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Saturday, November 28, 2015

December Star Nights (2) at the LTO

Friday December 16, 2011 7 – 11 PM

Special 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


The guest speaker for this public star night will be LTO volunteer John Ensworth and the title of his special talk will be “Are we alone?”

What is life? Are there extreme environments on Earth where we are surprised to find life? Does this tell us anything about where we might find life elsewhere in the universe? Ensworth will explore science’s search for life on Earth and in the solar system. He will give an update on the search for Earth-like worlds in our stellar neighborhood and will look at the efforts of programs like SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and see how you can contribute to the search.

John Ensworth is the Senior Science Education Specialist at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies working with NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. He conducts independent reviews of all Earth and Space Science education products produced by or for NASA. ( He conducts workshops and professional development opportunities year around and at national science education meetings like the NSTA and the AGU. He has a master’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and has undergraduate degrees in physics & astronomy, geography & meteorology with minors in math and computer science.

He 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 was a planetarium lecturer at the Oklahoma City Omniplex Planetarium for almost 10 years. He has worked at Steward Observatory, at the University of Arizona, Tucson and conducted site testing for the placement of the Mt. Graham observatory complex. He has also observed at the 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, a 36” telescope at Kitt Peak, and at the Multi-Mirror Telescope at Mt. Whipple.

More recently he has conducted over 50 astronomy nights for Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland audiences, has taught college level astronomy for almost 25 years and is a volunteer for the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, CO.

The observatory doors will open at 7:00 pm and the talk will start at 7:30pm.

Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through the large telescope at various celestial objects.


Friday December 23, 2011

7 – 11 PM

 The guest speaker for this special public star night will be LTO volunteer John Ensworth and the title of his special talk will be “The Star of Wonder.”

The Star of Bethlehem Fascinates

The nature of the star has been lost in history, confused by the passage of time. For millennia, believers, scoffers and the curious have wondered at the Biblical account of the Star. The Bible recounts unusual or even impossible astronomical events at Christ’s birth. For many doubters, the account of the Star is easily dismissed as myth. For many believers, it’s a mystery accepted on faith. Yet, the question of the nature of the Star of Bethlehem is of such interest to religion, to history, to science and philosophy, that we really cannot dismiss the mystery. Indeed, we can turn to each of these disciplines for assistance in our search for the nature of the star.

John will show the possible origin of this phenomenon using various historical timelines and current modern day techniques to attempt to solve the mystery.

The observatory doors will open at 7:00pm and the talk will start at 7:30pm.

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:




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