Public Star Night 18 December 2015 – John Ensworth – The Star of Wonder

Our guest speaker for this public star night will be our own volunteer John Ensworth and the title of his talk will be “The Star of Wonder”.

The nature of the star has been lost in history, confused by the passage of time. For millennia, believers, scoffers and the curious have wondered at the Biblical account of the Star. The Bible recounts unusual or even impossible astronomical events at Christ’s birth. For many doubters, the account of the Star is easily dismissed as myth. For many believers, it’s a mystery accepted on faith. And yet, the question of the nature of the Star of Bethlehem is of such interest to religion, to history, to science and philosophy, that we really can’t dismiss the mystery. Indeed, we can turn to each of these disciplines for assistance in our search for the nature of the star.
John will show us the possible origin of this phenomenon using various historical timelines and current modern day techniques to attempt to solve the mystery.

John Ensworth is the NASA Science Education Product Review Project Manager at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies working with NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. He conducts independent reviews of all Earth and Space Science education products produced by or for NASA. ( He conducts workshops and professional development opportunities year around and at national science education meetings like the NSTA and the AGU. He has a master’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and has undergraduate degrees in physics & astronomy, geography & meteorology with minors in math and computer science.

He became interested in astronomy in the 2nd grade and began to teach astronomy to cub scouts and boy scouts by the 5th grade. He worked for the Arizona State University planetarium when Halley’s Comet paid the inner solar system a visit in 1985-1986 and was a planetarium lecturer at the Oklahoma City Omniplex Planetarium for almost 10 years. He has worked at Steward Observatory, at the University of Arizona, Tucson and conducted site testing for the placement of the Mt. Graham observatory complex. He has also observed at the 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, a 36” telescope at Kitt Peak, and at the Multi-Mirror Telescope at Mt. Whipple.

More recently he has conducted over 50 astronomy nights for Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland audiences, has taught college level astronomy for almost 25 years including at the University of Phoenix and is a volunteer for the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, CO.

The observatory doors will open at 7:00pm and the talk will start at 7:30pm.
Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through our large telescopes 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:

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