Our "Colorado Skies" live talk discusses current topics in astronomy and space, plus a look at what's up in the sky tonight.

CU Boulder students are admitted FREE to our regularly scheduled "Colorado Skies" shows with valid Buff card. Call 303.492.5002 for more information.


Upcoming Colorado Skies talks 

Astrobiology poster with nebula and molecules Astrobiology: The Toolbox in Search for Life - October 26th at 7pm

We are all familiar with human beings, animals, and plants. However, that is just one data point - and the only data point we have for the existence of life. How do we know what to look for when searching for life elsewhere? What assumptions can we make that are valid? In this vast universe, we have already found thousands of exoplanets, born from molecular clouds that are seeded with organic compounds - the building blocks for life. Can we use science and technology to determine whether we're just one incident of life in the universe? Perhaps cosmic neighbors are much closer than we think.

 

 

Two Black Holes merging together Distortions in Reality - November 16th at 7pm

Far out in space, well beyond our solar system and galaxy, two black holes spiral closer and closer together. Their tremendous masses cause them to ultimately merge into a single black hole releasing inconceivable amounts of energy. Until recently, we lacked the technological ability to detect these incredible events. Now an international team of scientists from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration are detecting gravitational waves. As they learn more about these unimaginable events and open the door to a new field in astrophysics, Einstein's General Theory of Relatively remains fully intact. Join us as we explore more about the distortions in reality that Einstein himself could not have imagined.

Black Hole graphic JPL The Biggest Supermassive Black Holes - December 7th at 7pm

The most mysterious objects in the universe just got even stranger. Black holes can be formed from massive stars and are scattered throughout galaxies, as well as at the center of them. The supermassive black holes that reside in galactic centers are the biggest giants of them all and vary in mass. In recent years, observations from the MASSIVE survey, conducted by Chung-Pei Ma, have exposed a surprise among these giants that have sent theorists back to the drawing board to investigate how these objects formed. This talk will explain how black holes are formed, how they become supermassive, their impact on galaxy evolution, and of course the newly found giants themselves and how it changes the study of extra-galactic astronomy.


Past Colorado Skies talks 

When E.T. Calls - September 7th at 7pm

Astronomers have been searching for signs of microscopic alien life on Mars and elsewhere. But, is there intelligent life in the universe? Are there advanced, technological civilizations like our own on other planets in our solar system and beyond? Many astronomers believe the answer is "Yes!" And, we may be on the verge of discovering them. Some scientists even think we may have discovered life already! Radioastronomy offers us a chance to listen for alien signals across the vast cosmos. How will we prepare for a call from E.T.? And, when E.T. does call, what will we say?

The Biggest Supermassive Black Holes - August 3rd at 7pm

The most mysterious objects in the universe just got even stranger. Black holes can be formed from massive stars and are scattered throughout galaxies, as well as at the center of them. The supermassive black holes that reside in galactic centers are the biggest giants of them all and vary in mass. In recent years, observations from the MASSIVE survey, conducted by Chung-Pei Ma, have exposed a surprise among these giants that have sent theorists back to the drawing board to investigate how these objects formed. This talk will explain how black holes are formed, how they become supermassive, their impact on galaxy evolution, and of course the newly found giants themselves and how it changes the study of extra-galactic astronomy.

War and Space - July 27th at 7pm 

In the early days of the space race, the world was captivated by the firsts of Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, and Neil Armstrong. Yet, at the same time, there was another secret space race taking place in the shadows. For over half a century, governments and militaries of the world have been preparing for a war in space. Luckily, their plans never came to pass... at least not yet. From the Soviet artillery cannon in earth orbit, to the American Air Force's plan for a fleet of massive nuclear powered spaceships, learn the top secret history of the military's role in manned space travel.

Moon Landing Anniversary - July 20th at 7pm

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Neil Armstrong --- Forty-eight years ago, on July 20, 1969 man first stepped on the Moon. It was the culmination of nearly half a million people's efforts to fulfill the challenge set by President Kennedy nearly seven years earlier. In this presentation we will explore the challenges of the lunar program and it's scientific and cultural implications.

Summer Solstice and the Seasons - June 22nd at 7pm

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and marks the official start of summer. How do astronomers measure the solstice, what did our ancestors do to celebrate it, and why does the solstice occur? We'll also take a deep look into our summer night time sky with our Megastar projection showing you a perfect night sky with 10,000,000 stars at once!

Science Fiction or Fact - June 8th at 7pm

Hollywood makes frequent use of exotic science and technology to add excitement and wonder to their productions. But is this all movie magic? What what is the truth about wormholes, warp speed, and inter-dimensional travel? Are the imaginary universes of the science fiction worlds built upon scientific truth or lie? Jacob Melonis will walk us through the fascinating realities of physics and interstellar travel through clips of science fiction movies and TV shows.

Ancient Colorado Skies - May 18th at 7pm

Join us as we go back in time to explore how the Colorado night sky has changed throughout Earth's history, as well as how it will appear in the distant future. We'll discuss stellar parallax, galactic motion, axial precession, tidal friction/locking, star birth/death, 'mysteries' in astronomical records, and the universe expansion.

The Science of Sci-Fi - March 23rd at 7pm

Warp drive, zero-g, hibernation, wormholes, and alien encounters are all staples of science fiction, but what about the realities of space travel? What are the challenges that humans face as we explore the depths of the solar system and what are the solutions that NASA and others are imagining to enable the cosmic voyages of our fantasies become a reality? Learn through watching clips of famous sci-fi films of what Hollywood got right and what they got wrong.

One in a Hundred Billion: The Sun and Other Stars - February 23rd at 7pm

Our sun is just one of a 100 billion or more stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Astronomers have been using observations of our closest star to make inferences about those that lie hundreds of light years away. Learn how the latest data from supergiant and red dwarf stars challenge our search for life, plus how those friendly beacons of light may prove more hostile than previously thought.