Oxford Astronomy Meetup group members are cordially invited to Starfest 2013 to be held on Saturday, July 27, 2013 from 6 to 10PM on the campus of Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. Astronaut Dan Burbank will be doing a meet and greet from 6PM to 7:20 PM and then offer a presentation about his trips into space on the Shuttle and ISS. We will also have a talk called “The Search for Planets and Life elsewhere in the Galaxy” by Courtney Dressing from 6:30 PM to 7:15 PM. Courtney is a graduate student pursuing research to investigate the frequency, nature, and detectability of small planets orbiting small stars.
Starfest 2013 offers rocket launching outdoors, solar viewing through safe solar filtered telescopes, indoor displays about telescopes and binoculars, meteorite displays, NASA patches and an introductory talk about astrophotography by an Aldrich member.
Bryan McKay from One Giant Leap will offer Space related items for auction plus Aldrich will offer door prizes and outdoor telescope viewing if the weather permits.
The two main speakers will be in an air conditioned 300 seat Zecco Theater which will have great sound and video and images offered by the presenters. This event will be held rain or shine since we have a great indoor venue plus many amazing speakers and displays! Plan to attend and learn some amazing facts about astronomy and space exploration from lead scientists and an astronaut. There will be a small $5.00 recommended donation per family to help Aldrich defray some of the costs for the facility and security. Auction item donations will help Aldrich build a large, public handicap accessible observatory in a nearby dark sky site.
Talk synopsis: by Courtney Dressing
As evidenced by science fiction, the search for life elsewhere in the galaxy has long captivated our imaginations. Now the quest for life on other planets is becoming a reality. Astronomers have discovered that the galaxy is teeming with planets and that small planets like the Earth are common. Recently, astronomers have detected the first planets that might be suitable for life. I will explain how astronomers detect planets orbiting other stars and discuss how we can use current and future instruments to search for signs of life on other worlds.
DANIEL C. BURBANK (CAPTAIN, USCG, RET.) NASA ASTRONAUT Bio :
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Burbank reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. He worked technical assignments in the Astronaut Office Operations Planning branch and International Space Station branch and served as Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for both space shuttle and station missions. He was also a member of the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade design team. From January 2007 to December 2009, Burbank served as a Professor of Engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where he taught Astronomy, Aerodynamics and Statics & Engineering Design.
Served as Mission Specialist on STS-106 and STS-115, Flight Engineer on Expedition 29 and Commander of Expedition 30. He has logged 188 days in space and 7 hours and 11 minutes of spacewalk time.
STS-106 Atlantis (September 2000) International Space Station assembly mission.
During the 12-day mission, the crew prepared the station for the arrival of the first permanent expedition crew, delivering more than three tons of supplies and installing batteries, power converters, oxygen generation equipment and a treadmill on the station.
STS-115 Atlantis (September 2006) International Space Station assembly mission.
During the 12-day mission, the crew delivered and installed the P3/P4 truss and solar arrays that provide about one fourth of the station’s electrical power. Burbank performed a spacewalk to complete truss installation, activate the solar alpha rotary joint and enable the solar array deployment.
International Space Station Expedition 29/30 (November 2011 to April 2012).
With his crewmates, Russian Space Agency cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, Burbank launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 14, 2011, aboard the Soyuz TMA-22 and docked to the station on November 16, 2011. They landed their Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan on April 27, 2012. During their 163 days aboard the station, the crew completed dozens of repairs and enhancements to the station’s systems, including 23 major hardware upgrades and six major software upgrades to the command and data handling system; conducted a spacewalk to relocate an external cargo boom and install external payloads; docked and undocked five visiting spacecraft and completed a record number of hours of science research involving nearly 200 experiments, including research in human physiology, fluid and combustion physics, Earth and space science and technology development.