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Monday, August 31, 2015

Public Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory


Friday, October 21, 2011, 7 – 11 PM 

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

(park east of the high school; directions are posted at

The guest speaker will be Dr Thomas Bogdan from NOAA. The title of his talk will be “Space Weather”.

Space weather refers to conditions on the Sun and in the space environment that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems, and can endanger human life or health.  Space weather takes the form of episodic mass ejections—or “solar tsunamis”—from the Sun, sporadic showers of energetic particles and bursts of radiation associated with solar flares, and intermittent high-speed streams of magnetized solar wind plasma that buffet the Earth’s magnetosphere and induce geomagnetic storms and create the beautiful aurora.  Our rapidly evolving high-tech global economy has become increasingly vulnerable to the disruptive impacts of space weather on satellite telecommunications, GPS-based navigation and timing, transpolar commercial aviation, and the human exploration and commercial utilization of space.  NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is the Nation’s official source for space weather alerts, watches and warnings.  It operates 24×7, and is designated a National Critical System by the US Department of Homeland Security.

To find out more about space weather go to

Thomas Bogdan has been the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, located in Boulder, Colorado, since May of 2006.  In this capacity he serves as the principal representative for civil space weather operations in the United States and is the national liaison to the World Meteorological Organization for space weather matters.  He is also a co-chair of the multi-agency National Space Weather Program.

The Space Weather Prediction Center is the official source for our Nation’s space weather prediction, forecast and warning services.  It operates 24/7 with a yearly budget of $9 Million, and is one of only four Department of Homeland Security-designated National Critical Systems in the National Weather Service.  Approximately 50 civil servants and a dozen contractors work to provide space weather guidance that is critical for the aerospace industry, our homeland security and national defense, Global Navigation Satellite Services, commercial aviation, and the integrity of the power grid.

A Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. Bogdan was previously a senior scientist and an administrator with the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), from 1983 to 2006.  There he carried out fundamental research on solar magnetic activity, led the Societal Environmental Research and Education Laboratory, and directed NCAR’s prestigious Advanced Studies Program.  Between 2001 and 2003, Dr. Bogdan served as the Program Director for the Solar-Terrestrial Research Section of NSF’s Atmospheric Sciences Division.  During this time he was instrumental in developing the NSF’s first bridged faculty program in the space sciences, that resulted in the creation of eight new tenure track faculty lines devoted to solar-terrestrial research and education at several major U.S. universities.

Dr. Bogdan earned his Doctorate in Physics at the University of Chicago in 1984, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in mathematics/physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1979.  He is the author of over 100 papers in solar-terrestrial research, was the recipient of the Gregor Wentzel and Valentine Telegdi Prizes from the University of Chicago.  He spent the summer of 1989 as a Visiting Gauss Professor at the Universitäts Sternwarte in Göttingen.

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 the observatory is 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:

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