UB Physics Talk Geared to General Audience Will Focus on Strange Interstellar Meteors

Release Date: November 5, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The strange and mysterious world of interstellar meteors will be the subject of the 2001 Harlow Shapley Visiting Lecture to be given Nov. 7, by SUNY Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy David D. Meisel of the State University College at Geneseo.

The talk, which will be free and open to the public, will be presented in 109 Knox Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus at 7:30 p.m.

Meisel's talk will be geared toward the general public, and high school and university students are welcome.

It is sponsored by the UB Department of Physics, the UB College of Arts and Sciences, the Harlow Shapley Endowment Fund and the American Astronomical Society.

According to Meisel, the hunt for interstellar meteors has been a checkered and mysterious one, not unlike the journey described by Lewis Carroll in his poem, "The Hunting of the Snark."

The talk will focus on how, using the world's most powerful radar at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, these elusive particles have been seen as they are dying, plunging through earth's atmosphere at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per second.

It has been proposed that interstellar meteors originated 650,000 years ago in the supernova explosion that produced the enigmatic Geminga pulsar. They also may be related to the large interstellar particles discovered in the 1970s by the Pioneer 10 spacecraft as it was leaving the solar system.

For more information about the talk, contact the UB Department of Physics at 645-2017.

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