The Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) in conjunction with The Estes Park Memorial Observatory is offering a free public open house/star night on Saturday, November 25th, 7 PM. The goal of EVAS is to promote amateur astronomy and education in the Estes valley.
Our returning speaker for the evening is one of our EVAS club members, Dr. Gordon MacAlpine and the title of his talk will be:
“Hurricanes: Nature’s Trillion Horsepower Engines”
Astronomers regularly observe extremely energetic phenomena throughout the Universe, and sometimes we need to be reminded of the awesome forces Nature can wield here on Earth. This has been quite a year for hurricanes! They, along with related typhoons and cyclones, are marvelously coordinated engines that can produce more than 1000 times the power of all electricity being generated world-wide. This enormous energy is derived through evaporation and condensation of water from warm oceans, and then concentrated within a cyclonic spinning motion resulting from rotation of the Earth. As we are approaching the end of the 2017 hurricane season, many people living along tropical coastal areas are breathing a sigh of relief, while many others are trying to put their lives back together. This season has been remarkable in a number of ways. There were eighteen (so far) named cyclonic storms in the Atlantic Basin, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico, including ten hurricanes, of which four were exceptionally powerful categories 4 or 5. New records include overall Atlantic hurricane energy in the month of September, the highest rainfall total on record in the continental United States from a single storm, the farthest northern hurricane land-fall, and a preliminary assessment of roughly 320 billion dollars in damages. Evidence-based scientific studies suggest that global warming played a role in each of these categories…except perhaps for the last one. Astronomically skyrocketing damages result partly from devastating land-falls on islands like Puerto Rico, but can also be attributed to continuing development close to mainland seashores, in spite of increasing threats. This public talk, supplemented with visual aids, is intended for a general audience.
Our speaker is Dr. Gordon MacAlpine a retired astronomer, physicist and a member of the EVAS club. He received a BA in physics from Earlham College and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin. After a stint at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan where he was a Professor of Astronomy until 2000. Then he accepted the Zilker Distinguished Professor of Physics chair at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where he continued teaching astronomy, physics, and environmental science until his retirement in 2012. Gordon and his wife, Barbara, recently moved to Estes Park
The observatory is just north of the high school at 1600 Manford Ave. Park in the teacher’s parking lot adjacent to the observatory. The doors will open at 7:00pm and the meeting will start at 7:30pm. The presentation, including a question and answer period, lasts about an hour. After the presentation, weather permitting, we will look through the new 16 inch dome telescope at various celestial objects.
If you have any questions, please check the EPMO web site at: www.AngelsAbove.org . The lecture is free to the public and no reservations necessary. Just come and join the party and be ready to ask questions! For more information, please call the observatory at 970-586-5668