Astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds are invited to the to attend a free lecture by a top astronomer on Saturday evening.
The American Museum of Natural History's Carter Emmart, who holds a doctorate, will give a presentation on the , a 3D atlas of the night sky that visualizes 2D maps for display in planetariums.
It is the latest installment of a lecture series sponsored by the Montauk Observatory. Following the lecture guests can join professional astronomers for a night of star-watching with telescopes provided.
The Digital Universe catalogs data from earth, planetary missions and satellites to formulate a unique picture of our universe in 3D. Don't be discouraged by what may seem complex, however, as the lecture is geared for all levels of interest, from the celestial-obsessed to the casual stargazer.
"We try to bring it down to where you don't have to be at a high level to enjoy these talks," said Terry Bienstock, President of the Montauk Observatory. "The whole idea is to bring science and education to everybody."
This lecture will be particularly interesting to teenagers and adults, Bienstock said, though the whole family is welcome to attend.
The observatory seeks to vary the topic of each lecture to capture the interests of the general audience, according to Bienstock. The previous lecture discussed Saturn, and an upcoming lecture will explore the mythology of the sky with songs and storytelling.
"We have kids who are eight years old and people from their 70s," Bienstock said.
Bienstock noted the East End is a unique locale for star-watching, as the rural environment together with favorable wind patterns keep the night sky clear.
"When you look up at night and can see the Milky Way, for example, we take that for granted," Bienstock said.
The East End skies are so clear that the New York State Legislature named in Montauk a "Dark Sky Park," New York's first.
For over a decade, Emmart has helped spearhead the efforts to build a 3D visualization map. He currently directs the space shows for the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Museum. In addition, he has worked with NASA, supervises and internship program, and has organized conferences for Mars exploration.
The lecture begins at 7 p.m.