The Little Thompson Observatory
850 Spartan Ave. Berthoud, CO 80513
Bringing science and math down to earth!
Public Star Night – Friday, May 19, 2023
Little Thompson Observatory
Doors Open: 7:00 | Guest Speaker: 7:30-8:30 | Observing at LTO: 8:30-10:00
Lucy – The First to the Trojans
A special presentation by
Dr. Hal Levison
Dr. Levison will discuss NASA’s Lucy mission. Lucy, selected as part of NASA’s Discovery Program, is the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojans, objects that hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the Solar System. Due to an unusual and fortuitous orbital configuration, Lucy, will perform a comprehensive investigation that visits six of these
primitive bodies, covering both the L4 and L5 swarms, all the known taxonomic types, the largest remnant of a catastrophic collision, and a nearly equal mass binary. It will use a suite of remote sensing instruments to map geologic, surface color and composition, thermal and other physical properties of its targets at close range. Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins. Lucy launched on Oct. 16, 2021. It will have its first encounter with a Trojan on Sept. 15, 2027.
Dr. Levison is the Principal Investigator of the Lucy mission to tour multiple Jupiter trojans which was selected as the thirteenth mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. Dr. Levison’s principal research interests lie in the area of the dynamics of astronomical objects. In particular, he focuses on the formation and long-term behavior of the solar system bodies. Dr. Levison’s work includes studies of the formation of both giant and terrestrial planets, the long-term dynamical behavior of comets, the dynamics of objects in the Kuiper belt, the origin and stability of Trojan asteroids, and the formation of satellites. In 1997, he, with Martin Duncan, predicted the existence of the Scattered Comet Disk. He is perhaps best known, however, for his work on the early dynamical evolution of the outer Solar System, and is an author of the most comprehensive model to date. He is the 2023 winner of the Dirk Brouwer Award.
Following the talk by Dr. Levison, the observatory will be open for public viewing through our telescopes, weather permitting.
For more information, please visit the LTO web site at www.starkids.org