October 14, 2015 – Little Thompson Observatory will host a public star night on Friday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Dennis Ebbets will give a talk titled, “Twenty five years of discovery with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.”
This public lecture and slide show will describe the design and construction of the Hubble Space Telescope, its launch into orbit, and its use by astronomers here on Earth.
In order to support a twenty-five year mission NASA conducted service missions with the now retired space shuttles every few years to make repairs and to install updated equipment. Astronauts visited the telescope in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2009. Ebbets will discuss the repairs and upgrades that were made, and how they enhanced the capabilities of the observatory.
A particularly important mission was the first one, during which the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement, COSTAR was installed to improve the image quality of the telescope.
Hubble space telescope has been one of the most productive scientific observatories ever built and has dramatically changed humanity’s understanding of the universe. In April of this year, Hubble celebrated 25 years of dramatic observations and images, including the formation of new stars, debris from exploding stars, and infant galaxies in the far reaches of the universe. Ebbets will discuss some of these important scientific results and will answer audience questions about the telescope and its scientific program.
Ebbets spent the majority of his thirty-seven year professional career involved with NASA’s space astronomy projects. His academic credentials include a BS in Physics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, and at Ball Aerospace in Boulder were devoted to the Hubble Space Telescope, its science instruments, science programs and servicing missions. During nearly thirty years at Ball he worked on the development of three instruments for Hubble, and design studies for many other NASA missions. Since retiring from Ball in 2015 Dennis has remained active with education and public outreach activities and serving on committees for NASA’s Astrophysics Division.
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 we are closed for annual maintenance). No reservations are necessary for these nights. If you have any questions, please call the observatory information line at 970-613-7793 or check the LTO web site at: www.starkids.org