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST), named for Fred M. Young ’64, M.Engr. ’66, MBA ’66. The FYST will be a 6-meter diameter telescope designed to operate at submillimeter to millimeter wavelengths and capable of mapping the sky very rapidly and efficiently. This talk will give an overview of the observatory, the telescope and the forefront science to be done with it.

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The New Science of Gravitational Wave Astronomy

Professor Sean McWilliams, Department of Physics and Astronomy, West Virginia University

December 4th, 2020

Prof. McWilliams will discuss the recent history of the birth of this new field of observational astronomy that leverages gravitational waves, which are an extraordinary prediction of Einstein’s theory that we are now regularly observing for the first time. He will highlight some of the most exciting discoveries that this field has made possible, and will describe our plans and hopes for the future of the field.

(Image Credit: NASA)

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Pulsars: Timekeepers of the Cosmos

Professor Maura McLaughlin, Department of Physics and Astronomy, West Virginia University

November 20th, 2020

(Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

Collisions of Black Holes and Neutron Stars

Professor Zach Etienne, Department of Physics and Astronomy, West Virginia University

October 16th, 2020

Click on the video to see the recorded lecture!

A Space-Based Physics Lab: Probing Neutron Star Physics & Gravitational Waves with Millisecond Pulsar Timing

Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow Thankful Cromartie, Cornell University

October 9th, 2020

Click on the video to see the recorded lecture!

How Do Galaxies Get Their Gas?

Professor D.J. Pisano, Department of Physics and Astronomy, West Virginia University

October 2nd, 2020

Click on the video to see the recorded lecture!

Fast Radio Bursts: An Evolving Cosmic Mystery

Professor Duncan Lorimer, Department of Physics and Astronomy, West Virginia University

September 18th, 2020

Fast Radio Bursts are millisecond-duration pulses of unknown origin that were discovered by an undergraduate student at West Virginia University in 2007. A decade on, with over 100 further bursts currently known, fast radio bursts remain enigmatic sources which parallel the early days of gamma-ray burst astronomy in the early 1970s. I will tell the story of their discovery, summarize what we know about them so far, describe the science opportunities these bursts present, and make predictions for what we might learn in the next decade.

Click on the video to see the recorded lecture!