Lockheed Martin Scientist to Present Lecture and Open Solar Exhibit at National Academy of Sciences
SUNNYVALE, CA, February 18th, 2002 -- Dr. Alan M. Title, Senior Fellow at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, will be presenting a public lecture at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. on February, 19, 2002 at 6:30 pm. Dr. Title's lecture, "The Science of the Sun," will discuss the latest findings about the nature of the star at the center of our solar system, and how it affects life on Earth. The public lecture is being held in conjunction with an exhibition entitled "Sunscapes: Images of our Magnetic Star." The exhibit, on view at the National Academy of Sciences through August 15, 2002, presents the most recent research and pictures of the Sun. Both lecture and exhibit are open to the public and free of charge. The galleries are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Enter the building at 2100 C Street, NW.
Arts and the Academy is a public service program of the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy offers exhibition space for art and images that reflect the mission of the institution. Through its focus on science-related art, the program makes a unique contribution to the cultural landscape of Washington DC by providing a venue for images that might not find a home in a more traditional art gallery.
"Sunscapes: Images of our Magnetic Star" is the latest in this series of exhibitions. It encompasses images from the NASA Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT), the Large Area Solar Coronal Observatory (LASCO), and the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) telescopes on the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
Most people do not give the Sun, the nearest of all stars, a second thought. Neither its presence nor its apparent stability are questioned. If we did, it would quickly become clear that the Sun is a star whose variability affects us in many ways. It appears to modulate Earth's climate, with effects that are yet to be fully understood; it also impacts our technology, as eruptions on the Sun interrupt communications, affect navigation systems, generate radiation that may be harmful to astronauts and airline passengers, and occasionally push power grids to failure. The cause of this variability is the Sun's magnetic field.
The Sun heats the atmospheric gases to temperatures that are nearly a thousand times higher than the temperature of the visible surface. The atmosphere of the Sun glows at many different colors (wavelengths), depending on the temperature of the gas. Those colors (or wavelengths) visible to our eyes are formed near the surface, where temperatures lie around 10,000Âº F (5850 K). High above the Sun's surface, the gas is much hotter with temperatures up to 10,000,000Âº F. This gas glows in the extreme ultraviolet range and in X-rays. Light from regions of higher temperature does not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, and can only be observed by telescopes in the vacuum of space. Special optical systems and detectors are used to image this mysteriously glowing Sun, with "false" colors added, giving visual form to things our unaided eyes could never see. This exhibition shows close ups of an unfamiliar Sun at colors that range from the visible, through the ultraviolet, to the X-ray part of the spectrum of light.
Dr. Title has been with Lockheed Martin since 1971. He currently is the U.S. Principal Investigator responsible for development of the Focal Plane Instrument Package on the Japanese Solar-B mission. He is also the Principal Investigator for NASA's solar telescope on the TRACE mission. The TRACE telescope was developed under Title's direction at the ATC. Since its launch on April 1, 1998, TRACE has provided millions of images that reveal activity in the solar atmosphere in stunning detail and include the first detailed observations of a magnetic energy release, called a magnetic reconnection.
Additionally, Title serves as a Co-Investigator responsible for the MDI science instrument on the SOHO mission. MDI, also designed and built at the ATC, uses optical techniques to measure shaking at the visible surface of the Sun that yields insight into activity and structure deep in the solar interior.
In June 2001, Dr. Title received the Hale Prize from the American Astronomical Society. The award, an Honorary Prize in memory of George Ellery Hale, is conferred once every two years to a scientist for outstanding contributions, over an extended period of time, to the field of solar astronomy. The Hale Prize is an endowed prize that comes with a certificate, a medal, and an honorarium. Dr. Title is the first recipient of the prize to be associated with a private company.
In August 2000, Alan Title was presented a NASA Public Service Award for outstanding science achievement and vital contributions to NASA's scientific research programs.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures, and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, and integration of advanced-technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation's core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics, and technology services. Employing more than 124,000 people worldwide, Lockheed Martin had 2001 sales surpassing $24 billion.
Buddy Nelson--Lockheed Martin(510) 797-0349; Pager: (888) 916-1797 email@example.com
Janis Tomlinson, National Academy of Sciences(202) 334-2439
Daniel Llata, National Academy of Sciences(202) 334-2415