Joe Shields

Joe Shields

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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Astronomer to discuss black holes on Wednesday

Gazing at the midnight sky opens us up to the curiosity of a virtually infinite universe in which so many questions still go unanswered. Among the most interesting mysteries is the nature of black holes – a region in spacetime so dense that no light can escape.

Ohio University Professor of Astronomy Joe Shields will present, "Hunting Black Holes with the Hubble," during his Science Café discussion at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the Baker University Center Front Room.

"Every significant galaxy, including the Milky Way, has gone through a phase of its existence where it builds up one of these black holes," said Shields, who is also the University's vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the graduate college. "It's interesting that something so seemingly exotic is evidently ubiquitous within every galaxy."

For nearly 23 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been integral in identifying and understanding the black holes. Shields and other astronomers have been able to use this technology to gain insights into the workings of our universe.

"It tells us something interesting about the history of galaxies, what drives the formation and growth of each black hole and even the formation and growth of the galaxy itself," said Shields.

Science Cafés are a venue for students interested in the sciences and engineering to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty, staff and the community in a friendly setting. They are free and open to the public.