In the spirit of Global Astronomy Month GAM - see my previous blog - I will be starting my third season of “Let’s Talk About Space at Shenandoah National Park” tonight http://www.goshenandoah.com/activities-events/astronomy and hope to see you there during the season.
This week the National Academies http://www.nationalacademies.org Science Division held its annual Space Science Week http://sites.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb_170495 at its D.C. headquarters. Luminaries from across the country in space science met in the following committees:
Each year during Space Sciences Week a public lecture is held and this year it was given by Dr. Alan Stern https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Stern the Principal Investigator for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto http://pluto.jhuapl.edu which is controlled by our very own Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
Dr. Stern’s lecture attracted quite a large crowd including young adults and children. The highlight for me, besides getting to meet Dr. Stern, was finding out that his favorite photograph of the Pluto flyby was the backlit portrait of Pluto showing its blue atmosphere. He said it was his favorite because “it proves that we were there”.
|Dr. Stern's Fave Pluto Photo|
The other highlight was seeing the young attendees clamoring for autographs and pictures with Dr. Stern. To see such an accomplished scientist taking the time to sign autographs and pose with each and every single person - including me - well after his lecture had ended speaks volumes to his character. I’d like to think that Dr. Stern will be the catalyst that propels some of these admirers into science.
|Dr. Stern & I give a 'High Nine" for Pluto|
With the return of data from last year’s flyby at the halfway point Pluto will no doubt continue to amaze us. And if NASA approves the funding, the New Horizons spacecraft will conduct a flyby of Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU 69 http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150828 in January 2019 - a billion miles beyond Pluto.
You can see Dr. Stern’s lecture here http://livestream.com/accounts/7036396/SSWLecture2016
Sky Guy in VA