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SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation to explore frontiers for next decade of celestial observation

07 June 2010

SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- 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 in San Diego. Dates are 27 June through 2 July, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center. SPIE expects more than 2,000 participants to attend. More than 70 companies will participate in a sold-out exhibition, the largest ever for the event.

The event attracts astronomy experts from around the world, including two winners of this year's Kavli Prize. SPIE Fellow Jerry Nelson, founding director of the Center for Adaptive Optics at the Univ. 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 Univ. of Arizona Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, is author of a paper on the wide-field coronagraph space telescope designed for general astrophysics and exoplanet observations. (Read more about the prize in the SPIE Newsroom.)

Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation also provides the international community with a forum for coordinating current projects and managing the challenge of ensuring future technical advancement in a cost-constrained environment, noted Symposium Chairs Masanori Iye, Japan National Astronomical Observatory, and Douglas Simons, Gemini Observatory.

Event highlights include 11 plenary talks, several topical panel discussions, the 3-day exhibition, poster and welcome receptions, and a student lunch with experts.

Plenary speakers include:

  • Tony Tyson, Univ. of California, Davis, on the optical synoptic survey telescope, providing new sky surveys yielding data that have impacted nearly every field of astronomy as well as some fundamental physics.
  • Ewine van Dishoeck, Leiden Observatory and Max Planck Institute für Extraterrestrische Physik, on results from the ALMA project (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), expected to influence virtually all topics in astronomy through detection of dusty galaxies throughout the universe and the ability to zoom into the terrestrial planet-forming zones of disks around young stars.
  • Göran Pilbratt, European Space Agency, on early results from the Herschel Space Observatory, just completing its first year in operation as the first large-aperture space infrared observatory, with objectives including star and galaxy formation and evolution, and the physics, dynamics, and chemistry of the interstellar medium and its molecular clouds -- the wombs of the stars and planets.
  • Alfred McEwen, Lunar and Plenary Lab., Univ. of Arizona, on high-resolution imaging of extraterrestrial planetary surfaces, in particular the narrow-angle camera (NAC) of the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) of Cassini at Saturn, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the NAC of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC).
  • Steven Ritz, Fermi's Large Area Telescope and Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, on Gamma ray satellite GLAST.
  • Yasushi Suto, Univ. of Tokyo, on astronomical observations of dark sky, dark matter, and dark energy aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature of dark energy.
  • Roberto Gilmozzi, European Southern Observatory, on goals for the second-light stage of a number of the Extremely Large Telescopes, ranging from the quest for Earth-like exoplanets to the detailed study of the first objects in the Universe.
  • Mark McCaughrean, European Space Agency/ESTEC, on the ESA space science and robotic exploration program.
  • 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 Univ. and Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics, on X-ray astronomy in the era of Chandra and XMM-Newton, and a look to the future.

Video: New Vistas in Adaptive OpticsSeveral presentations will update projects including the laser guide star at the Palomar Observatory, featured in a recent SPIE Newsroom video. Attendees may join one of two tours offered by Palomar Observatory staff during the conference week.

Symposium cochairs are Kathy Flanagan, Space Telescope Science Institute, and Mark Casali, European Southern Observatory.

Conference proceedings papers will be published individually in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as approved after the meeting, and also in collected print and digital volumes and collections.

SPIE , the international society for optics and photonics, was 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, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. In Europe, SPIE supports the optics and photonics community by acting as an advocate and liaison to political and industry associations.

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