Public Lectures

The schedule below is for the 2016 – 2017 school year.

Our lectures are held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May in our LASP Space Technology Building (in the auditorium—rm. 299) at 7:30 pm.

Doors open at 7 pm. Parking is free in the LSTB lot; all lectures are free and open to the public.

A playlist of the 2015 – 2016 series can be found here: 2015 – 2016 LASP public lecture series.

For more information, contact the LASP Office of Communications and Outreach at: epomail@lasp.colorado.edu.

 



Featured Public Event


Current Schedule:

GOES-R: Space Weather Monitoring for the 21st Century!

GOES-R: Space Weather Monitoring for the 21st Century!
Speaker:   Frank Eparvier
Date:   Wednesday, Oct 05, 2016
Time:   7:30 PM
Location:   LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Abstract:
 

While Al Roker and other meteorologists may be salivating over the new and improved terrestrial weather data to come from GOES-R, there are many others who are more excited by a different set of anticipated measurements from the new series of NOAA satellites: the space weather data. Space weather impacts many aspects of our technology-dependent society, from GPS to satellite navigation to power grids. In this presentation, GOES-R EXIS lead scientist, Frank Eparvier, will give an overview of space weather, how it affects us, and the exciting new capabilities that GOES-R will provide us for realtime space weather monitoring.

Watch the Public Lecture on YouTube

The Success and the Science of the Student-Built MinXSS Solar CubeSat

The Success and the Science of the Student-Built MinXSS Solar CubeSat
Speaker:   James Mason
Date:   Wednesday, Nov 02, 2016
Time:   7:30 PM
Location:   LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Abstract:
 

CU Boulder and LASP have a long history of involving students in every aspect of spacecraft production. The most recent incarnation is the Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSat, which was sent to the International Space Station with resupply cargo and then deployed from the airlock in May 2016. Students were heavily involved in the design, manufacturing, assembly, extensive testing, and delivery of MinXSS to Houston; and they continue to be involved in the mission operations, data pipeline production, and science analysis.

CubeSats are comparatively low cost for spacecraft and, as such, the programs tend to accept more risk, the result of which is a higher rate of failure. The ongoing MinXSS-1 mission has exceeded comprehensive success criteria, has been featured by NASA, and was the first NASA-funded science CubeSat to be launched.

The lead student for MinXSS (now a LASP research scientist), James Mason, will discuss how the team ensured the success of MinXSS. He’ll describe some of the early results from the MinXSS-1 mission, which focus on the energetic processes that occur in the solar corona. Finally, James will reveal the lessons learned from MinXSS-1; fortunately, the team built two satellites so they can apply those lessons on MinXSS-2, scheduled to launch in the first half of 2017.

Watch the Public Lecture on YouTube

Monitoring Climate from Space: Challenges, Opportunities, and LASP Contributions

Monitoring Climate from Space: Challenges, Opportunities, and LASP Contributions
Speaker:   Peter Pilewskie
Date:   Friday, Oct 07, 2016
Time:   7:30 PM
Location:   LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Abstract:
 

Earth’s climate is a manifestation of a long-term balance of energy flows. Climate change occurs when there are energy imbalances, but these accumulate on much longer time scales than regular seasonal or annual cycles, for example. Monitoring climate trends globally from space thus presents a challenge to our observational capabilities: measurements must be accurate and instruments must maintain accuracy over long periods of time. In this talk, CU-Boulder/LASP Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Peter Pilewskie, will discuss how accurate our measurements need to be to detect trends in climate and attribute them to underlying causes, the limitations of instruments currently flying, and new initiatives to develop a robust climate observing system. LASP is at the forefront of these initiatives, with novel instruments and mission concepts to meet these challenges.

Watch the Public Lecture on YouTube

Surprising Solar Flares: Studying the Sun as a Star

Surprising Solar Flares: Studying the Sun as a Star
Speaker:   Tom Woods
Date:   Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017
Time:   7:30 PM
Location:   LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Abstract:
 

Solar flares, as well as their often eruptive companions called coronal mass ejections (CMEs), have been studied for decades. While most of these studies involve imaging the Sun, observations of the Sun as a star (full-disk irradiance) have also revealed interesting results through exploring the spectral variability during flare events. These Sun-as-a-star flare measurements have been made over the past two solar cycles with LASP-built instruments aboard the NASA UARS, TIMED, SORCE, SDO, and MinXSS satellites. Some of the new results from such studies include understanding the flare variability over all wavelengths from the energetic X-rays to the visible, discovering and classifying different flare phases, using coronal dimming measurements to predict CME properties of mass and velocity, and better understanding coronal heating processes.

Watch the Public Lecture on YouTube

NASA GOLD: Unprecedented Imaging from the Boundary Between Earth and Space

NASA GOLD: Unprecedented Imaging from the Boundary Between Earth and Space
Speaker:   Richard Eastes - University of Central Florida
Date:   Wednesday, Apr 05, 2017
Time:   7:30 PM
Location:   LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Abstract:
 

The GOLD mission of opportunity is the first to image the Earth’s Thermosphere-Ionosphere (T-I) system—the boundary between Earth and space—from geostationary orbit. It will also be the first NASA science mission to fly as a hosted payload on a commercial communications satellite. The GOLD mission will study the T-I system’s response to forcing from the Sun and the Earth’s lower atmosphere.

The mission will fly an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, built by LASP, to observe the T-I over most of the American hemisphere at a thirty-minute cadence. From the dayside observations, simultaneous images of the composition and temperatures in the lower thermosphere will be obtained. At night, images of the peak electron densities in the low latitude ionosphere will be obtained.

Our lack of understanding of how composition and densities in the thermosphere and ionosphere respond to forcing is a major contributor to uncertainties in predicting space weather. Consequently, GOLD’s global scale imaging will provide new insights into the response of the T-I system to solar extreme ultraviolet radiation, geomagnetic activity, and the waves and tides originating in Earth’s lower atmosphere. In addition, since GOLD repeatedly images the same geographic locations, it provides context for measurements from low Earth orbit or from the ground. In this talk, GOLD principal investigator, Richard Eastes, will discuss how GOLD measurements will give the scientific community a new perspective on the T-I system and the effects of space weather.

GOLD is scheduled for launch in late 2017.

Watch the Public Lecture on YouTube

NASA’s MMS Mission: Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Magnetic Reconnection

NASA’s MMS Mission: Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Magnetic Reconnection
Speaker:   Allison Jaynes
Date:   Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Time:   7:30 PM
Location:   LSTB (1234 Innovation Drive)

Abstract:
 

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission launched in March 2015 and placed four identical spacecraft into orbit around Earth to study a little-understood phenomenon called magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process of nature that happens in charged particles all across our universe. Reconnection occurs when magnetic field lines meet and reconnect in a different configuration, releasing a gigantic burst of energy in the process. MMS is the only mission currently dedicated to the study of this phenomenon.

In this presentation, Allison Jaynes will discuss the early results from the mission, and the key role LASP plays in the mission itself.

Watch the Public Lecture on YouTube