Astronomers to swoop in to Bremerton

The Crab Nebula (NASA)
The Crab Nebula (NASA image)

Q: What happens when you bring 300 of the brightest minds in astronomy to Bremerton? 

A: Dunno. But we’re gonna find out.

For the first time ever, astronomers who are working on a groundbreaking telescope known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will swoop into Bremerton for a weeklong workshop at the Kitsap Conference Center in August.

Bob Abel, a physics professor at Olympic College, was instrumental in bringing the astronomers here. They’d been holding their annual workshops in Arizona. When talk came to bringing them closer to the University of Washington — where some of the astronomers work — Abel saw his chance. Its team, made up of scientists across the country, agreed to come here.

And what about this enigmatic telescope they’re meeting to talk about?

For a decade starting in 2020, the LSST, perched in the Andes Mountains of Chile, will rapidly scan the sky with a 3,200 megapixel camera. Over the telescope’s lifespan, it will collect untold numbers of stories in the night sky: supernovae, asteroids, and billions of galaxies as they evolve.

“It will obtain more data than all of the telescopes in history combined in its first month,” Abel said.

And all that data will be open to anyone to review, Abel said.

The astronomers will be busy during the day, but Abel hopes to introduce them to the community in the evenings. The conference has reserved a theater at SEEFilm downtown and will also use the Pacific Planetarium on Pacific Avenue for TED-style talks each night.

As this is a global affair, Abel has also managed to get the soccer field at Kiwanis Park reserved for the scientists to play on. (Kind of fun imagining these incredible minds from all over the world kicking a soccer ball around, don’t you think?)


The conference will be held Aug. 16-22. We’ll have more coverage as we get closer to the main event. Abel is excited about the chance to show the astronomers Bremerton; he hopes Bremerton we’ll be excited for the chance to meet them too.

“For one week in the middle of August, we’ll be hosting 300 of the best astronomers in the world,” he told the City Council Wednesday.

4 thoughts on “Astronomers to swoop in to Bremerton

  1. Speaking about astronomers, TODAY, JEFF COUGHLIN, NASA PLANET HUNTER, RETURNS TO PACIFIC PLANETARIUM, JUNE 19, FOR OUR THIRD FRIDAY ASTRONOMY TALKS ON THE EXOPLANET SEARCH – UPDATES FROM KEPLER – Join us to learn more about our search throughout the galaxy for planets like us. The count is now up to 4,601 planet candidates, with 1,021 confirmed! Back by popular demand, Jeff will give us the most recent findings. Kepler has discovered some pretty bizarre planets and extreme planetary systems, but earlier this year three “super earths” have been discovered where alien life just might flourish! Learn how NASA searches and finds these alien planets light years away from us. The mission continues as K2 and soon to launch are the next generation planet hunting space telescopes with enhanced capabilities to detect other habitable worlds. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

    Show times at 5:00, 6:00 & 7:00 pm. Tickets at the door $5 or advance online tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.

    GUEST SPEAKER: Dr. Jeffrey Coughlin, Support Scientist for the Kepler Mission, at the SETI Institute, NASA AMES in California. Jeff’s work focuses on finding and characterizing transiting planets.

    Explore more after the show in our family friendly Space Science Exhibition Hall with astronomy exhibits & activities for all ages.

    Astronomers from the Olympic Astronomical Society will be present to answer your telescope and sky watching questions.

  2. Is there any updates? Trying to find more info or tickets for the talks. Please inform, would like to spread the word!

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