Astronomy

CFH Telescope Director to Talk Future of Astronomy at ‘Imiloa

March 11, 2018, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated March 9, 1:30 PM
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The public is invited to learn about the future of anticipated astronomical discoveries with Dr. Doug Simons, director of the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s next Maunakea Skies talk on Friday, Mar. 16, at 7 p.m.

Fueled by accelerating developments in technology, modern astronomy is expanding human knowledge of the universe at an exponential speed, according to a news release by ‘Imiloa. It is likely that by the end of this century, humans may have an entirely new understanding of the vast universe they inhabit.

In his talk, Dr. Simons will focus on anticipated future discoveries—many linked to observations from Maunakea—and explain how astronomy is both driven and limited by technology. Though forecasting future discoveries is not a foolproof science, important developments over the next decade in astronomy are visibly on the horizon. These include major advancements including our understanding of dark matter and energy, black holes, the first stars in the universe, the existence of a multiverse and life beyond Earth.

“Context is crucial for our species,” said Dr. Simons. “Knowing how we ‘fit’ into a bigger picture has been a driving characteristic of humanity for millennia. Astronomy provides us with many of the pieces needed to fill in that bigger picture. The discoveries lining up along the road ahead in astronomy are simply stunning.”

Dr. Simons received his Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in 1985 and received his Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i in 1990. Before working as a staff astronomer at CFHT for four years, he worked at the Gemini 8 Meter Telescope Project as a Systems Scientist. He then became the Associate Director for Development at Gemini’s instrumentation program for many years before becoming the Gemini Observatory Director from 2006 to 2011. He returned to CFHT in 2012 where he now serves as Executive Director. Dr. Simons serves on the Mauna Kea Management Board, the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Board and the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training Board. He is a strong supporter of education and community outreach and has helped develop numerous programs including EnVision Maunakea, Maunakea Fund and Maunakea Scholars.

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Simons’ presentation will be held at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo as part of the Center’s monthly Maunakea Skies talk which includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i. Presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. General admission tickets are $10, $8 for ‘Imiloa members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or by phone at (808) 932-8901.

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