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.