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Public Lectures  -  Fall 2009 / Spring 2010

The 2009-2010 lecture series will begin on Wednesday, October 7th. Lectures are the first Wednesday of every month in Auditorium 299 at 7:30 pm. Doors open at 7 pm.

Parking and admission are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Tom Mason (epomail@lasp.colorado.edu or 303-492-8257).




Fall 2009, Spring 2010 Public Lectures

Dust in Space – What Can We Learn from It?

Dust in Space – What Can We Learn from It?
Speaker:   Dr. Zoltan Sternovsky, LASP
Date:   May 5, 2010
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

Space is not entirely empty- dust is abundant between stars, called the interstellar medium, and in the Solar System between the planets. Interstellar dust particles are the building blocks of new stars and planetary systems. Generated by supernovae explosions and dispersed throughout the Universe, dust becomes part of molecular clouds, the birthplace of newly forming stars. Recent space missions carried dust-measuring instrumentation to study the properties of the interplanetary dust and and discovered the presence of interstellar dust particles in the inn er solar system. Dr. Sternovsky will discuss the nature of dust, where it comes from, and how it tells us where we once came from long ago.

Climate Panel

Climate Panel
Speaker:   Dr. Cora Randall
Date:   April 14, 2010
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00
Location:   LSTB, A200
Abstract:  

Join Dr. Cora Randall and ATOC PhD candidates Kim Trenbath, Jason English, Mariah Walton, and Rachel Humphrey as they dispel some commonly held myths about climate change in this panel, followed by open discussion.

Energetic Particles Trapped in Space: Understanding Earth's Van Allen Radiation Belts

Energetic Particles Trapped in Space: Understanding Earth's Van Allen Radiation Belts
Speaker:   Dr. Scot Elkington, LASP
Date:   April 7, 2010
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

The Van Allen radiation belts occupy a region of space that extends from just outside our atmosphere up to several Earth radii in altitude. Populated by super energetic particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, these belts are of crucial importance to space-based technology and manned spaceflight. Dr. Elkington will discuss the nature and origin of the radiation belts, the potentially hazardous effects of energetic particles on satellites and astronauts, and efforts being taken today that will mitigate these hazards.

Probing Our Atmosphere from High Altitude and Long Duration Balloons

Probing Our Atmosphere from High Altitude and Long Duration Balloons
Speaker:   Dr. Lars Kalnajs, LASP
Date:   March 3, 2010
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

In 1783, a lighter than air balloon enabled us to make some of the first direct measurements of our atmosphere above the surface of Earth. Since then, scientific ballooning has given us a window into the structure and composition of our atmosphere and continues to be an invaluable tool to study everything from ozone depletion to climate change. Dr. Kalnajs will discuss the history and evolution of scientific ballooning and the important role it still plays in understanding our atmosphere. He will also talk about future directions for scientific ballooning, including an upcoming long duration balloon mission by LASP and other institutes to study the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole from the inside.

The Current Solar Cycle Minimum: Low, Lower, or Lowest?

The Current Solar Cycle Minimum: Low, Lower, or Lowest?
Speaker:   Dr. Martin Snow, LASP
Date:   February 3, 2010
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

No abstract available.

Kepler: Progress in the Detection of Earth-size Planets in the Habitable Zone of Solar-like Stars

Kepler: Progress in the Detection of Earth-size Planets in the Habitable Zone of Solar-like Stars
Speaker:   Dr. Bill Borucki
Date:   January 14, 2010
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

Dr. Bill Borucki, principal investigator of the Kepler mission, will describe how the Kepler telescope is returning data on possible life in our galaxy by determining the number of terrestrial planets in a habitable zone.

Launched on March 6, 2009, and operated by LASP, Kepler is now monitoring the brightness of 150,000 solar-like stars to determine the planet radius, orbital distance and location. This lecture will also give you insight into several new planets discovered with the data obtained during the first 43 days of Kepler’s mission.

The 2013 MAVEN Mission to Mars

The 2013 MAVEN Mission to Mars
Speaker:   Dr. Bruce Jakosky, LASP
Date:   December 2, 2009
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

The next Mars mission under development for NASA is the Mars
Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN), to be launched in 2013. MAVEN will explore the upper atmosphere of Mars in detail for the first time. MAVEN will help scientists determine the rate of escape of gases from the upper atmosphere to space today and extrapolate backward in time to determine the total loss to space throughout Martian history. MAVEN will help answer the question: What role has atmospheric escape played in the history of Mars’ climate? The answer will provide us with a history of liquid water on Mars, and ultimately, potential planetary habitability over time. Dr. Jakosky will discuss the scientific drivers behind the mission and the details of the technical implementation. Launch is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2013; detailed planning and design is just beginning.

Watch this Public Lecture on YouTube

Noctilucent Cloud on the Edge of Space – Shedding Light on the Atmosphere

Noctilucent Cloud on the Edge of Space – Shedding Light on the Atmosphere
Speaker:   Dr. Bodil Karlsson, LASP
Date:   November 4, 2009
Time:   7:30 PM, Doors open at 7:00 PM
Location:   LSTB, Auditorium
Abstract:  

The discovery of noctilucent (night shining) clouds in 1885 revealed an atmosphere which extended far higher than expected. Since then, these clouds have challenged scientists around the world to find out why they form and vary. Because they scatter solar light, they shimmer at altitudes far above the typical cloud (~51 miles) which makes them […]

What Caused the Rivers on Mars: Climate Change or Impacts?

What Caused the Rivers on Mars: Climate Change or Impacts?
Speaker:   Dr. Brian Toon
Date:   October 7, 2009
Time:   7:30, Doors open at 7:00
Location:   LSTB, 299
Abstract:  

Since Mariner 9 took images of Martian river valleys in 1971, we have struggled to understand how they were formed. Mars is thought to have had a dense atmosphere with enough greenhouse gases to have maintained a balmy, wet climate. To date, no one has managed to construct a climate model to support this theory and the river valleys remain a mystery. Recently, a new idea has emerged suggesting that asteroid impacts may have led to the release of water from beneath Mars’ surface. This talk will explore how impacts could create rivers and Mars’ climate history.

Watch this Public Lecture on YouTube

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