Sears Applied Technologies Center
Guilford Technical Community College
Jamestown, NC

March 7th

The next edition of TriStar is tentatively scheduled for 4-5 March 2016.
Details will be posted later

The Triad Starfest, *Tri*Star* for short, is a gathering of astronomers of all types, from novice to professional, for a full day of presentations, displays, and observing. The event allows astronomy enthusiasts to share ideas, learn about a range of astronomical topics, get together with old friends, and make new ones. The event will draw astronomers from North Carolina and surrounding states.

*Tri*Star* 2015 was held on Saturday, 7 March 2015, beginning at  8:30 a.m. in the Percy H. Sears Applied Technologies Center on the campus of Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, NC.  NOTE – the next edition of *Tri*Star* will be held on 4-5 March 2016.  Watch for updates in late 2015.

In addition to a series of speakers scheduled throughout the day, there will be a wide range of astronomical displays, assorted astronomy-related vendors, prize drawings, “how-to” help for astronomy beginners, an astrophotography exhibition, and daytime and nighttime observing sessions (weather permitting).

In addition to Saturday’s agenda, *Tri*Star* usually features a special Friday evening presentation held in the Auditorium of the Sears Building (the same location as Saturday’s activities), at 7:00 p.m., with Cline Observatory open for observing after the talk, weather permitting.  This year’s featured speaker is Dr. Tom Brown of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Best of all, there is no registration fee – this event is free and open to anyone with an interest in astronomy!

Note: In case inclement weather causes the Jamestown Campus of GTCC to be closed on the date of *Tri*Star*, please monitor campus status before coming to GTCC. Information is available at the GTCC web page, on Twitter @gtccastro, or by dialing the GTCC switchboard at 336-334-4822.

*Tri*Star* – Saturday, 7 March

Time Activity
8:30 Doors Open – Coffee and Refreshments
9:20 Welcome and Announcements
9:30 Tom Brown, STScI

On the Trail of the Missing Galaxies: The Oldest Stars in the Neighborhood

In the past decade, wide-field surveys have revealed a new class of ultra-faint dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way and Andromeda.  They are the least luminous, most dark-matter dominated, and least chemically-evolved galaxies known.  These faint galaxies offer a new front in efforts to understand the missing satellite problem – the fact that theory predicts many more satellites than the number of dwarf galaxies observed.  As the best candidate fossils from the early universe, the ultra-faint dwarfs are ideal places to test the physics of galaxy formation from that era.  New data from the Keck Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope provide evidence that reionization in the early universe suppressed star formation in the smallest seeds of galaxy formation, thus providing a possible explanation for the missing satellite problem.
10:30 Break
11:00 David Pitonzo, High Point University

Musings on the Likelihood of Extraterrestrial Civilization

This session will review what we think we know about basic requirements for the origin of life based upon the only example we have. We will look at the basic characteristics of life and try to define what it means to be a living system. This basic information, as well as observations and hypotheses about the nature of the universe may then inform a discussion about the possibilities of intelligent, technological civilizations elsewhere.
12:00 Lunch Break, Solar Observing

2:00 Announcements
2:10 Chris Richardson, Elon University

The Crab Nebula:  Our Local Young Supernova Remnant

The Crab Nebula presents the best chance to study a young supernova (exploded star) remnant before it begins to interact with the interstellar medium. Its relatively close proximity allows detailed observations of the gaseous filaments embedded in a high-energy plasma fueled by a rapidly rotating neutron star. Oddly enough, a substantial amount of mass from the original star is unaccounted for in the Crab. In such an extreme environment, most of filamentary gas is ionized. However, surprisingly, the Crab Nebula is also known to contain molecular gas and dust grains. I will cover the general characteristics of the Crab, along with recent work that has provided insight about the nature of the molecular gas, and how it relates to the missing mass problem.
3:10 Break
3:40 Maria Temming, Elon University

A Summer at Sky & Telescope

Since its founding in 1941, Sky & Telescope has become one of the most prominent science magazines in America. The magazine caters to amateur and professional astronomers alike, keeping its thousands of subscribers up-to-date on the latest astronomical research and space exploration, reviewing astronomical equipment, and featuring beautiful astrophotography. In this talk, an undergraduate summer intern for Sky & Telescope discusses her experience working for the magazine. She reveals what it was like to interact with some of the world’s most distinguished astronomers and science writers, operate in the fast-paced work environment of science media, and how her experiences at Sky & Telescope have shaped her undergraduate research.
4:30 Prize Drawings
4:50 Final Announcements & Adjourn
7:00 Observing session at Cline Observatory (weather permitting)