Dr. Alex Filippenko Lecture (Livestream): "A New Surprise in the Accelerating Universe"

  • Fri, Oct 15, 2021 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Pacific Standard Time

Ticket Price $15.20-$19.00 This event is now over

We expected the attractive force of gravity to slow down the rate at which the Universe is expanding. But in 1998, two essentially independent research teams made a Nobel-worthy discovery: since distant supernovae (exploding stars) appear fainter than predicted, the expansion of the Universe must be speeding up with time rather than decelerating. Over the largest distances, the Universe seems to be dominated by a mysterious, repulsive “dark energy” that stretches space itself faster and faster. The evidence for cosmic acceleration is now very strong, being supported by several independent techniques. Yet the physical origin and nature of dark energy, which makes up about 70% of the contents of the Universe, is not understood – and this may be the most important unsolved problem in all of physics, providing potential clues to a unified quantum theory of gravity. Our most recent surprise, however, is that the current expansion rate we measure with supernovae is faster than that predicted from observations of the young Universe, even taking into account the previously discovered acceleration. This suggests the possibility of exciting new physics beyond the standard model of cosmology.


Dr. Alex Filippenko, an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and an elected Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, is one of the world’s most highly cited astrophysicists. As a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, he (along with other team members) was honored the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Dr. Fillipenko was voted “Best Professor” on the UC Berkeley campus a record 9 times, and in 2006 he was named the Case/Carnegie National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions. He has produced 5 astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award- winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 120 television documentaries.


This event is a livestream of an in-person presentation by Dr. Alex Filippenko. After purchasing tickets, you will receive a unique log-in code to view the presentation via Zoom, live. 

Date & Time

Fri, Oct 15, 2021 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Robert Ferguson Observatory

The Valley of the Moon Observatory Association (VMOA) is volunteer amateur and professional astronomers plus a small supporting staff organized as a nonprofit association to provide educational programs about science and astronomy for students, the public, and in support of educators.

The VMOA is responsible for the construction, maintenance and utilization of the Robert Ferguson Observatory and functions as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the auspices of the California State Parks System, and in cooperation with our local state parks.