Adirondack Sky Center
Tupper Lake, New York
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Recent Events - 2021

The Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory switched to virtual events and online presentations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued remote presentations this year. Here's a list of those events and presentations so far this year, along with a link to the recording of each presentation on our YouTube channel, so that you can enjoy each of these great talks again.


"What is a Planet?" - David Aguilar

Being an astronomer, author, planetarium director, lecturer and past media director at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, I am still asked the question, "Is Pluto a Planet"? As a member of the New Horizons Pluto Mission Team and Ultima Thule fly-by team at Johns Hopkins, I can unequivocally say YES, Pluto and our other dwarf planets are planets. Find out why it is time for the IAU to return to this topic and modify and clarify what the definition of what a planet really is...

David A. Aguilar is an internationally recognized naturalist/astronomer, author, space artist and musician with the unique ability to open minds to the vast frontiers of space and their potential effects on our own world. He strives to inspire young space enthusiasts with his award-winning books designed for kids and space learners of all ages. David is former Director of Science Information and Public Outreach at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA, the world’s largest astronomical research organization.

Thursday, November 4th, 2021 at 7:00 pm via Zoom

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"Ultima Thule, the Most Distant Object Man Has Visited" - Mike Adler

Ultima Thule is the most distant object ever visited at 4.1 billion miles away and the New Horizon’s spacecraft passed within 3500km of it on January 1. The object is shaped like a rocky snowman and spins like a lopsided propeller facing the sun, tilted 90° from its orbit plane and is about 22 miles long. Its scientific interest lies in the fact that it was likely formed at the time of the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago but has seen little change since then. Thus it offers an opportunity to study the process by which planets were initially formed. The talk will explore the latest data from the mission and will also provide updates on the discovery of a buried ocean on Pluto.

The NASA Dawn space mission was launched in 2007 to explore two of the three proto planets in the solar system, Vesta and Ceres which are located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres contains 200 million cubic kilometers of water in its mantle which is more than all of the fresh water on earth. Vesta is 220km in size and in contrast is a water poor world with a metallic iron nickel core. In this talk the detailed images of these asteroids will be presented and the very interesting geography and geology of both asteroids will be discussed. Vesta for example has some massive craters with one called Rheasilvia being 19km deep with a central peak 23km above the crater floor.

The last part of the talk will be about the ESA’s Rosetta mission to the comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is the only mission to orbit a comet and it was able to study the comet as it moved towards the sun. One of its notable results was determining that the comet has a Deuterium to Hydrogen ration 3× higher than on earth. This strongly indicates that earth’s water is not likely to have come from comets.

Mike Adler graduated from MIT in 1971 as a PhD in the area of solid state physics and worked at General Electric from 1971 until his retirement in 2000. He has given talks on a number of topics in astronomy, geology, climate change, and travel to groups in New York, the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada in Ontario and the Geologists of Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming.

Thursday, October 7th, 2021 at 7:00 pm via Zoom

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"Measuring the Universe with Exploding Stars" - Dr. Aileen O’Donoghue

Supernovae, exploding stars that glow brighter than their home galaxies, allow astronomers to determine the distances to those galaxies. Radio observations of hydrogen emissions in galaxies reveal their motion away from us. Since the universe is expanding, all galaxies are moving away from us and the more distant galaxies are moving away faster as first measured by Edwin Hubble in 1929. Distances from supernovae thus allow calculation of galaxies’ expansion speeds. Galaxies, however, are immersed in a web of clusters and superclusters to which individual galaxies are gravitationally attracted. As they fall toward the other galaxies, an additional “peculiar velocity” is added to their expansion speed. I will discuss how we determine the peculiar velocities for those galaxies with distance measurements in order to map the underlying structure of dark matter giving rise to the web of galaxy clusters and superclusters in which the Milky Way and all other galaxies are immersed.

Dr. Aileen O'Donoghue is the Henry Priest Professor of Physics at St. Lawrence University, and a member of the Adirondack Sky Center board of directors.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 at 7:00 pm via Zoom

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"Stars, from Birth to Death" - Dr. Josh Thomas

This presentation will begin at the end, and end at the beginning. The cycle of star (and planet) formation begins in clouds, and ends with gas ejected back into space. The mass of a star governs its fate. High mass stars meet the end in dramatic fashion, and the stellar remnants are some of the most captivating objects in the universe. Did someone say black holes? Low mass stars, like our own Sun, on the other hand end in comparatively less dramatic ways.

Dr. Josh Thomas is an Associate Professor of Physics and the Director of the Reynolds Observatory at Clarkson University, as well as a member of the Adirondack Sky Center board.

Thursday, August 5th - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"The Big Dipper: Signpost in the Sky" - Seth McGowan

It is easy to get lost when looking up at the night sky. Sometimes, it can be downright disorienting. However, there are obvious stars and star patterns that can help navigate from one constellation to another. It is within those constellations that we find objects in deep space.

Come along for a galactic game of “connect the dots” to reveal an easy to follow path from one place to another in the sky above. You will never get lost again.

Seth McGowan is the former Superintendent of Schools for the Tupper Lake Central School District and Vice President of the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory.

Thursday, July 8th - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"Where is the Water and Where Did it Come From?" - Michael Adler

Water is essential to life as we know it and over the last 15 years, we have discovered that water is present in surprising places throughout our solar system and beyond. Analysis from the New Horizon’s mission to Pluto strongly suggests that there is a liquid ocean buried on Pluto in spite of the temperatures as cold as -400ºF there.

The Cassini mission to Saturn has discovered water geysers and a likely subsurface ocean on Enceladus. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Ganymede also likely have a buried liquid ocean because of tidal heating effects from Jupiter’s strong gravity.

Closer to home Mars shows signs of having surface oceans during its early existence and large areas of buried ice have been detected. Before it was boiled off by a runaway greenhouse effect, Venus likely has as much water as Earth does now.

Then there is the intense debate as to how Earth acquired its water. Possibilities include bombardment by comets and asteroids and recent evidence suggests that it was incorporated into the Earth during its formation. Overall, it is estimated that the solar system contained as much as 50 times the amount of water present on the Earth and water may be common on exoplanets.

In this talk, we will analyze where water exists in our solar system and beyond and how it got there. We will also discuss the various theories as to how Earth acquired its water. Image caption: Geysers erupting on the surface of Enceladus, photographed by Cassini (NASA/JPL)

Michael Adler graduated from MIT in 1971 as a PhD in the area of solid state physics and worked at General Electric from 1971 until his retirement in 2000. He has given talks on a number of topics in astronomy, geology, climate change, and travel to groups in New York, the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada in Ontario and the Geologists of Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming.

Thursday, May 6th - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"Signs from a Silent Universe" - David A. Aguilar

Astronomers expect the universe to be teeming with extraterrestrial life. But the BIG question is whether there is intelligent technology-based life out there. And if so, why haven’t we detected them?  In the words of Enrico Fermi. “Where is everybody?”… The ideas presented may surprise, disappoint or hopefully enlighten you.

David A. Aguilar is an internationally recognized naturalist/astronomer, author, space artist and musician with the unique ability to open minds to the vast frontiers of space and their potential effects on our own world. He strives to inspire young space enthusiasts with his award-winning books designed for kids and space learners of all ages. David is former Director of Science Information and Public Outreach at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA, the world’s largest astronomical research organization.

Thursday, April 1st - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"A Walk Around the Winter Circle" - Seth McGowan

The Winter Circle is a fascinating asterism in the night sky that hosts many beautiful deep space objects. Take a casual walk around this nursery of stars with stops on many popular favorites. Guiding your trip will be the Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory vice-president, Seth McGowan.

Seth McGowan is the former Superintendent of Schools for the Tupper Lake Central School District and Vice President of the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory.

Thursday, March 4th - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


"The Mysterious SETI Signal from Proxima Centauri" - Robert Naeye

On April 29, 2019, the Parkes Observatory in Australia picked up a narrowband radio signal from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the Sun’s nearest stellar neighbor. The signal has many of the characteristics astronomers expect from an extraterrestrial civilization. The signal is probably human radio interference.

But what if it’s the real deal? Should humanity respond? What should we say, and who should decide? Who speaks for Earth? Are we in danger?

Join freelance science writer and former Sky & Telescope editor in chief Robert Naeye for a discussion of this enigmatic signal and the possible ramifications of having a more advanced civilization less than 5 light-years from Earth.

Friday, February 5th - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.

View a video of this presentation on our YouTube channel


   

 

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