A Storm of StarsA Living History of the Milky Way
June 16th (Tuesday), 6 p.m., Digitally presented on ZOOM – Open to Public. Presentation: “A STORM OF STARS: A Living History of the Milky Way”, Presented by Shane L. Larson, CIERA, Northwestern University.
For most of human history, we have been aware of the Milky Way, but it is comparatively recent that we have come to understand the Milky Way is our parent galaxy, a vast swirling storm of stars 10 billion years in the making. The story of how we came to understand our home galaxy is one of the central threads in the story of how we have come to understand the Universe far beyond. Historically our ideas about the nature and structure of the Cosmos have grown out of our attempts to understand the Milky Way. For hundreds of years, we didn’t know what the Milky Way was, or even that there were other galaxies besides the Milky Way. In this talk, we’ll examine the discovery of the Milky Way, and discuss how we came to understand the structure, evolution and environs of the galaxy. We’ll talk about how our perceptions of the Milky Way constantly shape and change our understanding of the Cosmos on much larger scales, and we’ll end with some of the secrets the galaxy still hides from us, providing astronomers puzzles and challenges to work on for many years yet to come.