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NEXT MEETING: March 24, 2023
6:30pm - FYI: TBD
7:30pm - Speaker: Annie Wargetz     Topic: We are All Explorers

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Exploration in March

amateria Published on March 11, 2023

Our next meeting will be held on Friday, March 24 at the Ponderosa fire station.

The zoom link is Here

Join us at 6:30 for the fun and educational FYI session and then at 7:30 we will have an exciting presentation by Annie Wargetz who will present We are All Explorers.

We have explored the lands of the Earth and are now endeavoring to explore every corner of our solar system. In fact, there are so many currently active missions studying our celestial neighborhood that it’s easy to miss a few updates. We’ll start our journey by talking about those missions and the ones soon-to-come. Then, we will dive into what it takes to design these missions and spacecraft that are essentially our traveling laboratories that explore where we currently cannot. And while we may not all be able to travel along with those spacecraft, when we follow the science that comes from their missions, we become explorers, too. Join NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador volunteer Annie Wargetz on a journey through the vast catalog of current solar system exploration missions and then navigate through the process of space mission and spacecraft design.


Annie Wargetz:
Annie Wargetz is a life-long space enthusiast who has a passion for getting the public and all those around her as excited about space exploration as she is. Annie holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Houston in Communications. She focused on public relations/advertising and earned a minor in mathematics. She holds a graduate degree in Space Sciences from the University of North Dakota where she focused her studies on human spaceflight. She studied mission and spacecraft design as well as life support systems. Her masters thesis looked at the psychological challenges humans may face during the long duration missions back to the Moon and Mars. Her favorite topics to speak on as an ambassador are human spaceflight, any of the multitudes of NASA missions, and heliophysics, or the study of the Sun. She hopes to inspire people to look up to the stars with hope and to learn more about the advances in our space program.


Dark Matter in February

amateria Published on February 1, 2023

Our next meeting will be held on Friday, February 24 at the Ponderosa fire station.

The zoom link is Here

Join us at 6:30 for the fun and educational FYI session and then at 7:30 we will have an exciting presentation by Dr. Andrew Long who will present Dark Matter Demystified.

Over the larger part of the last century, a growing body of observational evidence has revealed the presence of a mysterious something in our Universe that pulls on stars and gas and light.  Scientists don’t understand this something, but we give it a name so we can argue about it, and we call it dark matter.  In this talk Dr. Long will describe some of the astronomical observations that led to the discovery of dark matter, and discuss some of the open questions that researchers are working on today.


Dr. Andrew Long Biography:
Dr. Long has been at Rice University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2019.  Before moving to Houston, he earned his PhD in Physics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (2012) and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan.  He grew up in Delaware, and after three years in Houston, he’s finally starting to acclimate to the summer heat :) . His work addresses open questions in the study of theoretical cosmology by using the tools of elementary particle physics and particle astrophysics. He is especially interested in the nature and origin of a mysterious something, dark matter, that has been detected with high significance using numerous astrophysical and cosmological probes, but which remains largely a mystery.

Light Waves in January!

amateria Published on January 12, 2023

Our January meeting will be held on Friday, January 27 at the Ponderosa fire station.

We will have 2 excellent talks during the FYI session and the main presentation. At 6:30, the FYI session will provide helpful and fun information about the winter constellations. Then, at 7:30, you can enjoy our main presentation on light waves by Dr. Bruce Pollard.

Here is the zoom info

Meeting ID: 844 7361 7954
Passcode: 298908
One tap mobile
+13462487799,,84473617954#,,,,*298908# US (Houston)
+12532158782,,84473617954#,,,,*298908# US (Tacoma)

Light Waves and Their Uses: Albert Michelson

In 1907, Albert Michelson was the first American physicist to receive the Nobel Prize for his “Instruments of precision and the spectroscopic and meteorological investigations he executed with them”. The instruments Michelson developed all focused on the newish concept that light could be thought of as a wave.

In this presentation, Dr. Pollard will describe and demonstrate some of the experiments that opened the window of light as a wave to scientists around the world at the turn of the 20th century.  The talk will feature how the interference property of light can be used to make astronomical measurements.  It will start with a basic introduction to the properties of light.  Next it describes Michelson’s work which includes the famous Michelson Interferometer which evolved into the Fourier Transform Spectrometer and was used for the Michelson-Morley experiment.  Throughout the talk we will see how modern technology such as computerized data collection would have enabled Michelson’s work.

Bruce Pollard Bio:

Bruce Pollard is a 20-year veteran of the North Houston Astronomy Club having held many positions including currently being president of the group.  Bruce grew up in Wisconsin and got his PhD at the U of Florida in Chemistry; specializing in design and automation of atomic spectrometers. He taught Analytical Chemistry at Marquette University for 8 years and spent 25 years helping chemical companies use computers and automation to do research, improve their processes and preserve the environment.  Now “retired” , Dr. Pollard consults for ship channel chemical companies and not for profit service groups.  He helps share the sky with others by facilitating observation at the Insperity and George Observatories. His research interest is expanding the single channel signal to noise studies that were part of his thesis 45 years ago to the camera detectors that have millions of channels we use for astronomical studies today.

See you there!