A Billion Suns
A Billion Suns:
The Lives and Deaths of the Stars
presented by Dr. Michelle Thaller
JPL Astronomer, Space Infrared Telescope Facility
the 2001 schedule and archived webcasts, please contact
Audio Visual Services at 818.354.6170.
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Thursday, October 17
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Friday, October 18
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
1570 East Colorado Blvd.
Both lectures begin at 7 p.m.
Admission is free. Seating is limited.
For more information, call (818) 354-0112.
Looking up into a cold, dark night sky, it’s easy to understand how the heavens were once thought to be eternal, unchanging, and hopelessly remote from the daily lives of mere humans. But our image of an unchanging universe has turned out to be an illusion. New stars are emerging from giant clouds of dust and gas in our galaxy. Other stars are dying, swallowing their planetary systems or exploding so violently that they rip holes in space and time. Still others are unraveling, spreading their material into vast, lovely nebulae that light up the darkness of deep space.
Even more mysterious are the stellar corpses left over after death, from superdense spinning neutron stars to the ultimate bottomless pits — black holes. Possibly the most beautiful and poignant part
of the whole story is just how intimately wrapped up in the lives and deaths of the stars we humans are. Far from being remote and separate from us, dying stars were responsible for the formation of
our solar system, Earth, and the chemicals in our bodies. The term “stardust” is no longer meant to be poetic or metaphorical; it is what we truly are.