Virgo Cluster of galaxies to be discussed at Penn State Behrend

April 13, 2016

ERIE, Pa. — Ever wonder how large the universe is? Just consider that the Virgo Cluster, the closest galaxy cluster to Earth, could include more than 2,000 member galaxies. That’s 2,000 galaxies and solar systems different from our own Milky Way, all in one cluster.

The cluster’s close proximity to Earth makes it one of the most useful sources for understanding how galaxies form and evolve. That will be the topic of discussion when Open House Night in Astronomy returns to Penn State Behrend on Thursday, April 21.

Patrick Durrell, an associate professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University, will discuss how we trace the history of clusters like Virgo. He will give a brief tour of the Virgo cluster and discuss results from a new and ongoing deep, wide-field imaging study (called the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey) of the entire cluster. He will also describe searches for stars, dwarf galaxies and globular clusters that exist in the spaces between the cluster’s larger galaxies.

The presentation, “A Trip to the City: A Visit to the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Roche Hall Atrium of Penn State Behrend’s School of Science Complex. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture will be followed by a 15-minute Q&A session hosted by Durrell. Astronomical observing will also be held if weather permits.

Free programs on the night sky will be held in the Yahn Planetarium before Durrell’s talk at both 6:30 and 7 p.m.

Open House Nights in Astronomy are an outreach program of the School of Science at Penn State Behrend. These nontechnical presentations are intended for ages 8 and up; for additional information, contact the school at 814-898-6105.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 13, 2016