** As we have for the last few years, we will have a collection of Solar Telescopes available to everyone on the 3rd floor pool deck of the Hilton Hotel. Weather permitting, between approximately 11:30am and 3:30pm each day, take a few minutes to see what's happening on the surface of the Star that gives us life. After an unusually quiet period (over a year), our Sun seems to finally be waking up. There are a series of sunspots and many prominences that can be seen now. Each day, Stephen Ramsden will be there to explain what you're seeing. FYI - you will see Stephen and his solar telescopes on the forthcoming '4 Days of Dragon*Con' airing on many PBS stations sometime this month.
** Speaking of telescopes and live viewing - our nighttime Live Astronomy will be something very special this year. We will be using a telescope from the Southern Hemisphere, located in Chile! Very little chance of bad weather in the mountains of Chile to interfere with sky watching. lol So many sights in the night sky that we, in the Northern Hemisphere can't see, such as, The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, the Southern Cross, the Andromeda Galaxy! Join Dr. Keel in the Space Track room, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights after regular programming ends and choose the sights you want to see. Runs until we can't stay awake any longer or the Sun rises! The front page of the Space & Science Tracks web page has a slide show of astronomical pictures. All are from our Live Astronomy sessions except the first 10. Those first 10 pictures are Dr. Keel's first images taken from the same SARA telescope in Cerro Tololo, Chile that we will be using this year!
** Attention - All James Marsters fans!! You many have seen my post a week or so back announcing that he will be doing a talk on the Space Track this year. : - ) Yes, it is true but this has nothing to do with Buffy, Angel, Smallville, Torchwood, Caprica or even DragonBall Z. This is Space! Many of you may have missed James in the movie 'MoonShot' which aired on the History Channel in 2009 for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Well, we at the Space Track certainly didn't and we've invited him to talk about a very different kind of role for him. Playing Living Legend, astronaut Buzz Aldrin! The second man to walk on the Moon! This talk is SPECIFIC to his role and the movie but we welcome everyone to attend. Saturday, 2:30pm in the Hilton Hotel's Crystal Ballroom.
** Do you love graphic novels? Even those found online? Well the Space Track is having the world debut of the graphic novel 'The Mystery of Hanny's Voorwerp'. The mystery of what, you're asking? Come find out Friday night at 10pm in the Hilton's Crystal Ballroom. You'll also see some brand new, never before seen Hubble pictures as well. : - )
** Just announced in the past week, the Space Track is very honored to be hosting Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee. She and the other relatives of the Challenger astronauts choose to keep alive the goals that their family members gave their lives for - the importance of space science education! To do so, together they founded The Challenger Center for Space Science Education. Continuing that theme, Dr. Scobee Rodgers has teamed up with husband and wife authors, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta on a new series of young adult space science adventure books called 'Star Challengers'. Dr. Scobee Rodgers, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta will join the Space Track on Saturday, at 1pm in the track room - Hilton Hotel, room 203.
** Some other interesting and fun topics - our JPL scientists will be returning for more stories from behind the scenes. There will be a number of talks on what is happening with the US Space Program. Our female scientists will again talk about the challenges faced by women in pursuing careers in science and engineering and ways to help the women in your life over come them. We will also be updating the status of the great Space Observatories; talking about the discoveries that make our solar system very different than the one you learned about in school and lots of talks on what's happening with the various probes out in our solar system, including the Voyagers which are in the process of LEAVING our solar system!
Check out the full (tentative!) track schedule here and you can check on the tentative Science Track schedule here.
We look forward to seeing you all this year!
- rain -
Director - Space Track