The diversity of modern day astronomy research is astonishing. Fueled by exponential advancements in technology—our understanding of everything from the Sun, planets and the Big Bang—to the fundamental nature of space itself is growing rapidly. It is likely that by the turn of this century we will have substantially rewritten our understanding of the universe and our place in it. Learn about future astronomical discoveries at ‘Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk with Dr. Doug Simons, Director at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) on Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m.
Instead of highlighting past research, Dr. Simons will focus on anticipated future discoveries, many linked to observations from Maunakea. Dr. Simons will explain how astronomy is both driven and limited by technology. We can utilize what we know about technology now to gain insight into anticipated discoveries in the future. By predicting the availability of these game-changing technologies that will exist in the future, it gives us the ability to dive deeper into our existence than we ever thought possible. Although forecasting future discoveries in detail can be fraught with uncertainties, important developments over the next decade in astronomy are visibly on the horizon. Even within the next decade, major advancements in understanding dark matter and energy, black holes, the first stars in the universe, whether or not we live in a multiverse, whether life exists beyond Earth, or even “new physics”, are all speeding our way.
“Context is crucial for our species. Knowing how we ‘fit’ into a bigger picture has been a driving characteristic of humanity for millennia,” says Dr. Simons. “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 the 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 2006-2011. 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 an avid supporter of education and community outreach and has helped develop numerous programs including EnVision Maunakea, Maunakea Fund and Maunakea Scholars.
Hosted by Planetarium Technician Emily Peavy, ‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible during this time of year. Maunakea Skies planetarium 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.