Astronomy - June 2015

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6 ASTRONOMY • JUNE 2015

BY DAVID J. EICHER

FROM THE EDITOR


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T


his month, we have the
first of a long series of
delights — the distin-
guished astronomer
Jeff Hester begins a
new monthly column, “For
Yo u r C o n s i d e r a t i o n” (p. 10).
Hester will keep us
apprised of all manner of
thoughts and interesting
notions from the science of
astronomy and cosmology,
in a very sharp and witty
way. If you don’t know him,
here’s an introduction:
After earning his doctor-
ate in space physics and
astronomy from Rice
University, Hester moved
west to the California
Institute of Technology.
There he joined the team
responsible for the Hubble
Space Telescope Wide-Field
and Planetary Camera
(WFPC). So began a career
that placed Hester in a front-
row seat for some of the
most extraordinary events in
the history of science.
Shortly after the launch of
Hubble, Hester found him-
self sitting in front of a com-
puter on live national
television when the first
image from the telescope
was radioed to the ground. It
was that image that alerted
people to the possibility that

something was amiss. He
went on to join the science
team responsible for
WFPC2, the camera that
fixed Hubble. What was his
take on the experience when
the first image was radioed
back after the servicing mis-
sion? “It was a lot more fun
the second time around!”
During his scientific
career, Hester has worked on
a variety of astrophysical
questions. He is especially
well known for his work on
star formation, supernova
remnants, pulsar winds, and
the early history of the solar
system. His Hubble image of
the Eagle Nebula (commonly
referred to as “The Pillars of
Creation”) is arguably the
most famous astronomical
image of all time. It was fea-
tured on a U.S. postage
stamp, and last year Time
magazine selected the image
as among the 100 most inf lu-
ential photographs in history.
Hester is known for
the depth and breadth
of his insights as well as
his uncommon ability to
communicate complex
ideas in an accessible and

entertaining way. He has
appeared in dozens of tele-
vised documentaries discuss-
ing his work, not to mention
a commercial for an Irish
hard cider. Broadcaster Hugh
Downs referred to Hester as
“one of the greatest explain-
ers in our midst today.”
Hester recently took early
retirement from Arizona
State University after spend-
ing 20 years on the faculty.
He is now working as a
speaker and certified profes-
sional coach, sharing his
experience and insight with
individuals and organiza-
tions looking for success in
changing times. “Everyone
looks at the world through
their own lens. I help them
sharpen their focus,” he says.
You can find his website at
http://www.jeff-hester.com.
You will enjoy his future
thoughts about the cosmos!

Yo u r s t r u l y,

David J. Eicher
Editor

Introducing


columnist


Jeff Hester


COURTESY JEFF HESTER


Follow the Dave’s Universe blog:
http://www.Astronomy.com/davesuniverse
Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter: @deicherstar
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