By Una Yarsky

Physicist Mark Cheung discusses the Mysteries of the Sun; Courtesy of Author

While the Air and Space Museum undergoes construction, they continue to provide free programs for the public to enjoy and learn. One such program is the Exploring Space Lecture Series. In this series, the museum invites a variety of different specialists to come and explore the universe’s greatest mysteries. The series consists of four lectures that explain and challenge the scientific community’s questions about the cosmos. 

Three more lectures will take place over the following three months. The next lecture, “More Things in the Heavens: Infrared Exploration with the Spitzer Space Telescope,” presented by Michael Werner, a Spitzer Space Telescope project scientist, takes place on March 18.

On April 24, “When Did the Universe Begin?” presented by Wendy Freedman, John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 

And finally, “Seeing the Unseeable: Capturing an Image of a Black Hole,” presented by Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration – held on May 14. 

The most recent lecture, “The Sun in a New Light,” was presented by Mark Cheung, a physicist at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, on Feb. 11. The series is supported by the Aerojet Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance. 

Cheung presented mesmerizing new photos of the sun while explaining its significance and beauty. He described the sun’s newly discovered electromagnetic wavelengths, its violent and incredible solar storms, and its relationship with the earth. The lecture included spectacular graphics and state of the art photographs of our closest but still mysterious star. The audience listened and had the opportunity to ask questions of their own at the end of the lecture. This experience is both educational and completely free, only requiring a ticket to attend. 

To find out more about this fascinating series, visit the Air and Space Museum website at airandspace.si.edu/.

Editor’s note: The following lectures have been postponed until further notice, “More Things in the Heavens: Infrared Exploration with the Spitzer Space Telescope” and “Seeing the Unseeable: Capturing an Image of a Black Hole.” More information can be found at airandspace.si.edu/covid-19-message

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