April 19 - Happy Birthday, Kim Weaver

Posted on April 19, 2020

April 19, 1964: Kim Weaver is born in West Virginia.

April 19, 1969: Age 5, little Kim is impressed by photographs of planets, galaxies, and the Moon. She asks about the 300-foot antenna dish located nearby and is interested in the answer - it is listening to radio signals from space!

July 20, 1969: Still 5, Kim is thrilled to watch Apollo 11 crew land on - and eventually walk on! - the Moon.

She decides right then and there that she wants to be a scientist and work for NASA.

Flash forward about 20 years: Dr. Kim Weaver has graduated with a B.S. in physics and a M.S. and Ph.D. in astronomy.

And now: Weaver is an astrophysicist and professor. She works for NASA, just as she hoped, so long ago - mostly focusing on x-ray astronomy.

What, you may ask, is x-ray astronomy?

With ordinary telescopes, scientists study the universe via visible light, which is the most familiar part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

 Radio telescopes like the dishes that inspired Weaver as a child allow scientists to study the universe via radio waves, which have much longer wavelengths than those of visible light. 

X-ray telescopes are used to study the universe with x-rays, which have much shorter wavelengths. 

This is a comparison of M82 galaxy with visible light (left) and x-rays (right): 

Here is a photo of a neutron star in the Crab Nebula. The x-ray light is shown in purple, ultraviolet light in blue, visible light in green, infrared light in yellow, and radio light in red: 

National Library Week in the U.S. - April 19 through 25

(The 2020 theme of National Library Week is “Find Your Place at the Library” - a theme chosen long before anyone could imagine a global pandemic would close libraries-the-physical-buildings. However, libraries are still open for business online. 

Here are some things you can access: 
"...ebooks, movies, music, video games, virtual storytimes and activities, and so much more — all from the the comfort of your home.")

(Third Saturday of April)

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:
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