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TMT Scientists Discuss Serious Science and Classroom Fun During Journey Through the Universe 2015

TMT will participate again at this year's Journey Through The Universe's Family Science Day and Astronomy Educators in the Classroom.

For ten years, the Journey Through the Universe program has excited classrooms and students throughout Hilo and beyond with exciting science! Journey Through the Universe brings local students and teachers together with astronomers and engineers who share their passion and knowledge and inspire local students to aim high in their education and future careers.

On Sunday, March 1, TMT's Vivian U will host a family-centered discussion at the Journey Through The Universe Science Day starting at 1 pm at 'Imiloa Astronomy Center.

In her talk titled, "Colliding Galaxies: A Recipe for Growing Supermassive Black Holes," U will discuss merging galaxies as a way of growing these supermassive black holes. Learn how astronomers use the large 10-meter Keck Telescopes to probe the fuel that feeds these powerful, hungry monsters. Everyone is invited!

Other talks on Family Science Day include "A Day in the life of an Astronomer," by Scott Fisher, Ph.D, University of Oregon; "Living in a Crowded Universe," by Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute's Brian Day; "Moonriders, a joint mission between PISCES and Hawaii High School for a mission to the surface of the Moon," by Rob Kelso, PISCES; and "Black Holes -Monsters of the Universe," by UH Institute for Astronomy's Guenther Hasinger.

Astronomy Educators in the Classroom: Starting Monday, March 2, Breann Sitarski, a postdoc at UCLA who works under noted astronomer Andrea Ghez joins Vivian U, a TMT postdoc at UC Riverside with Gordon K. Squires, Astronomer from Caltech and working with the Thirty Meter Telescope in Journey Through the Universe's Astronomy in the Classroom, a week-long program bringing science right into the classroom. TMT's Sandra Dawson participates as a Journey Ambassador in the classrooms.

Breann Sitarski is a graduate student researcher in the Galactic Center Group at UCLA. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from UCLA, and continued there for graduate school, where she is currently working on her Ph.D. in Astronomy. Sitarski studies dusty objects near the supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy to get a better understanding of where they come from, what they are, and how they survive in such a hostile environment. She also studies the adaptive optics system on the Keck II telescope to try to correct for aberrations that the NIRC2 instrument itself is making on astronomical data.

Gordon K. Squires is an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, working with the Thirty Meter Telescope As well as NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, the Galaxy Evolution Explorer and other space telescopes with Caltech involvement. His research explores the old, cold and distant universe, understanding how galaxies formed billions of years ago, and the nature of the dark matter and dark energy that fills space.

Vivian U is a TMT Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California Riverside's Department of Physics and Astronomy. She has a Bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from Caltech, and then a Ph.D in Astronomy from the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy. Her research focuses on how stars and gas behave in the nuclei of colliding galaxy pairs, and how galaxy interaction facilitates the growth of supermassive black holes and the formation of stars. She is also working on the optical design of and is developing a sensitivity calculator for IRMS, one of TMT's first-light instruments.

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