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Star Night at the LTO, December 17

Friday, December 17, 2010  7:00 – 11:00 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

The guest speaker for this Friday is Dr John Ristvey, a Senior Director at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). The title of his talk will be: “Comet Mysteries Revealed: A tale of two spacecraft, three comets, and four missions – Oh My.”

Comet Hartley

Learn about two exciting NASA Discovery Program missions encountering comets, two of which are arriving at their spectacular destinations this winter! For the EPOXI mission, the Deep Impact spacecraft was re-purposed to fly by comet Hartley 2 on November 4, 2010. We will review some of the imagery and science from this mission and preview the upcoming Stardust-NExT mission set to fly by comet Tempel 1 on February 14, 2011.

Participants will sample hands-on educational activities provided by the education and public outreach team from McREL.

Dr. Ristvey is responsible for managing the work and resources of multiple contracts including education and public outreach for NASA’s Dawn mission with UCLA, EPOXI mission with University of Maryland, and Stardust/NExT mission with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Whitney Cobb is a senior consultant with McREL. As a former teacher and administrator, she has many years experience engaging students and teachers in the compelling stories of science in schools across the country.

Sandra Weeks is also a senior consultant at McREL. She has worked as a classroom teacher for high school science. At McREL, she has developed assessment items, reviewed instructional materials, and created lesson plans for science and mathematics.

Weather permitting, after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through the 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). No reservations are necessary for these nights. Just come and join in 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:


Meinte Veldhuis
President, Little Thompson Science Foundation

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