News Briefs

By Katherine Anne Robinson

Astronomers discuss Hubble Telescope replacement

Approximately 150 astronomers from across the country will meet today at the University of Chicago to discuss what type of orbiting telescope should probe the universe at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths once the Hubble Space Telescope’s two-decade mission ends in 2010. In the workshop, entitled “Hubble’s Science Legacy: Future Optical-Ultraviolet Astronomy from Space,” astronomers hope to develop a concept for a new space telescope that will complement the Next Generation Space Telescope and the ground-based optical capabilities that already exist.

“For more than a decade the Hubble Telescope has been one of the workhorses of astronomy,” said Michael Turner, a workshop organizer and the Bruce and Diana Rauner Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University. “It has more than exceeded the high expectations that everyone had for it, and it made discoveries from our own backyard to the edge of the universe.”

The Next Generation Telescope, which is scheduled to launch in 2009, will scan space at infrared wavelengths. The Hubble telescope currently studies the universe at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

According to Turner, the design of Hubble’s successor could go in many different directions, such as a wide-vision version of Hubble. “Maybe you want to emphasize the ultraviolet,” Turner said. “Ultraviolet is something you just can’t do from Earth because of the atmosphere. The key thing is to find a concept that uses the advantages of space—clarity of vision, good weather, and 24-hour viewing—and synergies with the optical capabilities that will exist on the ground.”

Richard Kron, a conference orgainizer and professor in astronomy & astrophysics at the University, said that workshop participants will face challenging issues. “You’ve got to think about the synergy between what this thing could do and what all the many other experiments could do,” he said. “It’s a tough problem looking 20 years ahead given that things are so rapidly changing.”

The workshop is the second forward-looking science workshop that the University has hosted this year. Approximately 200 particle physicists attended a linear collider workshop in January to discuss the possible construction of a linear collider a decade from now. If constructed, the linear collider would succeed the Large Hadron Collider, which is currently beeing built at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics.

The Hubble workshop is sponsored by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, NASA, and the European Space Agency.

RSVP kicks off Rape Prevention Month “Live Expressions”

Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) will kick off Rape Prevention Month on Wednesday, April 3 with an evening of activism and expression. The opening event, “Live Expressions,” will run from 7 to 11 p.m. in Ida Noyes Hall’s third-floor theater and will feature spoken word artists, music, and an open mic session.

Throughout the month, RSVP in conjunction with other RSOs will sponsor a series of events to promote rape prevention.

These events include “Sex Signals,” a partly-scripted, partly-improvisational play about dating myths and gender socialization, and a screening of the educational film Still Killing Us Softly followed by a discussion of sexism in advertising. Students can take self defense courses throughout the month and members of RSVP will also exhibit “The Clothesline Project,” a display of shirts designed by female survivors of violence and family and friends of victims of violence.

The month will close with a candlelight vigil on April 29 in remembrance of the lives lost to and the individuals victimized by sexual violence.

Rape Prevention Month is cosponsored by WHPK, the College Programming Office, Organization of Black Students, Queers and Associates, the Feminist Majority, the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities, and the Coordinating Council on Minority Issues.

For more information on this month’s events, contact RSVP at 702-7200 or visit