Public Star Night 19 February – Paul Hemmick & Shawn Dahl – NOAA – Space Weather

Our speakers for this evening will be Paul Hemmick and Shawn Dahl from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, CO.

Paul Hemmick will introduce us to the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. The NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, is one of seven federal uniformed services of the United States and operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency within the Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps today provides a cadre of professionals, trained in engineering, earth sciences, oceanography, meteorology, fisheries science, and other related disciplines. NOAA Corps officers operate NOAA ships, fly NOAA aircraft, manage research projects, conduct diving operations, and serve in staff positions throughout NOAA, as well as in positions in the United States Department of Defense, the United States Coast Guard, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the United States Department of State.

LCDR Hemmick began his NOAA Corps (pronounced CORE) career as a junior officer aboard the NOAA Ship Oregon Two, a fisheries research vessel based in Pascagoula, Mississippi followed by a fast paced staff position as Admiral’s Aide at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. After applying for and gaining acceptance into flight school, LCDR Hemmick was assigned to the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center in Minneapolis, MN as a low-level snow survey pilot. Now based at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, LCDR Hemmick is excited to be involved in the space weather community and share his experience with you. He is here tonight to provide a quick introduction on the NOAA Corps and the opportunities that exist for science minded youth interested in serving their country.

Shawn Dahl will present a talk about why space weather is important to monitor and forecast. He will give a brief history of space weather that led to its current relevance and importance to modern day life. He will also review the primary phenomena NOAA monitors, forecasts, and issues watches, warnings and alerts for, and what that all means to the general public.

Shawn Dahl is a space weather forecaster, currently working for NOAA and the NWS at the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, CO. Shawn retired from the US Air Force after 22 years of service as an intelligence analyst, meteorologist, and space weather forecaster. After retiring from the AF in 2007, Shawn began work for DoD (Dept of Defense) working as a meteorologist doing world-wide weather forecasting for AF missions around the globe. In 2012, Shawn was hired by the NWS and moved to Hawaii to manage the cooperative weather observing program, conduct upper air soundings and create specialized forecasts for the island of Kauai. In 2015, Shawn was hired by SWPC where he began work as a space weather forecaster. Shawn’s background in space weather stemmed primarily from his 4 years in Puerto Rico at an AF solar observatory where he monitored the sun for important solar activity, analyzed and reported such events, and conducted daily sunspot drawings. From there he moved to California and spent 2 years as a space weather forecaster in support of the 14th AF, SPACEAF, and NORAD; creating specialized space weather forecasts and conducting anomaly studies and reports.

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. Our doors will open at 7:00pm, and our speakers will talk from 7:30- 8:30pm. General observing will be 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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