MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Jane Platt (818) 354-0880
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2001
FREE LECTURES SHOW MORE THAN THE EYES CAN SEE
The benefits of using infrared telescopes to unveil
celestial objects not visible to the human eye will be
demonstrated in a pair of free, public lectures to be held at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday, April 19, and at
Pasadena City College on Friday, April 20.
The lectures, entitled "Infrared Astronomy: More Than the
Eyes Can See," begin at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come,
first-served basis. The lecture will also be Webcast on
Thurs., April 19, at 7 p.m. Pacific time.
The featured speaker is Dr. Michelle Thaller, a research
scientist at the California Institute of Technology and JPL
who divides her time between astronomical research and public
education. Thaller's lecture will include a hands-on
demonstration of an infrared camera.
Infrared cameras are used here on Earth by firefighters
looking for people trapped in smoky rooms, and now astronomers
are using infrared telescopes to penetrate the vast dust
clouds that drift between the stars and block our view of the
For her research, Thaller has used both ground and
space-based telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope
and Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz. She is
currently working to support NASA's Space Infrared Telescope
Facility (SIRTF), scheduled to launch in July 2002. SIRTF
will observe planetary construction zones around other stars
and will look back to the time when galaxies were just
starting to form and the first stars had not yet "turned on."
Thaller devotes more than half her time to public
education and outreach as a representative for SIRTF and other
Origins missions at JPL. Michelle frequently visits Los
Angeles Unified School District classrooms and conducts
regular teacher workshops in the L.A. metropolitan area.
The lecture at JPL, located at 4800 Oak Grove Dr.,
Pasadena, near the Oak Grove Dr. exit of the 210 (Foothill)
Freeway, will be held in the von Karman Auditorium. The Friday
lecture will be held in Pasadena City College's Forum at 1570
E. Colorado Blvd.
For more information, call (818) 354-5011. Information
on the von Karman lecture and Webcast is available at
JPL, a NASA center, is a division of Caltech.