January 27, 2009

Celebrate 2009- International Year of Astronomy

WNC Observatory Director to Lecture January 27

WHIRLPOOL GALAXY--Messier Object 51, better known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, is one of the most…
WHIRLPOOL GALAXY--Messier Object 51, better known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, is one of the most conspicuous and well-known spiral galaxies. This photo, taken at Western Nevada College's Jack C. Davis Observatory, is January's image. One photo will be released each month to media in northern Nevada.

Robert Collier, director of the WNC Jack C. Davis Observatory, will kick off the International Year of Astronomy in Carson City with a special presentation on Tuesday, Jan. 27. Collier will present "Galileo's Cosmos and Beyond," at the Nevada State Museum, as part of the Frances Humphrey lecture series. Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors; free to museum members and those under age 18.

Galileo is considered the father of modern astronomy and modern science. His use of the telescope to view celestial objects marks the beginning of observational astronomy as we know it today. Galileo's passion for physical observation gave us bigger eyes into the expanding universe.

2009, "The International Year of Astronomy," will highlight the contributions of astronomy to society and marks the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo. The museum and Western Nevada College will join institutions throughout the world in promoting a greater appreciation of the inspirational aspects of science.

As a professor of physics and astronomy, Robert Collier taught at Western for more than 22 years. Originally from Virginia, Collier fell in love with Lake Tahoe and the big blue skies of Nevada. Finding Carson City's high altitude and arid climate perfect for celestial observation, Collier founded the Jack C. Davis Observatory at WNC in 2003, which he continues to direct. The observatory is open to the public on Saturday evenings throughout the year for star gazing.

In his lecture, Collier will investigate the world of Galileo, including the cultural setting of the time, Galileo's interaction with the Catholic Church, and his relationship with other scientists. Collier will begin his presentation by covering the foundations of scientific inquiry, observation, and experimentation, and culminate with a discussion of cutting edge astronomical developments, including space probes and current happenings in the world of astronomy.

For more information, contact Deborah Stevenson, Curator of Education at 775/687-4810 ext. 237 or dstevenson@nevadaculture.org.

Press Release: January 22, 2009

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