Olympic College News Release - Astronomers from around the world direct their gazes toward Bremerton for annual meeting

Contact: Shawn Devine, Director of Communications and Web Services, 360-475-7822

For Immediate Release

Aug. 12, 2015

BREMERTON – The most ambitious astronomical sky survey ever conducted begins in 2022. From its site on a peak in the Andes, on Cerro Pachón, Chile, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope’s (LSST) deep, wide and fast imaging capabilities will allow it to capture the entire night sky – some 50 terabytes worth of data – every three days.

Every year, astronomers working on the project gather for an “all hands” meeting. This year’s LSST meeting is in downtown Bremerton at the Kitsap Convention Center, August 16-22. More than two hundred of the world’s best astronomers will attend and Bremerton is taking full advantage of this enormous talent.

Olympic College is sponsoring five free public talks at the SEEfilm Bremerton Cinema the evenings of Aug. 16-20. At these talks, astronomers working on the project will discuss what the telescope will discover about the solar system, stars, galaxies and the cosmos. One of the talks (Aug. 18) is entirely in Spanish.

An “Astronomy Slam” is planned for Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the Toro Lounge, Bremerton Bar & Grill, Collective Visions Gallery, Kitsap Historical Museum and the Pacific Planetarium. Each location is hosting five astronomers who will share 12-minute astronomy stories. The Pacific Planetarium is also hosting three astronomers for its monthly Third Friday Astronomy talks on Aug. 21.

Additionally, the Olympic Astronomical Society will have telescopes in downtown Bremerton that week for viewing the Sun. Collective Visions Gallery members have created astronomically-themed art and the Kitsap Historical Museum has an exhibit on “Cosmic Kitsap.” More information is available at the Visit Kitsap Peninsula website.

Olympic College physics professor Bob Abel is an LSST project contributor and is coordinating the events in Bremerton. 

“This remarkable instrument will produce hundreds of exposures for tens of billions of galaxies and stars, and millions of solar system objects during its ten year mission,” Bob says. “In just its first month of operations, LSST will obtain more data than all of the telescopes in history combined. It will revolutionize our understanding of the universe.”

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Top ten in the nation, right here in our hometown. Olympic College was named one of ten finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. More information is available here: Aspen Award.