Westport Astronomical Society hosts Gravitational Waves lecture

Jillian Bellovary
Jillian Bellovary

Jillian Bellovary, American Museum of Natural History, Queensborough Community College, hosts a lecture on Gravitational Waves: Ripples in Space-Time on Jan. 16, at 8 p.m., at Westport Astronomical Society, 182 Bayberry Lane, Westport.

Gravitational Waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, and in the past two years, we have begun to detect them. Using LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, scientists have detected several merging black holes and even a gamma ray burst caused by merging neutron stars. For the first time, we can learn about space without using light.

Bellovary will discuss what  gravitational waves are and how we build instruments to measure them. She'll describe the results we have so far, including the unexpected surprise of over massive black holes. Lastly, she'll discuss the future of gravitational wave observations, including a huge space observatory that will teach us how the biggest black holes in the universe grow.

Jillian Bellovary is a physics professor at Queensborough Community College and an expert on the cosmic evolution of supermassive black holes. She is also a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Washington and has since done postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University. Jillian served in the U.S. Peace Corps in The Gambia from 2001-2003. She currently serves on the Committee for the Status of Minorities in Astronomy and strives to increase inclusion and equity in the sciences. In her free time, she plays roller derby.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. The event is rain or shine.

The Westport Astronomical Society hosts free star parties for the public every Wednesday night from 8-10 p.m. if the skies are clear.