About Space Sciences Lab

Space Sciences Digital Collection

The Space Sciences Department maintains a large collection of digital images and multimedia assets for use in exhibitions, education, research, public programs, and Space Odyssey. The Space Sciences Department is the keeper of such valued commodities as space images, movies, and animations that are stored in digital form. The collection is comprised of a wide range of astronomy topics that provide background knowledge on Earth, our solar system, cosmology, and many more topics related to astronomy and space science. Digital resources that have significant and long-lasting value are cataloged and stored in the digital collections database, along with the necessary copyright permissions. Assets from our collection grace exhibit components, where they offer visual interpretations and the basis for ongoing dialogue with our visitors.

Report a Fireball

In 2001, a citizen science effort included a system of allsky cameras, many mounted on the rooftops of schools around the state and one atop the Museum, their purpose is to record the appearance of bright fireballs in the night sky so that the trajectories of the meteorites might be determined and the objects perhaps found.  In addition to helping locate fresh meteorite falls, an allsky camera can provide valuable information about the kind of meteors you can see on any clear night, and about annual meteor showers.

Through our association with Cloudbait Observatory, we actively investigate bright fireballs, both in the interest of determining the original orbit and also of recovering any possible meteorites that might be produced. If you live in Colorado or the surrounding states, and have recently seen a very bright meteor, please report it here.

An extensive network of allsky cameras are in place to record and supplement witness reports. If you witnessed a meteor and are curious if it was recorded, try the real-time meteor log which lists all events captured by the Cloudbait camera as they occur. These events are normally processed into the main database each morning.

A general overview of fireballs can be found here.

Space Sciences Newsroom

From the beginning, everyone who has ever had a vision for the project that became Space Odyssey agreed on one thing: that the information provided to the public be up-to-date and accurate.  This is involved and difficult to do, as the Museum discovered in earlier exhibitions. But space sciences found the way during the planning stages of Space Odyssey: the Space Sciences Newsroom.

The Newsroom is a physical location, a place inside the Museum with the necessary equipment and resources, where staff and volunteers research, prepare and deliver up-to-date astronomy and space science content to the floor of Space Odyssey.

The Newsroom team includes Collections Manager, Marta Lindsay, Content Specialist, Dr. Dimitri Klebe and Newsroom Manager, Kim Evans; in addition, the two Space Sciences curators (Steve Lee and Ka Chun Yu) act in advisory, content review, and volunteer/staff training capacities as needed. They work together with the Newsroom volunteers to deliver topical and exhibit resources, ranging from spaceflight missions and science news, to astrobiology and supernova, to the importance of infrared light in the study of astronomy. This content is made available to Galaxy Guides via the Galaxy Guide Web Portal or as high resolution images and movies for the exhibit screens and interactives. Context, usage, and focus can change over time by virtue of changing gallery programming, targeted facilitation, and the flexibility of digital media. The challenge for the Newsroom team is to provide the volunteer Galaxy Guides with the resources they need to provide spontaneous and engaging conversations with Museum visitors on a daily basis.

Newsroom staff and volunteers are instrumental in supporting curator lectures and assisting with special events such as mission launches and landings, star parties and remote broadcasts, providing digital media and technical support/expertise. Newsroom staff and volunteers also respond to letters and phone calls from museum visitors, the public and local news media interested in space science topics.

 

Scientific Instruments Collection

The Scientific Instruments Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is composed of instruments that have been used by Museum staff members, have been part of crucial experiments involving key scientists in their pursuit of knowledge, or are excellent type-examples of particular instruments.

 

The collection is maintained not only for archival and research purposes, but more importantly, to educate and increase public recognition of the fundamental role that such instruments have played not only in the advancement of the current state of technology, but also in our knowledge of the natural sciences.  As the Museum Scientific Collection has been developed, the emphasis has been preservation of instruments that are of particular importance to the history of science and artifacts of historical significance to the Museum.  The Collection is not intended for research use per se, although many of the items included have played important roles in past research programs.

60 Minutes in Space

Scientists from the Space Sciences Department at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science take you "behind the stories," using the best images and animation available to help understand the latest developments.

May 2017 - Steve Lee and Ka Chun Yu are our presenters this month.

Ka Chun's first story looks at the Abell 370 galaxy cluster. The NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope has peered across six billion light years of space to resolve extremely faint features of this galaxy cluster that have not been seen before. 

Keeping with the Galaxy Cluster theme, Ka Chun's next story looks at the nearby Perseus Galaxy Cluster. Combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with radio observations and computer simulations, an international team of scientists has discovered a vast wave of hot gas in the nearby Perseus galaxy cluster. 

In his final story, Ka Chun looks at how space visionaries are trying to solve the problem of not only of getting a spacecraft to our nearest stellar neighbor but how to slow it down once it gets there. 

Steve begins by covering two stories from the Cassini mission. The first is the spacecrafts closest brush yet with Saturn's inner ring. The second is a spectacular look at solstice on Saturn.

Moving on to Jupiter, Steve covers the recent release of data and images from the Juno mission. The first months of observations of the solar system's biggest planet from NASA's Juno spacecraft have revealed huge swirling polar cyclones, previously-undetected structures and motions beneath Jupiter's distinctive clouds, and the first evidence for what lies at the core of the gas giant.

Next up, Steve brings us the latest from the Mars rovers - Opportunity and Curiosity. Opportunity has reached the main destination of its current two-year extended mission -- an ancient fluid-carved valley incised on the inner slope of a vast crater's rim. Curiosity continues its climb towards the foothills of Mt. Sharp examining outcrops along the way. 

In his final story, Steve takes a quick look at the recent SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of a government satellite and the amazing pinpoint landing of the first stage nine minutes after liftoff.

Ka Chun Yu - Galaxy Cluster Abell 370
Runtime - 10:16

Ka Chun Yu - Perseus Galaxy Cluster
Runtime - 13:50

Ka Chun Yu - Dying Star goes out with a Whimper
Runtime - 6:38

Ka Chun Yu - Solving the Problem of Interstellar Slowdown
Runtime - 3:56

Steve Lee - Cassini "Grand Finale" update
Runtime - 9:53

Steve Lee - Trove of data from NASA's Juno mission
Runtime - 11:15

Steve Lee - Mars rovers update 
Runtime - 5:10

Steve Lee - SpaceX Falcon 9 Pinpoint Landing 
Runtime - 2:49

 

Links to Ka Chun's stories:

The final frontier of the Frontier Fields

Scientists Find Giant Wave Rolling Through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster

Collapsing Star Gives Birth to a Black Hole

Space travel visionaries solve the problem of interstellar slowdown at our stellar neighbor

Links to Steve' stories:

Cassini survives closest brush with Saturn's inner ring

Cassini Looks on as Solstice Arrives at Saturn

Jupiter surprises in first trove of data from NASA's Juno mission

Mars Rover Opportunity Begins Study of Valley's Origin

Curiosity update - Not enough hours in the sol

SpaceX Successfully Boosts Top Secret U.S. Government Satellite into Space

Photos: SpaceX kicks off the week with Falcon 9 launch and landing

 

To view past 60 Minutes in Space videos visit our YouTube playlist.

Space News Update

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The Space News Update is put together by volunteers and staff in the Space Sciences Newsroom. Twice a week, they review numerous space news websites to bring you the latest stories and information.

Find out what to watch for in the night sky, the best time to see the International Space Station pass overhead, the Space Image of the Week, and more!


SNU_20170620.pdf
SNU_20170616.pdf










 

 

 

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Monthly Sky Calendar

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June Sky Calendar (pdf)
Highlights this month's sky phenomena and celestial happenings with local dates and times (Mountain Time Zone).

Free sky maps are available at www.skymaps.com.
Skymaps.com produces a nice sky chart to help in locating observable celestial objects. Maps for the month ahead are available only at the end of the current month.

 

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Citizen Science

VENUS WINDS PROJECT
Venus is a planet with a hot and dense atmosphere composed primarily of carbon dioxide. Although the wind velocity at the surface is nearly zero, at an altitude of 50-70 km, the velocity may be as high as 100 m/sec (about 200 miles/hour).

The current goal of the Venus Wind Project is to determine the wind velocity (speed and direction) of clouds. Citizen scientists measure persistent cloud features from infrared images recorded at the high-altitude NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii.

Meetings
Every other Tuesday
6 - 8 p.m.

For more information about the Venus Winds Project contact Mark A. Bullock [bullock@boulder.swri.edu]
To inquire about joining the Venus Winds Project contact Arthur Tarr [arttarr@comcast.net]

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