Astronomical League Convention July 10-12, 2014

Featured Speakers for the Convention include:

  • Dr. Mike Endl, University of Texas, Austin (Thursday Night Star-BQ)
  • Erika Rix, The Art of Astronomical Sketching
  • Forrest Mims, Earth’s Atmosphere
  • Larry Mitchell, Deep Sky Objects
  • John Davis, Art in Astrophotography
  • Robert Reeves, Lunar Observing
  • Don Olson, Celestial Sleuthing
  • Amanda Bayless, Stellar Binaries
  • Aaron Clevenson, Supernova 2014J
  • Bob Parks, International Dark-Sky Association

Keynote Speaker:

Donald_Pettit_450px_72dpiSpace challenges our imaginations and beckons exploration. We are very fortunate to have a person who is an astronaut, explorer, inventor, and amateur astronomer as our ALCon 2014 Keynote Speaker. Please welcome Dr. Don Pettit!

In his three space missions of exploration, he logged 370 days in Earth orbit and 13 hours of spacewalk. His accomplishments are many. To name a few:

  • Arriving on the Shuttle Endeavor, he was a mission specialist aboard the International Space Station in 2002 and 2003. He conducted fun science demonstrations that he called “Saturday Morning Science.” One of them showed how fluids, such as water, behave in a low gravity environment. Another, conducted on an extended mission aboard the ISS in late 2011, used figures from the game “Angry Birds” to illustrate the physics of motion in micro gravity.
  • One of his more serious science experiments investigated the clumping nature of solid particles less than 6 millimeters in diameter in a micro gravity environment. The results helped clarify the mechanisms, primarily electro-static, behind the beginnings of planet formation.
  • Dr. Pettit has occasionally assumed the role of inventor during “down time” from his NASA duties. Zero-G coffee cup? Barn door tracker for imaging city lights from the ISS? Don Pettit invented them in his spare time!
  • Before his last space mission, he explored Earth’s south polar region collecting meteorite samples. During periods spent tent-bound due to inclement weather, he continued his Saturday Morning Science series, this time to investigate Antarctic ice. Along with conducting photographic surveys of glacial ice crystals, he found magnetic micrometeorites in ice melt used for cooking water.

Dr. Don Pettit: astronaut, explorer, inventor, amateur astronomer — and now ALCon 2014 Keynote Speaker.

Full details with additional biographies and photos will be posted at a later date.