Virtual Public Star Night 16 April 2021, 8pm

Virtual Public Star Night – Friday, April 16, 2021
 Guest Speaker: 8:00-9:00 | Telescope Images: 9:00-10:00 – weather permitting

Here is the link for the broadcast:
“Metamorphosis – Seeing Supernovae in a New Light”

Our guest speaker for this virtual public star night will be Dr Jennifer Hoffman, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of Denver.  The title of her presentation is “Metamorphosis – Seeing Supernovae in a New Light”.

We often talk about a supernova explosion as “the end of a star’s life,” but I prefer to think of it as a transformation from one type of cosmic entity to another. This transitional nature means we can use supernovae, which are visible at enormous distances, as clues to the nature of the stars that produced them and predictors of what new phenomena may arise from them. To explore these links, my collaborators and I use a combination of polarized-light observations and 3-D computer simulations to reveal the complex shapes created both by supernova explosions in faraway galaxies and by normal stellar winds in binary star systems right in our own Galactic backyard. I’ll talk about these projects and what we are learning from them about the process of stellar metamorphosis. I will also introduce DU SciTech, a summer camp that I co-direct that offers hands-on STEM experiences and mentoring to middle-school girls of color in Denver.

Jennifer Hoffman earned her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin and held a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley before joining the faculty at DU. Her research interests focus on the late stages of massive stellar evolution, in particular on the influence of binary stars in shaping supernova explosions. She also sees her roles as an educator and mentor as a vital part of her scholarship. In all these arenas, Jennifer works to expand opportunities and remove barriers to participation in physics and astronomy for people from minoritized groups. Recognizing that successful learning and scientific discovery depend not only on individual efforts but also on the academic and social environment we navigate, she strives to create an ecology within her communities (from local to global) that supports all participants toward reaching their full creative and scientific potential.

Weather permitting after the virtual presentation, visitors will be invited to continue to view real time images of the celestial spheres as imaged through one of our large telescopes.  Our Public Star Nights are usually held the third Friday of each month, except July, when we are closed for annual maintenance.
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