By JC Holbrook
Today I am driving to Los Angeles where I will spend a week at the University of California, Los Angeles. On Wednesday afternoon I will be showing my documentary film "Hubble's Diverse Universe" for the Astronomy Colloquium http://www.astro.ucla.edu/announcements/colloq.shtml. The screening will be free but unfortunately parking is not free at UCLA.
Hubble's Diverse Universe features nine minority astrophysicists talking about the Hubble Space Telescope http://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/archive/hubble/. In the astronomy and astrophysics community we refer to the Hubble Space Telescope as HST or simply Hubble. Hubble has defined and dominated astronomy for the twenty-one years it has been in orbit, even when it did not have the lens correction. As astrophysicist Eric Wilcots says in my film, "The images are immediately recognizable and are works of art." HST is the rock star of telescopes with everyday people because of those images.
This is an image of the Orion nebula taken by HST in 2006. For my dissertation I studied the cluster of stars that are embedded in the cloud behind the bright cluster of four stars visible in the yellow region of the image. The cluster that I studied is visible at infrared wavelengths. You may have heard the Orion nebula called "a stellar nursery", i.e. a place where stars are being born.
In Hubble's Diverse Universe the astrophysicists talk about HST and the images and their roles in building instruments for HST. They talk about their research and the role of NASA in their careers. They also discuss the lack of diversity in astronomy and astrophysics. Hubble's Diverse Universe captures what they think about HST, astrophysics, and being a minority in astrophysics.
There has never been a telescope like HST and the James Webb Space Telescope hopes to do what Hubble has done and more http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/.
If you cannot be in Los Angeles this Wednesday, you can still see Hubble's Diverse Universe: It is our gift to anyone who donates $50.00 or more to this project.