How often do you see the true beauty of the night sky?
TED Fellow Lucianne Walkowicz shows how light pollution is ruining the extraordinary — and often ignored — experience of seeing directly into space.
Lucianne Walkowicz works on NASA’s Kepler mission, studying starspots and “the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares.”
Why you should listen
Lucianne Walkowicz is an Astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. She studies stellar magnetic activity and how stars influence a planet’s suitability as a host for alien life. She is also an artist and works in a variety of media, from oil paint to sound. She got her taste for astronomy as an undergrad at Johns Hopkins, testing detectors for the Hubble Space Telescope’s new camera (installed in 2002). She also learned to love the dark stellar denizens of our galaxy, the red dwarfs, which became the topic of her PhD dissertation at University of Washington. Nowadays, she works on NASA’s Kepler mission, studying starspots and the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares to understand stellar magnetic fields. She is particularly interested in how the high energy radiation from stars influences the habitability of planets around alien suns. Lucianne is also a leader in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a new project that will scan the sky every night for 10 years to create a huge cosmic movie of our Universe.
What others say
“Walkowicz’s project is also working to understand the nature of dark energy (“We’re going to find things we don’t understand”) …”— David Rowan, Wired UK
LUCIANNE WALKOWICZ: LOOK UP FOR A CHANGE
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
~ Steve Jobs