September 7, 2013 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Main Yurt
Katie Nagy
What are Sunspots? A History @ Main Yurt

Katie Nagy, Astronomy Education Program Manager, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Saturday, September 7, 2013, 1:30 pm in the Yurt

What are Sunspots? A History

Sunspots, to put it simply, are relatively cool areas on the surface of our star that are caused by the Sun’s magnetic activity.  But how did astronomers figure this out? How did their interpretations of sunspots change as the technology used in astronomical observation advanced? What ideas in astronomy and physics helped astronomers make sense of sunspots? Sunspots have been observed and recorded from well before the invention of the telescope through the centuries that followed.  We’ll explore the journey astronomers took to arrive at our current understanding of sunspots.

Katie Nagy is the Astronomy Education Program Manager at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where she leads the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory and other astronomy education activities.  Katie got involved astronomy education when she was in high school and began helping at public observing events as a member of the Flint River Astronomy Club.  Since then, she has been active in astronomy and education in a variety of ways.   She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.S. in astronomy and mathematics, and the George Washington University with a M.A.T. in museum education.