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First Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture

The Institute for Astronomy and its education and outreach support group, the Friends of Hawaii Astronomy, launched the Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lectures on February 26 as a community service. Dr. Michael C. Liu, the current Beatrice Watson Parrent Postdoctoral Fellow, presented "Worlds around Other Stars: New Sharp Views from Mauna Kea."

A mixed audience of Friends, students, parents, teachers, scientists, astronomy buffs, and members of the public attended the lecture. Dr. Liu shared some of the latest findings about brown dwarfs and planets around other stars, many of them made with the telescopes on Mauna Kea. He was part of a team that announced the discovery of a brown dwarf orbiting a Sun-like star at the January meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Dr. Liu also described the new technology of adaptive optics, which corrects for the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere, thereby enabling astronomers to make such ground-breaking discoveries.

Addressing questions on stage at the first Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture, Dr. Rolf Kudritzki and Dr. Michael Liu enjoy sharing the latest astronomy research with the local community. Photos by UH Relations.

In his opening remarks, Institute Director Rolf-Peter Kudritzki announced that the Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lectures would be an ongoing series of free lectures offered twice each year by the Institute and the Friends of Hawaii Astronomy. The next Frontiers lecture will take place in the fall.

Dr. Kudritzki has emphasized that it is important to share the latest astronomy research with the broader community. In his remarks, he said, "Astronomy has made, and continues to make, an important contribution to all of the sciences and to what we know about our world and the Universe. As astronomers, it is our duty to offer this information not just to our colleagues, but to all who have an interest in it."

The Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture series will feature outstanding IfA faculty scientists. Nationally and internationally renowned astronomers will also be invited to speak on a recent discovery, fundamental theory, or astronomy research of the past, present, and future. The goals of the program are to increase public awareness of current research at the Institute and internationally, and to enhance astronomy education for IfA students and the community.