Our guest speaker for Friday October 23 2015 will be Dr Dennis Ebbets. The title of his talk will be “Twenty five years of discovery with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope”
This public lecture and slide show will describe the design and construction of the Hubble Space Telescope, its launch into orbit, and its use by astronomers here on Earth. In order to support a twenty five year mission NASA conducted service missions with the now retired space shuttles every few years to make repairs and to install updated equipment. Astronauts visited the telescope in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2009. We will discuss the repairs and upgrades which were made, and how they have enhanced the capabilities of the observatory. A particularly important mission was the first one, during which the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement, COSTAR was installed to improve the image quality of the telescope. We will discuss some of the important scientific results obtained with Hubble during its lifetime. Examples include planets in our solar system, the formation of new stars and possibly solar systems in the process of forming around very young stars. Debris from exploding stars and infant galaxies in the far reaches of the universe have also been photographed by Hubble. Discussion and questions about the telescope and its scientific program will be welcomed.
Dennis Ebbets spent the majority of his thirty-seven year professional career involved with NASA’s space astronomy projects. His academic credentials include a BS in Physics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, and at Ball Aerospace in Boulder were devoted to the Hubble Space Telescope, its science instruments, science programs and servicing missions. During nearly thirty years at Ball he worked on the development of three instruments for Hubble, and design studies for many other NASA missions. Since retiring from Ball in 2015 Dennis has remained active with education and public outreach activities and serving on committees for NASA’s Astrophysics Division.
Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through our large telescope at various celestial objects. Public star nights are held the third Friday of each month (except July, when we are closed for annual maintenance). No reservations are necessary for these nights. Just come and join us for the talk and some observing afterwards. If you have any questions, please call the observatory information line at 970-613-7793 or check the LTO web site at: www.starkids.org