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STScI Public Lecture Series

3D Spectroscopy and the Dynamics of Galaxies

Presented by: David Law (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Category: Education and Outreach   Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes   Broadcast date: April 04, 2017
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Most people are familiar with how a prism splits the light of the Sun into its component rainbow of colors. Research astronomers use instruments called spectrographs to split the light from celestial objects and measure its intensity at different wavelengths. These spectral observations can be used to determine temperature, composition, motion, and more. Imaging spectrographs extend the entire 2D view of an image into a third dimension of wavelength, and have greatly expanded the capacity to map the motions of gas and stars within galaxies. Dr. Law will present the history of this powerful type of instrument, highlight what it has taught us about the evolution of galaxies over the last 12 billion years, and discuss some of the exciting science that such instruments on board the James Webb Space Telescope are expected to deliver in the near future.