Public Star Night 18 August 2017 – John Ensworth – “Astronomy Apps for the Eclipse and Beyond…”

This month’s presentation will be a tour-de-force of apps useful for preparing for the total solar eclipse a few days later on Monday August 21, 2017.  The apps will be demonstrated on an iOS device, but most have versions that for Android as well. Topics covered will be: How to visualize the eclipse, how to time the eclipse where you go, how to forecast for the eclipse, how to navigate the traffic, and even how to find a bathroom.  Most apps demonstrated will be useful for your astronomy interests in the months and years to come.  You will be given a list to refer to (with current app prices) and can request a demonstration of any you see on the list.  We will not discuss the Planet of the Apps though.

John Ensworth is currently the Principle Investigator of the NASA SMD Independent Education Product Review at the IGES, which is a non-profit organization formed, in part, to conduct independent reviews on all earth and space science education products produced by or created for NASA ( His position is the one responsible for conducting these reviews and helping with NASA education and outreach efforts through the Web ( and at large education conferences (i.e. NSTA, NCTM, and the ASP) that introduce the products that are scientifically accurate and appropriate for the educational audience they are intended for. In the 90’s Mr. Ensworth was a masters’ student and a PhD candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He earned undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy, and geography and meteorology with an emphasis in math and computer science.

John 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 taught the astronomy labs, was the head TA and eventually taught an astronomy course through the rest of the 80’s (as an undergraduate). He worked an internship at Steward Observatory, at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and conducted site testing for the placement of the Mt. Graham observatory complex. He also observed at the 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, a 36” telescope at Kitt Peak, and at the Multi-Mirror Telescope (now the Mega Mirror Telescope) at Mt. Whipple.

More recently, he’s run more than 50 astronomy nights for Arizona, Oklahoma, Virginia and Colorado residents. He served an internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the year 2000 and is a volunteer at the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, Colorado. He teaches math and science courses at the University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and Mid-American Christian University.

You can view a Webcam of his backyard observatory (Cherrywood Observatory) in Longmont, CO by searching for weather in Longmont at the Weather Underground under Webcam links or at

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:

Posted in LTO News