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Public Invited to Free Lecture at NASA Goddard: The Dark Universe
GREENBELT, Md. -- GREENBELT, Md. -- The public is invited to a free talk to learn about "The Dark Universe," by NASA scientist Dr. Michelle Thaller.

The talk is part of the Gerald Soffen Lecture Series and will be held at the Visitor's Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on February 9, 2012 at 7 p.m. EDT (doors open at 6:45 p.m.). The talk is about one hour and will be accompanied by images from space telescopes and end with a question and answer session. Registration is requested on-line or by contacting Maria Acevedo-Rivera at 301-286-4449.

Just how crazy can astronomers be if they want us to believe that all the stars, planets and galaxies we know of make up less than 4 percent of what's really out there? Most of the matter in the universe is in a form that we can't even touch, taste, or smell. The only reason we know it's there is the force of gravity. And when you take the entire energy content of the universe into account, it gets even weirder. Fully 75 percent of everything may be the mysterious dark energy that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. Join us in exploring just how things got so weird, and what observations required astronomers to completely re-think the make-up of the universe. What's next for our view of the universe? It's getting darker all the time.

Dr. Michelle Thaller is the assistant director of science for communications at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Specializing on the lifecycles of stars, she has been an observer on the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the ROSAT X-ray satellite, and the International Ultraviolet Explorer, as well as many ground-based observatories such as Mount Palomar, Kitt Peak, and Mount Stromlo, Australia. In her current role, Michelle represents all of NASA¹s science themes, from Earth science, the sun and space weather, solar system exploration, all the way out to cosmology and the deep universe.

The Gerald Soffen lecture series is dedicated to Dr. Gerald Soffen (1926-2000) who led the science team for NASA's Viking program, was Director of Life Sciences at NASA Headquarters, Project scientist for NASA's Earth Observing System, and created NASA Academy, NASA's premiere leadership training internship. The Viking 2 lander was posthumously named after Dr. Soffen and a crater on Mars was named "Soffen." He was best known, however, for his passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is physically located at 8800 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt, Md., 20771. The Goddard Visitor Center is located off ICESat Road (formerly Soil Conservation Road). Once on ICESat Road, turn left into the Visitor Center prior to the security checkpoint.

Related Links

To register on-line, please go to: › To register online
› Directions to the Visitor's Center from Washington, D.C. or Baltimore

Goddard Release No. 12-08

Maria Acevedo-Rivera
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.