Out of this World: Astronomy Series 2011

Photo of a night skyline and the text 2011 Astronomy Series

Western Illinois University Libraries and the Physics Department are pleased to announce the upcoming, "Out of this World" Astronomy Series 2011, which will include exhibits, lectures and star gazing activities. The Physical Sciences Library will exhibit astronomy and space related items from April 5, 2011 through May 13, 2011. The exhibit will be open during the Physical Sciences Library's regular business hours.

The series will kick-off with the first of five Astro-Lunch seminars: "Toward Understanding Massive Star Formation" presented by Liang Yuan, WIU Physics Grad Student, on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 from Noon to 1 p.m. in the Physical Science Library located at 201 Currens Hall. The Astro-Lunches are discussions on astronomy and astrophysics presented by Physics grad students. They are brown bag lunches and attendees are welcome to enjoy their lunch during the seminar. Additional Astro-Lunches are: "Astronomy in Antarctica" presented by Jacob Brown on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 from Noon to 1 p.m.; "What Makes a Planet Habitable" presented by Aaron Schye on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 from Noon to 1 p.m.; "Formation of Super-massive Black Holes" presented by Hsun Jen Chuang on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and "Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe" presented by Yuang Sang on Tuesday, May 3 from Noon to 1 p.m. All brown bag lunches are free and open to the public.

Additional events include:

Screening of the film, "400 Years of the Telescope"
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location: 205 Currens Hall
Dr. Brian Davies, WIU Physics Department will introduce the film.
The Preschool for All Program will present "Biology – Astronomy Night"
Thursday, April 7, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Physical Sciences Library, 201 Currens Hall
The program will feature fun biology and astronomy-related activities and displays designed for preschool-aged children.
This event is organized by the WIU Biology and Physics Departments, Biology Graduate Student Association, University Libraries and Preschool for All Program.
Screening of the film, "Eyes on the Skies"
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location: 205 Currens Hall
Dr. Brian Davies, WIU Physics Department, will introduce the film.
Dr. Esteban Araya, WIU Physics Department, will present "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and Life in the Universe"
Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Location: Physical Sciences Library, 201 Currens Hall
Presented by Dr. Esteban Araya, WIU Physics Department
This presentation will discuss the likelihood of extraterrestrial life and the current efforts in the search for life in the universe.
Dr. Araya has conducted observations using some of the most sensitive radio telescopes available.

The Physics Department will host Astronomy Nights, an opportunity to view stars and planets every Tuesday evening. The Astronomy Nights will begin after sunset (8 p.m.), are weather permitting, and will begin Tuesday, April 5, 2011 and run through Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Telescopes will be set up on the North side of Currens Hall, for participant viewing. Since these events are weather permitting, events will be confirmed the day before and placed on the University Libraries Event Calendar located at[]=85&Submit=Select+Month&control=monthly.

The Physical Sciences Library (PSL) is open Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday. (Note: The PSL will be open 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. for the Preschool Biology-Astronomy Night April 7th). All events are free and open to the general public.

If you have any questions, please contact Kathleen Clauson, Unit Coordinator of the Physical Sciences Library at (309) 298-1407 or via e-mail at