2017 Calendar of Events

Each evening begins with the Sunset Shadows and Circles talk by Lowell Observatory’s Brian Skiff

Thursday September 21
Telescope Workshop
(registration required)
Sunset Talk: Shadows and Circles6:00-6:30pmBuffalo Park Loop Trail
Twilight Talk: Roving on Mars: Curiosity’s exploration of Gale Crater6:45-7:15pmBuffalo Park Pavilion
Night Sky Orientation7:15-7:30pmBuffalo Park
Telescope Observing7:00-10:00pmBuffalo Park
Friday September 22
Sunset Talk: Shadows and Circles6:00-6:30pmBuffalo Park Loop Trail
Twilight Talk: Earth-like Planets
6:45-7:15pmBuffalo Park Pavilion
Night Sky Orientation7:15-7:30pmBuffalo Park
Telescope Observing7:00-10:00pmBuffalo Park
Saturday September 23
Photography Workshop
(registration required)
Sunset Talk: Shadows and Circles6:00-6:30pmBuffalo Park Loop Trail
Twilight Talk: A Walk Around Our Stellar Neighborhood6:45-7:15pmBuffalo Park Pavilion
Night Sky Orientation7:15-7:30pmBuffalo Park
Telescope Observing7:00-10:00pmBuffalo Park


Telescope Viewing Nightly 7:00-10:00 pm

Hosted telescope viewing every night of the beautiful night sky through high power telescopes from 7 to 10 pm.


Night Sky Orientation Nightly 7:15-7:30 pm

Night's Window opens...
Night’s Window opens…

Every evening as twilight deepens a local astronomer and night-sky enthusiast will introduce you to the star-filled night sky, pointing out the North Star, constellations, the Milky Way, planets, and other less-known objects such as star clusters and “dark clouds” visible to your unaided eyes!

Sunset Talk

Every Night: Thursday, September 21 – Saturday, September 23, 2017, 6:00 – 6:30 pm
Sunset Shadows and Circles

Every evening Brian Skiff of Lowell Observatory will have a “sunset” talk from 6-6:30 p.m. Weather permitting, he will describe the subtle transition from sunset into twilight, including the Earth-shadow and Belt of Venus in the east, as well as layered pastel colors over the Sun in the west. Join Brian and watch the tree shadows stretch to the eastern horizon!


Thursday, September 21, 2017, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, NACET Accelerator parking lot

Telescope WorkshopJim Cole
Learn how to operate your own telescope to view beautiful objects in the night sky.

You have that telescope at home – but it never seems to get out of the closet… If you have been struggling with using your own telescope, dust it off and bring it to this workshop! Lowell Observatory Educator Jim Cole will coach you through setting it up, how to align it and find astronomical objects, what eyepieces work best for what objects, and all the rest to demystify your telescope and help you open the beauty of deep space to yourself and your family.

Workshop participants must bring their own complete telescope, including stand or mount and eyepieces. Please don’t bring broken or incomplete equipment.

SPACE WILL BE LIMITED so requires registration. Stay tuned for registration details…

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 5:30 – 8:30 pm, NACET Incubator and Buffalo Park

Night Sky Photography Workshop with Stan Honda

Stan Honda Workshop - FSP 2015
Stan Honda Workshop – FSP 2015

This extraordinary opportunity will allow participants to learn how to photograph the night sky with a master. New York-based Stan Honda was a photojournalist for 34 years, most recently for Agence France-Presse (AFP). Although he has photographed a wide array of subjects over the years, he has a special passion for starry skies and night landscapes, combining his interests in astronomy and photography. He has worked as an artist-in-residence at five national parks, and his photography of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico and Wupatki National Monument were used in reports that led to them both being designated as International Dark Sky Parks. Honda will conduct a three-part workshop introducing basic techniques to capture beautiful night sky photos with modern digital cameras. The three-hour session will include learning about your camera and a short slideshow of Honda’s work.






SPACE IS LIMITED so requires registration and a $25 fee. Register HERE.

Twilight Talks

Thursday, September 21, 2017, 6:45 – 7:15 pm, Buffalo Park pavilion

Roving on Mars: Curiosity’s exploration of Gale Crater

Since landing in Gale crater, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has investigated a rich array of sedimentary rocks, while searching for ancient habitable environments. Over the past 5 years, Curiosity has traversed more than 16 km across Aeolus Palus to our current location in the foothills of Aeolis Mons. This talk will provide a brief overview of the MSL mission and the beautiful landscapes that preserve evidence for ancient lakes, rivers, deltas and dune fields, and will include a preview of where the rover is heading next.

Dr. Lauren Edgar is a Research Geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences modified with Engineering from Dartmouth College in 2007, and her Ph.D. in Geology from the California Institute of Technology in 2013. Prior to coming to the USGS, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University. Lauren is an active member of the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars Exploration Rover teams, and her research aims to understand Mars surface processes to identify potentially habitable environments. In her free time she enjoys hiking and running around Flagstaff, while wishing she could do that on Mars.

Friday, September 22, 2017, 6:45 – 7:15 pm, Buffalo Park pavilion

Earth-like PlanetsDavid Koerner

The Kepler Space Mission has detected hundreds of Earth-size planets, some of which are the right distance from their host star to support life. Kepler observations tell us the sizes and masses of these planets, but little else. Theoretical modeling fills in the gaps and shows a widely varying assortment of rocky, icy, watery, and even steamy worlds. We will take a tour, and you can decide whether or not you’d like to live on one!

Dr. David Koerner studied physics, mathematics, and geology at California State University Long Beach and received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology. He observes planet-forming disks around other stars with space- and ground-based telescopes and has carried out research at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and University of Pennsylvania. He has been a professor of astronomy at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff since 2002. He originated and regularly teaches “Life in the Universe,” a liberal studies course that investigates the scientific picture of our origins and existence in the universe at large.

Dr. Koerner is also a performing musician focused on works that explore the relation between music and nature/science. As pianist, he performed extensively in the Southern California area as recitalist, concerto soloist, and collaborative pianist. He has been honored with awards from the Los Angeles Concerto Competition, MTNA Collegiate piano competition (California), Krenek Competition, Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and participated in the VIIth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. As violist and violinist, he currently performs with Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Northern Arizona. At NAU, he is completing an M.A. degree in viola/violin performance reviving the concertos of astronomer Sir William Herschel. Dr. Koerner lives north of the peaks and off the grid with his partner, biologist Dr. Gery Allan, and a sled dog team of Alaskan Malamutes.

Saturday, September 23, 2016, 6:45 – 7:15 pm, Buffalo Park pavilion

A Walk Around Our Stellar NeighborhoodGerard Vanbelle

– A Comparison of the Nearby Stars to the Naked-Eye Stars

When we walk outside at night and are presented with the sparkling glory of the night sky, one might assume that the objects we see are those that are nearest to us in a large and varying universe.  In truth, only about 1 in every 10 of the objects we see with our eyes are amongst those that are actually nearby to our stellar system.  A examination of this contrast between bright and near will be presented, and highlights of both our boisterous stellar attention-getters and the quiet wallflowers will be presented.

Dr. Gerard van Belle is an astronomer at Lowell Observatory.  In 2011 he came to Lowell from Munich, Germany, after working at the European Southern Observatory, Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena; he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wyoming.  His research interests are in the fundamental properties of stars, and in discovering and characterizing planets around those stars.  He has found Flagstaff to be an idea town for brewing beer and playing with his 4 kids.