David Silva, National Optical Astronomy Observatory
To be human is to explore. Today’s astronomers are cosmic explorers, creating maps of the Universe, near and far. The earliest star maps were painted thousands of years ago on the walls of caves. Our maps today are spectacular, full of objects and phenomena that were completely undiscovered even 20 years ago. Yet, great mysteries remain. Is a civilization ending asteroid lurking in the darkness? Do Earth‐like planets orbit nearby stars and do they harbor life? How did our home galaxy, the Milky Way, form and evolve? What are dark energy and dark matter? These are some of the known questions, the known unknowns, but what about the unknown unknowns, the objects, and phenomena that await discovery? Please join me for a presentation about on‐going and planned cosmic mapping expeditions to explore space and time, journeys into the nearby darkness and back to the dawn of time.