Staff Spotlight - Christine Henderson

November 21, 2019

The Space Centre wouldn’t be what it is today without our amazing staff. We’d like to take a moment to shine the spotlight on a member of our little space family.

What is your position at the Space Centre? 
I am an Interpreter. I am a space science educator. I do shows. I try to make astronomy and astrophysics comprehendible and digestible. I like to show people that it’s not so far out there that they could never understand it, because you can. You just need to decode the language and show them how it works. I think if I can make people interested in space and our planet, maybe they will have more respect for our planet and the life that’s on it. We always talk about life out there in the universe, but there’s life right here! And we should do more to preserve and protect it. 

What’s your favorite memory working at the Space Centre?
My favorite memory here, well there’s been a whole bunch. But, one of them would be looking through the telescope and seeing Jupiter. My favorite part of seeing Jupiter wasn’t actually seeing Jupiter, but seeing the four Galilean moons around it. It was just so breathtaking to see these moons so clearly. You could see the bands of colours on Jupiter as well. They were just suspended in space. I’ve seen pictures and seen it on screens, but seeing it in real life, they’re just there, suspended in space. I was like wow, this is real!  

What is your favorite thing about space?
I love getting into relativity. Space time. My favorite fact is that space and time are connected. You can’t change one without warping the other. The time aspect is really interesting. Time is relative depending on your position and speed and how close you are to massive objects. It’s pretty wacky. And time is the fourth dimension?! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fourth dimension. The way I think of it, the way we experience time, we experience a sliver of time. A slice of time. But it all exists, everything that’s happened and everything that ever will happen. We’re trying to figure out our universe and we’re trying to learn. It’s like trying to do a puzzle with less than a quarter of the pieces. Things like dark matter and dark energy make up the vast majority of our universe. So our senses alone are limited and we’ve extended the reach of our senses with things like different cameras that pick up different wavelengths of light. But we’re still missing a huge piece. So another thing I love about science and astronomy is how little we know. The curiosity and possibilities are endless. I think it’s important for people to realize that science doesn’t know everything. There’s a lot of mysteries and science is the process of uncovering those mysteries. And we are really just in the beginning. We have so much to learn. 

What do you recommend people check out at the Space Centre?
I recommend that people go watch ‘The Universe’ show with Jonathan Teaque. His voice is magical. Everyone’s ‘The Universe’ show is amazing, but if you can see it with Jonathan, you’re really in for an experience. My favourite show to do is also ‘The Universe’. I get to talk about how we understand our universe, the important things to understand before we can try to understand our universe like light and gravity, and talk about what we can see when we look out as far as we possibly can and how it’s all laid out for us. Because the further you look back in space, the further you look back in time, so it’s pretty convenient for a species trying to learn more about our history. It’s right there!