Public Star Night April 21, 2017 – Dr Gordon MacAlpine – Earth’s Climate Past, Present, and Back to the Future

Our guest speaker is Dr Gordon MacAlpine, and the title of his presentation is “Earth’s Climate Past, Present, and Back to the Future”

This public talk, supplemented with visual aids, is intended for a general audience.  We will examine changing climatic conditions on Earth, from its origin just over 4.5 billion years ago to the present.

In astronomy, we employ our telescopes to look out into space and back in time to view the Universe as it existed in the past.  Then we can use the past to extrapolate into the future in order to understand how the Universe’s overall “climate” will continue to cool over time.  With the Earth, we can also use past atmospheric and associated climate conditions to envision where the present rapidly-changing composition of our atmosphere may be leading us.  As we take such a look “back to the future,” the Earth will still be here, but it will probably be significantly altered.

Our speaker is Dr. Gordon MacAlpine a retired astronomer, physicist and a member of the EVAS club.  He received a BA in physics from Earlham College and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin. After a stint at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan where he was a Professor of Astronomy until 2000.  Then he accepted the Zilker Distinguished Professor of Physics chair at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where he continued teaching astronomy, physics, and environmental science until his retirement in 2012.  Gordon and his wife, Barbara, recently moved to Estes Park.

The doors will open at 7:00pm and the presentation will start at 7:30pm.  Weather permitting after the presentation (around 8:30 PM), visitors will be invited to observe various celestial objects through our 6” Astro-Physics Refractor, 18” Tinsley and 24” Cole Reflector telescopes.

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

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