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Upcoming Lecture: Magnifying the Universe

Hubble: Magnifying the Distant Universe. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose.

Hubble: Magnifying the Distant Universe. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose.

Much of the universe that we’d like to study is far away and faint. To ‘magnify the universe’ scientists use a variety of techniques.  In an illustrated talk at the Library of Congress on April 22 , Dr. Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist and deputy project scientist for operations of the James Webb Telescope, will discuss how scientists use natural telescopes (gravitational lensing) to study the universe. When coupled to the largest telescopes on or off Earth, these natural telescopes allow scientists to study parts of the distant universe that are otherwise too small and faint to be seen. Dr. Rigby will describe how gravitational lensing works, and then show recent dazzling results from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, demonstrating what this technique is allowing us to learn about the buildup of stars and galaxies in the Universe.

This program will be the opening lecture for the spring/summer science lecture series. It is also the first program for our series of lectures presented through a partnership with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. We are happy to report that this is the eighth year partnering with Goddard!

JANERIGBY1We are delighted to have Dr. Rigby visit the Library to talk about the tools and science that help astrophysicists investigate the universe. 

Join us on Tuesday April 22 at 11:30 a.m. in the Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd floor of the James Madison Building, Library of Congress. If you cannot make it, a webcast of the program will be made available shortly after the event. [Update 11/7/2014: This lecture is available for viewing on the Library’s webcast page and Youtube channel.]

In the meantime, to satisfy your astronomy fix, check out “Beyond Hubble: A New Era of Astronomy with the James Webb Telescope” with astrophysicist Amber Straughn-the webcast and YouTube video  were made when she spoke at the Library in 2012.  Also, the Library’s astronomy expert wrote about the history of the telescope in the blog post Loving the Stars: Telescopes from Galileo to James Webb .

There Will Be Eggs

The following is a guest blog post by science reference librarian and eggs-pert Margaret Clifton who has been collecting egg art since she was nine years old. Margaret has written for Inside Adams before on the topics of astronomy, Carl Sagan, time and Antarctica. How do we know when Spring is here? Officially, which is […]


One of my goals in writing for the blog has been to feature the decorative details of the Adams Building, including the figures that grace the bronze doors.  I thought it was time revisit this topic, so this post is dedicated to Odin, the image that stands beside Quetzalcoatl. Odin, sometimes written as Wodan, Woden, […]