Special Astronomy Night at Martz-Kohl Observatory

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Dr. Lynn Cominsky, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Director, EdEon STEM Learning, Sonoma State University, will speak in person and on Zoom at Martz-Kohl Observatory.

Colliding Black Holes and the Moon

Contributing Writer
Walt Pickut
Martz-Kohl Observatory Board of Directors

Martz-Kohl Observatory’s popular Special Guest Speaker series will welcome world-renowned astronomer and physicist, Dr. Lynn Cominsky, on Saturday evening, October 16, at 7:00 p.m. The evening will then turn to the international Observe the Moon Night event from about 8:45 to 11:00, for moon-watching, star-gazing, and learning about humanity’s next destination in space, our return to the Moon.

To attend by Zoom, go to www.martzobservatory.org, click on the lecture title, “Spacetime Symphony: Gravitational Waves and Black Holes” and then on the One Click Link to Zoom. Attendance by guests in person will require masks and vaccination. Program starts at 7:00. The Zoom link opens at 6:45 to join. MKO never charges admission but donations are appreciated.

A Clash of Titans
When Black Holes Collide

Once again, Dr. Einstein was right! And Dr. Lynn Cominsky from Sonoma State University is a member of the team that detected direct evidence of what is arguably the last major unconfirmed prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Her work helped launch the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy.

Her presentation is specially geared for students and general audiences. Dr. Cominsky is a STEM educator who crafts innovative experiences in formal and informal education for secondary and college students. Get to know more about Dr. Cominsky at www.martzobservatory.org.

Dr. Cominsky will present an introduction to gravitational waves, black holes, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). She will also discuss the gravitational wave detection results reported to date from LIGO and Virgo (another gravitational wave interferometer). On September 14, 2015, LIGO received the first confirmed gravitational wave signals. Now known as GW150914, LIGO’s exciting discovery represents the collision of two distant black holes that were previously orbiting each other in an ever-faster death spiral ending in a crash of unimaginable forces.

Observe the Moon Night

The second event of the evening will take guests “to the Moon!”

Observe the Moon Night is a worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation and understanding of our Moon and its connection to science, exploration, and human culture.

This annual event connects scientists, educators and night sky enthusiasts from around the world. This event will be held in-person at the Martz-Kohl Observatory and starts about 8:45pm.

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.