Next Florida Tech Astronomy Lecture Set for April 27

MELBOURNE, FLA.—The next presentation of Florida Institute of Technology’s Astronomy Lecture Series, “Extreme Contrast Ratio Astronomy,” will be given by Daniel Batcheldor, assistant professor, Florida Tech Department of Physics and Space Sciences. The free lecture will be from 8 to 9 p.m. in the F.W. Olin Engineering Complex, Room EC118, on campus. There will be a rooftop public star viewing following the presentation if weather permits.

Much of the most fundamental research conducted by astronomers requires telescopes and instruments capable of detecting faint targets against the glare of nearby bright objects. In some cases the bright object may outshine the faint object by several million times. Research areas that experience such high contrast ratios include the study of extra-solar planets, the nature of quasar host galaxies, the low luminosity end of the stellar mass function (brown dwarfs) and the search for near-Earth objects.

Current attempts to address these areas employ techniques that are difficult to execute and instruments that are highly complex and extremely expensive. However, an imaging camera, the Charge Injection Device (CID), may be able to perform these observations more easily and economically. Until now, this camera has been overlooked in favor of the well-known Charge-Coupled Device (CCD), but updated hardware and software may now give the CID the edge when it comes to extreme contrast ratio imaging. Florida Tech has recently acquired one of these devices, and has deployed it on the 0.8-meter Ortega Telescope.

Batcheldor will share preliminary results from trials of this new camera and the improvements necessary to take this camera to the next technology readiness level.

The F.W. Olin Engineering Complex is located on West University Boulevard. For more information, call (321) 674-7207or visit

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