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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Saturday, October 25, 2014

April Star Night at the LTO

Friday, April 19, 2013

7 – 11 p.m.

Public Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory, 850 Spartan Ave at Berthoud High School

(park east of the high school; directions are posted on  www.starkids.org).

Dr Dan Durda April Star Night at the LTOThe guest speaker is Dr. Dan Durda, from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, CO.

The title of his talk is “Getting Ready to Fly in Space”.

He will talk about SwRI’s suborbital research program, his role in working with both Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace for the suborbital space flights they will do in the coming couple years, and what it’s like to be in training for these flights.

Dan Durda is a Fellow and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Astronomical Artists. His space art has appeared in numerous magazines, web news stories, and books and has been internationally exhibited. He has co-authored a book and published dozens of articles popularizing planetary science and human exploration of space.

Dr. Durda is a Principal Scientist in the Department of Space Studies of the Southwest Research Institute’s Boulder Colorado office. He has more than twenty years of experience researching the collisional and dynamical evolution of main-belt and near-Earth asteroids, Vulcanoids, Kuiper belt comets, and interplanetary dust. He is an active pilot, with time logged in over a dozen types of aircraft including the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-104 Starfighter, and was a finalist in the 2004 NASA astronaut selection. He serves as a flight astronomer for the SWUIS-A airborne astronomical imaging system flown aboard NASA and military high-performance, high-altitude aircraft and has spent over 84 minutes of time in zero-gravity conducting experiments on NASA’s KC-135 Reduced Gravity Research Aircraft. Durda is one of three SwRI payload specialists who will fly on multiple suborbital spaceflights on Virgin Galactic’s Enterprise and XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx.

Dr. Durda is an experienced cave diver and holds multiple scuba and cave diving certifications, including Full Cave and Cave Recovery Specialist. He enjoys hiking in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, photography, and paleontology.

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

Public star nights at LTO are held the third Friday of each month (except July, when the facility is closed for annual maintenance). No reservations are necessary for these nights.

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

Public Star Nights at the Pioneer Museum, 224 Mountain Avenue in Berthoud, home of the historical 6” Brashear Refractor from John Bunyan, are held on the first Friday of each month. If you have any questions, please call the Bunyan observatory information line at 970-532-2147 or check the museum web site at: http://www.berthoudhistoricalsociety.org/bunyan.htm

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