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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Astronomer To Detail World’s Most Capable Solar Telescope March 26

During the next decade, solar physicists will learn more than they have dreamed possible about the Sun, thanks to current technologies that have advanced the capacity of land-based instruments. Such advancements will be the focus of a talk on March 26, 2008 by noted NJIT solar astronomer Philip R. Goode, PhD. Goode http://www.njit.edu/publicinfo/newsroom/goode_bio.php has led a five-year project to build the world’s most capable 1.6-meter solar telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory http://www.bbso.njit.edu/. First light has been slated for May, 2008.

Goode will detail not only the stellar range today of land-based solar telescopes, but  also his vision for future advances in solar astronomy coupled with a better understanding of space weather. He is distinguished professor of physics and director of the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research which manages the observatory.

ATTENTION MEDIA: Please join us March 26, 2008, at a media conference 2 p.m., Room 37, in Kupfrian Hall, with Goode and others. An award presentation and lecture in the Jim Wise Theatre, Kupfrian Hall, will follow. For reservations and directions call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436. 

Jeffrey R. Kuhn, PhD, associate director, Institute for Astronomy, Haleakala, Maui, University of Hawaii http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/ifa/about_ifa.htm, who helped Goode design the facility, opens the program. Kuhn will touch upon Goode’s expertise and future visions. Other speakers will include Donald H. Sebastian, PhD, senior vice president, research and development, NJIT and NJIT Board of Overseers Chairman Emil Herkert. Non-speaking guests will include noted astronomers Wojtek Dziembowski, PhD, professor, Institute of Astronomy - Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw; Thomas Rimmele, PhD, chair, National Solar Observatory http://www.nso.edu/; Roy Coulter, project manager, Big Bear Solar Observatory. 

The National Solar Observatory is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) http://www.aura-astronomy.org/ under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) http://www.nsf.gov/ for the benefit of the astronomical community.

The NJIT Board of Overseers and NJIT President Robert A. Altenkirch will present to Goode the first NJIT Excellence in Research Prize and Medal. “The award’s purpose is to elevate the image of research on campus and in the community,” said Herkert. “Many professors at NJIT do notable work and we thought it long overdue that the research of these unique individuals be celebrated on the campus and in the region.” The NJIT Board of Overseers serves as the governing body for the NJIT Foundation and provides a key advisory link with a wide range of organizations in the business community.

NJIT assumed leadership of Big Bear in 1997. The observatory is located high in a mountain lake in southern California and was originally developed in 1969 by California Institute of Technology. Big Bear is one of the world’s leading observatories focused on advancing knowledge of the Sun, the largest known star in the universe.

The magnitude of the new off-axis solar telescope—with three times the resolution of the older one—will enable Goode to probe the fundamental scale of the Sun’s dynamic magnetic fields. These fields are of great interest to solar physicists because they can cause storms—often referred to as solar flares —that destroy satellites and disrupt the power grid and telecommunications.

The telescope will feature the world’s largest solar aperture. It will feed a high-order adaptive optics system, which in turn will feed the next generation of technologies for measuring magnetic fields and dynamic events using visible infrared light. A parallel computer system for real-time image enhancement will highlight the new instrument. 

Goode, of Westfield, has studied for many years the oscillating waves of the Sun’s atmosphere, known as helioseismology. Goode’s research has also focused on magnetic fields. He is expert at combining BBSO ground-based data with satellite data to determine dynamic properties of the solar magnetic fields. His other areas of interest include working to place a lower limit on solar irradiance and to probe the solar interior. Such studies impact scientists’ understanding and ability to predict space weather.

Since 1998, Goode has focused on climate studies in which the Earth’s large-scale reflectance has been measured using earthshine. He and BBSO researchers have spent time modeling the Earth’s reflectivity using satellite cloud cover and found appreciable decadal variation of reflectance due to cloud changes. BBSO is building a global network to measure the Earth’s global reflectance and spectrum.

Herkert, of Hanover Township, has been a longtime friend of the university. The now retired former chairman and chief executive officer of Hatch Mott MacDonald Infrastructure and Environment, Herkert has long championed the advancement of the university, serving in many volunteer roles.

The NJIT Board of Overseers is a special resource for the university. An overseer is a critical link between academe and the business community, providing information on corporate and state priorities and assisting NJIT in meeting research and funding goals. The corporate perspective of the overseers helps to clarify the university’s research focus and indeed, may introduce entirely new research directions for consideration.

New Jersey board members include: Gabriel P. Caprio, Glen Ridge; Irwin Dorros, PhD, Green Village; Caren L. Freyer-deSouza, West Orange. Also on the board are: John H. Olson, New Vernon; Veronica G. Pellizzi, Franklin Lakes; Robert D. Polucki, Esq., Watchung. Still more members are James G. Medeiros, Chester; John J. Nallin, Morristown; Thomas V. Reilly, Freehold; and Philip L. Rinaldi, Bridgewater. And yet, more members are: John W. Seazholtz, Brick; Martin Tuchman, Princeton.

Other board members are Norma J. Clayton, MO; James Coleman, LA; Albert A. Dorman, FAIA, CA; Jerome Drexler, PhD, CA; David C. Garfield, FL. More are: J. Robert Hillier, PA; Raymond J. McGowan, FL; Vincent Naimoli, FL; George M. Newcombe, Esq, CA; Louis E. Prezeau, NY.

For more information, see: http://www.njit.edu/overseersmedal.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.