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SPIE to celebrate telescope's 400 years at SPIE Optics and Photonics

19 May 2009

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE will commemorate 400 years of telescope technology with special astronomy-related activities, displays, and presentations during the SPIE Optics and Photonics symposium 2-6 August at the San Diego, California, Convention Center. Birth of a star

Declared the "International Year of Astronomy" by the United Nations, 2009 marks the anniversary of the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo. The telescope not only enabled astronomical exploration but triggered a scientific revolution that has profoundly affected our worldview.

Since its founding, SPIE has provided conferences and other forums for astronomers and space exploration researchers, where progress on numerous projects from all over the world have been shared. Many reports have included data coming back from the great ground- and spaced-based telescopes now in place that offer clues to the origins of the universe; other reports cover the extraordinarily large telescopes under construction in various places around that globe that will see first light in the decades ahead.

To commemorate this historic milestone SPIE will offer:

  • A display of antique telescopes and antique astronomical instruments collected by the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona
  • An astro-photos display where visitors may create their own photos with the assistance of professional astro-photographer
  • An opportunity for star-gazing at the Symposium Welcome Reception
  • A Hands-On Optics course, for learning more about optics (and how to teach it to others) through building a 16X refracting telescope.

Plenary presentations will reflect the importance of the telescope to mankind:

  • Peering into the Explosion: Using Stellar Archaeology to Unlock the Mysteries of Supernovae; Tracey Delaney, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
  • 10% of the Telescope: 40 Years of Adaptive Optics; Robert Tyson, The Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Four Hundred Years Through the Eye of the Telescope, and TMT and Segmented Mirror Telescopes; both by Jerry Nelson, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz
  • Detecting and Imaging of Exoplanets; Stuart Shaklan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The event's technical program includes eight conferences on Astronomical Optics and Instrumentation and other related topics, and several related professional development courses. For more information, see spie.org/optics-photonics.xml.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. In 2008, the Society provided more than $1.9 million in support of scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. For more information, visit SPIE.org.

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Media contact:
Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478
publicrelations@spie.org