Journey through the Universe
is a week long public outreach event hosted by Gemini Observatory in Hilo, HI, where scientists visit
∼3000 classrooms! For several years, members of the Galactic Center Group have participated in this very successful program which promotes sustained education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Breann Sitarski participated in this year's program. Breann visited seven different elementary school classrooms where she demonstrated how to make a model of a comet using household materials. Also after showing a movie of Comet Ison , she worked with students by helping them think about whether the comet survived its closest approach to the Sun, based on what they saw. The observation-based learning teaches the students how to think critically, helping them become little scientists.
All Space Considered is a monthly event at Griffith Observatory, invited Dr. Gunther Witzel as a featured speaker in December 2014.
He shared the latest news on the mysterious object, G2, that has been the focus of much attention since its discovery in 2011. The Galactic Center Group observed G2 using Keck Telescopes in summer of 2014; the observation showed that G2 survived its closest encounter with the Galactic supermassive black hole, strongly suggesting that it was most likely a pair of binary stars that had been orbiting the black hole in tandem and merged together into an extremely large star, shrouded in gas and dust. If G2 were a simple ga cloud, it would not have survived the black hole encounter.
STEM program at Mirman School for highly gifted children. This is a biennial program in which more than 30 speakers in various fields in science, technology, engineering and math gave talks to students (ages 5-14).
In March this year Dr. Shoko Sakai of the Galactic Center Group participated in the Women in STEAM program. Dr. Sakai's talk, titled How Do We See a Black Hole? attracted many middle school students who asked questions continuously on topics from curved space to what happens if two black holes collided into each other.
Exploring Your Universe is an inter-departmental public outreach fair by the
physical science departments event that has been held in November the past four years.
The 2014 Exploring Your Universe was co-hosted and coordinated by
the Galactic Center's Graduate Student
Breann Sitarski. Over 5,500 members of the local LA community and surrounding area attended the latest event.
The Galactic Center Group participated in the Exploring Your Universe for the first time in 2014;
it was also one of the event sponsors.
The Gravity Demonstration especially attracted a lot of curious minds. Professor Larkin
demonstrated with marbles how gravity due to a black hole affects other objects.
Professor James Larkin is demostrating how gravity works. Credit: iPLEX, UCLA © 2015
Exploring Your Universe day. Credit: iPLEX, UCLA © 2014
Educational Material for Public Use
Galactic Center Slide Show
A Powerpoint presentation by Jessica Lu, originally written for the
UCLA Planetarium. The show is for viewers of all ages and
is a pictoral journey into the center of our galaxy. It also
explores the nature of the supermassive black hole. Notes
explaining each slide acccompany the presentation are included,
making it very useful for classroom/educational settings --
Best viewed in Slide Show mode
3D Interactive Animation of the stars orbiting the supermassive
black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Our collaboration with
the Cosmus group is an effort to make current science available
to the public for classroom use or for planetarium
and museum settings.