How massive can a black hole get? Can you hide one star inside another? Why would a star only pretend to explode? Astronomers have built careers on answering these baffling questions, observing and studying some of the weirdest and most fascinating objects in the universe. From supermassive black holes to mysterious distant planets and stars that have faked their own deaths, modern astronomy has revealed a wealth of new and bizarre objects in the universe and given us the tools we need to unravel the science behind them. Along the way, the people who make these discoveries have traveled from the South Pole to the stratosphere, braving everything from curious wildlife to erupting volcanos, all in the hopes of capturing a few small fragments of data that could be the key to unlocking new corners of the cosmos. This talk will highlight some of the weirdest objects in the universe and share the adventures (and misadventures) of the scientists behind their discovery.
Dr. Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington. Her research is focused on understanding how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She's currently writing a popular science book titled "The Last Stargazers" that shares the stories and adventures of astronomical observing.