Press Release

Public Invited to Free Lecture at NASA Goddard: Why Space Telescopes Are Amazing

By SpaceRef Editor
November 5, 2011
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The public is invited to a free talk to learn “Why Space Telescopes Are Amazing,” by NASA scientist Dr. Jane Rigby.

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 November 10 at 7 p.m. EST (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.

One of humanity’s best ideas was to put telescopes in space. The dark stillness of space allows telescopes to perform much better than they can on the darkest and clearest of Earth’s mountaintops. Away from Earth’s light, we can detect many frequencies of light — like X-rays and gamma rays — that are blocked by Earth’s atmosphere.

Please join astrophysicist Dr. Jane Rigby, deputy operations project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, as she discusses NASA’s Great Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. Explore how this team of observatories works together to answer important questions: How do stars form? Is there really dark matter? Why is the universe expanding ever faster and faster?

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.

To register on-line, please go to:

For directions to the Visitor’s Center from Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.