TriStar 2018 Logo

TriStar 2018

Sears Applied Technologies Center
Guilford Technical Community College
Jamestown, NC

2-3 March 2018

TriStar will be held on Saturday, 3 March 2018
A full day of speakers and displays.

Pre-TriStar Lecture, Friday, 2 March, 7:00 p.m.

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* is free and open to anyone with an interest in astronomy.

*Tri*Star* 2018 will be held Saturday, 3 March, 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.

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 astroimaging contest, 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.  Our 2018 featured speaker will be Donovan Domingue of Georgia College, who comes to us through the Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship Program of the American Astronomical Society .  Dr. Domingue’s research interests are galaxy collisions/mergers & evolution, and infrared astronomy.

Best of all, there is no registration fee – this event is always 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, or by dialing the GTCC switchboard at 336-334-4822.

 *Tri*Star* 2018 Schedule

Friday, 2 March, 7:00 p.m. Pre-TriStar Public Lecture, Applied Technologies Auditorium

Donovan Domingue, Georgia College and State University, AAS Visiting Shapley Lecturer

Pre-Merger Galaxy Pairs as Star Formation Benchmarks in the Local Universe

An analysis of the infrared emission of a sample of close major-merger galaxy pairs can lead to an understanding of the encounter physics in galaxy merging events. The selected pairs provide an estimate of the fraction of galaxies in ongoing merger events as well as their contribution to the overall star formation activity in the local universe. Use of the Spitzer and Herschel Space Telescope observations and software developed to model the mid- to far-infrared emission of a subsample of the pairs has given us the star formation rates, efficiencies and dust characteristics of these local major-merger precursors. The effects of interaction on these properties in star forming spiral galaxies differs by morphological type of their companion galaxies. Spirals paired with ellipticals do not have the same level of enhancement of star formation and differ in dust composition.  These new pair results stand in contrast to what would be expected according to standard models of gas redistribution and pave the way for further theoretical investigation into the full environmental effects on star formation.


Saturday at *Tri*Star*

Time Activity
8:30 Doors Open – Coffee and Refreshments
9:20 Welcome and Announcements
 9:30 Jeff Regester, High Point University
Recent and Upcoming Observations of Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69
The New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto in July of 2015, and is now heading towards another Kuiper Belt object called 2014 MU69, where it will arrive on January 1st, 2019. In preparation for the fly-by, mission planners need to characterize MU69 as best as possible. The reflectivity of the surface, for instance, will determine the camera exposure times, all of which must be preprogrammed prior to arrival. Collision hazards such as moons, rings or dust should be avoided. Even the predicted position must be refined so that the flyby is at the desired distance. To these ends, the Southwest Research Institute (which runs New Horizons’ science operations) and NASA conducted a field campaign over the summer of 2017. Over 20 portable telescopes were deployed to the southern hemisphere, twice, to observe MU69 block (“occult”) the light of distant stars. A wealth of information can be extracted from observing that simple event. This talk will discuss the expeditions and their results, as well as planning for the upcoming New Horizons fly-by.

Jeff Regester is an instructor of physics and astronomy at High Point University. He is a former Navy officer and in his teaching career has alternated between high school and college teaching. He has participated in eight occultation expeditions to various locations around the world, usually to study the atmosphere of Pluto but most recently in South Africa to study the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. He is glad the baboons did not interfere with the observations. He lives in Greensboro with his wife and son, and has a daughter off in college.

10:30 Break
11:00 Donovan Domingue, Georgia College and State University
The Universe on a Longer Wavelength: Lessons from the Infrared
Far removed from Herschel’s discovery of the infrared with thermometers, today’s IR astronomy finds its tools drifting through the Solar System and its subjects at the farthest and earliest edges of the Universe. Advances in IR astronomy have taken us from the discovery of high powered galaxies with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite to a search for the earliest stars with the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. This presentation will review interstellar and extragalactic discoveries along with the technology that made them possible.

Dr. Donovan Domingue received his degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama. He has been a team member of the Spitzer Science Center and currently serves as a faculty member and Endowed Science Education Chair at Georgia College, a liberal arts university. As a faculty member, Dr. Domingue has the privilege of teaching physics and astronomy courses to a wide variety of students. He spends time supervising undergraduate research at the local observatory and performing outreach activities at a planetarium. His research projects focus on the evolution of galaxies as they interact with their neighbors and environment. Recently, Dr. Domingue has been using data from the Herschel Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. He has always found it important to investigate and share the origins of the universe and therefore tell the beginnings of the story of humanity.

12:00 Announcements
12:15  Lunch Break, Solar Observing
2:00 Stephen van Vuuren, Independent Filmmaker
In Saturn’s Rings
Clips and information, provided by the filmmaker, about the forthcoming film, which is due to premier on the giant screen on May 4th of this year.

In Saturn’s Rings, narrated by LeVar Burton, is a ground-breaking giant-screen documentary film that takes audiences on a journey of the mind, heart and spirit. Created entirely of over 7.5 million real photographs using innovative visual techniques developed by the filmmaker, In Saturn’s Rings has already become a online viral sensation. The film uses no computer generated images – it is multiplane photoanimation created entirely in Adobe After Effects with image processing done by 40+ volunteers in Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and custom Java/ImageJ programming.

The film journeys from the incredible images of Hubble and other space telescopes looking deep into the past, through stunning images of Earth, the Milky Way and the Moon, culminating in a breathtaking fly through of Saturn’s system.  The film will feature powerful music by Samuel Barber performed by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and more melding stunning visuals and science documentary into a unique experience for audiences. The film will be presented in 8K/6K & 4K resolutions on massive screens and concert-level surround systems to audiences in giant screen institutions, IMAX® theaters, fulldome planetariums, museums and select 4k digital cinemas.

Stephen van Vuuren  is an award-winning filmmaker, musician, photographer and ubergeek. He grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and Knoxville, Tennessee. His father purchased him a manual 35mm camera when he as 12 and his love of image-making began.

He’s directed, produced and/or shot over twenty feature and short narrative, documentary, experimental and animation films that have screened at numerous festivals and in cyberspace. Stephen founded SV2 Studios in 2000 which focus in indie film production and post-production, including digital cinema mastering.

He first read about Saturn and Titan in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos as a child. In 2004, Cassini arrived at Saturn barely noticed by the world. Both exulted by the stunning images and disappointed by the lack of interest, he committed to finding a way to make a film that showcased the incredible beauty of Saturn and our entire universe, while exploring the reasons why most people know so little about it.

He lives in Greensboro, NC with his musician/artist wife Marie and three fun cats, Kato, Gypsy and MeToo.

3:00 Break
3:30 Barbara Becker, University of California-Irvine, Retired
 “I am almost certain…”:  William Huggins and the First Attempts to Measure Stellar Motion in the Line of Sight
One-hundred-fifty years ago, in February 1868, William Huggins (1824-1910) — an English amateur astronomer and pioneer in the emerging field of astrophysics — became the first to apply Doppler’s principle to the light of a star.  Huggins’s observatory notebook records describe the overwhelming challenges he faced.  Huggins’s ground-breaking observations were crude and wildly inaccurate.  Nevertheless, he persuaded his contemporaries that he had, in fact, accomplished what he claimed and triggered a permanent rupture in the boundaries of acceptable research in professional astronomy.

Barbara J. Becker received her PhD in history of science from The Johns Hopkins University.  Until her retirement, she taught history of science at the University of California, Irvine.

Becker is the author of the first scholarly biography of English amateur astronomer, William Huggins:  Unravelling Starlight:  William and Margaret Huggins and the Rise of the New Astronomy (Cambridge:  CUP, 2011).  In January 2015, this book was awarded the prestigious Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize by the History of Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society.  Becker is also the editor of Selected Correspondence of William Huggins, 2 vols (London:  Pickering & Chatto [now Taylor & Francis], 2014).

4:30 Prize Drawings
4:50 Final Announcements & Adjourn
7:00 Observing session at Cline Observatory (weather permitting)