'Around the World in 80 Telescopes' webcast to include South Pole Telescope

The South Pole Telescope (SPT), which the University of Chicago operates with eight partner organizations, will be among the observatories taking part in a 24-hour live Webcast titled "Around the World in 80 Telescopes."

The event is part of 100 Hours of Astronomy, the cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). The United Nations proclaimed IYA2009 on Dec. 20, 2007, to help citizens of the world rediscover their place in the universe.

The 100-hour astronomy marathon will consist of more than 1,500 public outreach events in more than 130 countries from April 2 to 5. The SPT live video webcast is scheduled to begin at 2:25 a.m. CDT Saturday, April 4.

Serving as webcast spokesmen will be Ross Williamson, a research scientist at the University of Chicago, and Erik Shirokoff, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. To view the webcast, visit http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/, or http://www.ustream.tv/channel/100-hours-of-astronomy.

Taking advantage of the exceptionally clear, dry and stable atmosphere at the South Pole, the 10-meter SPT is mapping large areas of sky for clues about the mysterious phenomenon know as dark energy. A repulsive force, dark energy pushes the universe apart and overwhelms gravity, the attractive force that all matter exerts.

Other participants in Around the World in 80 Telescopes include Gemini North and Keck in Hawaii, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, telescopes in the Canary Islands, the South African Large Telescope, Chilean observatories such as the Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Related links:
South Pole Telescope: http://pole.uchicago.edu/
100 Hours of Astronomy: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/
100 Hours of Astronomy program: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/program
100 Hours of Astronomy Ustream.tv channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/100-hours-of-astronomy
International Year of Astronomy 2009: http://www.astronomy2009.org/

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Photos

The South Pole Telescope under the aurora australis (southern lights).

Photo by Keith Vanderlinde

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