From the Board of Visitors Executive Committee
Board of Visitors Members Host Invited to JWST event in Austin, March 8-10
Board of Visitors members are invited to an extraordinary weekend of free astronomy events in Austin, March 8-10.
The companies and federal agencies building the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are bringing a full-scale model of the telescope to Austin as part of the South by Southwest Interactive festival, from Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 10. The telescope model — the length of a tennis court and four stories tall — will stand on the lawn between the Long Center and the Palmer Events Center on the shore of Lady Bird Lake, just south of downtown Austin.
For the three days and nights of the exhibit, Northrop Grumman, Ball Aerospace, NASA, Microsoft, and the Space Telescope Science Institute will also host events at an adjacent tent, at which interactive explorations and online science classes, excellent science talks, displays, and start parties will be available from 10 a.m. until late in the evening.
Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory will play an active role in the weekend’s events. Faculty member Dr. Steven Finkelstein will present a talk entitled “NASA’s Webb Telescope in Texas” at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and Drs. Karl Gebhardt and Sarah Tuttle will join NASA scientists Drs. Jeff Hanley and Mary Cerimeli in presenting that day’s keynote talk, starting at 7:00 p.m. (and repeating on other days).
Other highlights will include talks by Nobel Laureate John Mather, by NASA Administrators John Grunsfeld (astronaut) and Amber Straughn (astrophyicst), by STScI scientist Jason Kalirai, along with events featuring Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope, “Viz Wall,” and Kinect system showcase. On each of the three evenings, according to plans, astronomers from the Austin Astronomical Society and other area groups will host star parties outside the exhibition tent.
Please see the attached list of events for the weekend (which is subject to change); it includes a map of the Long Center/Palmer Events Center area.
All the JWST-related events are free and open to the public.
In addition, we are delighted to add that Northrop Grumman will be providing underwriting for several national StarDate radio broadcasts during the month of March, helping support McDonald Observatory's K-12 education programs.
If you plan to attend any of the events of the weekend, please let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Joel W. Barna]