Professor to Discuss the Lives of Big Stars in Free Public Science Lecture Oct. 24

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Véronique Petit, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Institute of Technology, will explore and explain “The Lives of the Most Massive Stars” in a free presentation starting at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24.

The public lecture, part of the university’s Public Science Lecture Series, will take place at the Olin Engineering Building Auditorium, EC118.

Petit, who earlier this year was awarded research time on the Hubble Space Telescope, will discuss how powerful telescopes such as Hubble are unlocking mysteries hidden behind these dots of lights in the night sky. She will explore how stars actually come in various types, with properties associated with their birth mass. Stars more than several times the mass of our Sun are the hottest and brightest members of our galaxy.

Petit will trace the life path of massive stars, bodies whose brilliant lives and explosive deaths light up and energize their surroundings and who seed the interstellar medium with the products of their nucleosynthesis, which is later recycled into the next generation of stars and planets.

Following the lecture, at approximately 9 p.m. and weather permitting, Florida Tech’s Student Astronomical Society will open the university’s 32-inch Ortega telescope for celestial viewing; three smaller telescopes will be on hand for use, as well.

Those interested in hands-on astronomy and who already have a telescope or who are thinking about getting one, may join the Melbourne Astronomical Society at 6:30 p.m. Friday for the group’s meeting. It will be held in Room 144 of the Olin Physical Sciences building.

The F.W. Olin Engineering Complex is located on West University Boulevard. Maps and directions for all these events can be found online at

For more information, call (321) 674-8795.


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