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Looking deeper into space

10 Jun 2010

New information from frontiers of space and related data-gathering technology are the focus of SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation.

The newest astronomical instruments, systems, and technologies are yielding information not previously available: data from objects formed during the birth of the universe, the first images of exoplanets since their existence was predicted 15 years ago, and surveys of the changeable sky that detect asteroids and other moving objects.

Researchers and developers at the forefront of these new technologies will meet at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation symposium later this month at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, from 27 June to 2 July. SPIE expects more than 2000 participants to attend.

The event attracts astronomy experts from around the world, including two winners of this year's Kavli Prize. Jerry Nelson, founding director of the Center for Adaptive Optics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a scientist at the Keck Observatory, will give the all-conference banquet keynote talk. Roger Angel, founder and director of the University of Arizona Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, will present on the wide-field coronagraph space telescope designed for general astrophysics and exoplanet observations.

Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation provides the international community with a forum for co-ordinating current projects and managing the challenge of ensuring future technical advancement in a cost-constrained environment, note symposium chairs Masanori Iye, Japan National Astronomical Observatory, and Douglas Simons, Gemini Observatory.

Event highlights include 11 plenary talks, several topical panel discussions, more than 60 companies in a three-day exhibition, poster and welcome receptions, and a student lunch with experts.

Several presentations will update the audience on projects, including the laser guide star at the Palomar Observatory. Attendees may join one of two tours offered by Palomar Observatory staff during the conference week.

Plenary speakers include:

  • Tony Tyson, University of California, Davis, on the optical synoptic telescope;
  • Ewine van Dishoeck, Leiden Observatory and Max Planck Institute für Extraterrestrische Physik, on results from the ALMA project (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array);
  • Göran Pilbratt, European Space Agency, on early results from the Herschel Space Observatory;
  • Alfred McEwen, Lunar and Plenary Laboratory, University of Arizona, on high-resolution imaging of extraterrestrial planetary surfaces;
  • Steven Ritz, Fermi's Large Area Telescope and University of California, Santa Cruz, on gamma-ray satellite GLAST;
  • Yasushi Suto, University of Tokyo, on astronomical observations of dark sky, dark matter and dark energy;
  • Roberto Gilmozzi, European Southern Observatory, on goals for the second-light stage of a number of the Extremely Large Telescopes;
  • Mark McCaughrean, European Space Agency/ESTEC, on the ESA space science and robotic exploration programme;
  • Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on transiting exoplanets: from ground-based origins to Kepler discoveries and beyond;
  • Saku Tsuneta, Hinode Science Center, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, on the new Hinode solar observatory in space;
  • Stephen Murray, Johns Hopkins University and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on X-ray astronomy in the era of Chandra and XMM-Newton, and a look to the future.

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