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, February 24th, 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:
Life On Other Worlds
One of humanity’s oldest, most important, and most perplexing questions has been “Who else is out there, beyond planet Earth?” There are seven other planets (sorry, Pluto) and many moons in our solar system, and our galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars orbited by their own planets. Since life developed here, it would seem logical that it also developed elsewhere, especially since many other stars and planets have existed for billions of years longer than our solar system. Why haven’t “they” contacted us? This was eloquently stated by the Nobel Prize winning physicist Enrico Fermi in his famous Fermi Paradox: “Where is everybody?” Would “they” consist of very simple life forms…or advanced civilizations…or non-biological machines? How might we detect them? Have we been visited already??
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, now live in 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. 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.