TED & Talks

What proof is there that the universe is evolving? | Michelle Thaller

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Stargazing is a form of time travel.

– Light moves at 186,000 miles per second.

– As fast as light speed is, when you think about how large the universe is, light takes time — a lot of time — to actually get to us from distant objects.

– The sun is about 93 million miles away. At 186,000 miles per second, it takes about eight minutes for its light to reach us here on Earth. Because of this, when you look up at the sun, with eye protection, you’re actually seeing the star as it was nearly 10 minutes ago — not as it is in real time.

Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. She is Assistant Director of Science Communication at NASA. She went to college at Harvard University, completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif. then started working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Spitzer Space Telescope. After a hugely successful mission, she moved on to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in the Washington D.C. area. In her off-hours often puts on about 30lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.

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