Outreach

Observatory Public Night

Astronomical Observational Uncertainties

is the subject of this month’s Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) meeting (AstroStat20140724). EVAS in conjunction with The Estes Park Memorial Observatory is offering a free public open house/star night on Thursday, July 24, 2014. The goal of EVAS is to promote amateur astronomy and education in the Estes valley.

July EVAS Meeting

When astronomers determine the brightness of a celestial object, they make multiple measurements through a telescope or with a satellite. Usually, no two measurements are the same, so how do they arrive at a brightness that reliably combines all the observations? The uncertainties in astronomical observations hold the interest of scientists known as astrostatisticians.

Our guest speaker this month is Dr. Jamie Riggs, Principal Statistician for Statistics for the Physical and Engineering Sciences Institute, Adjunct Lecturer in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern University, and a member of the International Astrostatistics Association. Dr. Riggs will demonstrate how Astrostatistics helps deal with observational uncertainty problems in the field of astronomy. Some examples of these problems include: using crater patterns to locate water on Mars, determining if the Sun is in a sunspot maximum and deep field galaxy classification from extremely faint images. These and other of her collaborative investigations will be discussed. The talk will pictorially focus on identifying the sources of uncertainty, and then show the outcomes of the astrostatisticians corrective efforts.

In addition to her professional astrostatistical activities, Dr. Riggs is one of the volunteers who installed the radio telescope at the Estes Park Memorial Observatory, has developed radio astronomy curricula for the Front Range Community College, and teaches physics and mathematics to the Lyons Homeschool Group. Also, she is assisting with radio astronomy curriculum development for the Estes Park High School Science Department.

The observatory is just north of the high school at 1600 Manford Ave. 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 12 inch dome telescope at various celestial objects.

Information about the meeting can be found on the observatory website at: www.AngelsAbove.Org.