Scientific Colloquium
October 5, 2007

"Megamasers, Dark Energy, and the Hubble Constant"

Powerful water maser emission (water mega-masers) can be found in accretion disks in the nuclei of some galaxies.  Besides providing a measure of the mass at the nucleus, such mega-masers can be used to determine the distance to the host galaxy, based on a kinematic model.  We will explain the importance of determining the Hubble Constant to high accuracy for constraining the equation of state of Dark Energy and describe the Mega-maser Cosmology Project that has the goal of determining the Hubble Constant to better than 3%.  Time permitting, we will also present the scientific capabilities of the current and future NRAO facilities: ALMA, EVLA, VLBA and GBT, for addressing key astrophysical problems.

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