Institute for Astronomy presents Maui public talk on asteroid and comet impacts

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Oct 19, 2007

The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy will hold a UH/IfA Maui Maikalani Community Lecture, the first in a series of free monthly public talks on Maui, on Friday, October 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at its new building, Maikalani, in Pukalani. Dr. Joe Ritter's topic will be "Asteroid and Comet Impacts."

Asteroid and comet impacts have played an important role in the development of our planet and are continuously reshaping the solar system. Dr. Ritter will be discussing collisions between near-Earth objects and current research efforts, as well as past and future effects on the evolution of life on this planet.

Dr. Ritter received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Miami in 1998. His current research areas include active optical systems, nanotechnology, biology, and oncology. His background includes research in plasma physics, space telescopes, radiative transfer, satellite remote sensing, and space propulsion.

Previously, he was team lead at the NASA Marshall Advanced Optical Systems Development Group, associate research scientist in Space Systems Engineering at the Florida Space Institute, and an associate development engineer at the University of California, San Diego's Center for Astrophysics and Space Science.

The address of Maikalani, also known as the Advanced Technology Research Center, is 34 Ohia Ku Street, Pukalani, above Kamehameha Schools in the Kulamalu Town Center (the first light after King Kekaulike High School, just off Kula Highway). For a map, go to

"Maikalani" literally means "from the heavens" but also has the cultural meaning "things we gain from the cosmos."

Dr. Ritter will also be lecturing on "Phytoplankton Measurements and Satellite Oceanography" at the Maui Ocean Center in November.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

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