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Dolan to speak to Tri-State Astronomers

October 11, 2006

The guest speaker for the next Tri-State Astronomers' meeting will be Joseph F. Dolan of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, who will present "Pauli's Only Mistake-or-the Aberration of Starlight."

The meeting is Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Washington County Board of Education's William M. Brish Planetarium.

Dolan is an astrophysicist with the UV/Optical Astronomy Branch, Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics.

Dolan's research interests are in the areas of X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, astronomical polarization, neutron stars and black holes. He has been involved with the Hubble mission High Speed Photometer as a co-investigator, the HIPPARCOS Astrometric Satellite as a co-principal investigator and the High Energy X-ray Spectrometer on the 8th Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO-8) as a guest investigator. He has written more than 100 papers.

"Pauli was the famous physicist of the 1920s who discovered the exclusion principle in quantum mechanics, predicted the existence of the neutrino, etc.," Dolan said. "He is a fascinating character. The talk is about what I consider the most productive telescope in the history of the world - it discovered an important astronomical effect (the aberration of starlight) and then, 150 years later, important physics - that aberration requires relativity to explain it. I try to explain everything at a popular level, and most of the time, I succeed."

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The "Aberration of Starlight" is an astronomical phenomenon that produces an apparent motion of celestial objects.

Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Dolan's presentation will be followed by the regular scheduled club meeting. Nonmembers are invited to stay for the meeting.

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