NEAF searches the world to bring
you the astronomers, researchers,
scientists, and personalities that are making science history today.
No where else will you find such an
extensive caliber of talent brought
together in one place.
JERRY ROSS is a retired United States Air Force officer and a former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of seven Space Shuttle missions, making him the joint record holder for most spaceflights (a record he shares with Franklin Chang-Diaz). His papers, photographs and many personal items are in the Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives at Purdue University. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame during ceremonies in May 2014. Ross is the author of Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA's Record-Setting Frequent Flyer.
Control and Mission Designer
Boeing CST-100 Starliner
Samuel D Hale
Exec Director of Mt Wilson Observatory
The History of Mt Wilson
Samuel D Hale is the Chief Executive Officer of Mount Wilson Observatory and is the grandson of George Ellery Hale. George Ellery Hale (June 29, 1868 – February 21, 1938) was an American solar astronomer and the key figure in the planning and construction of first modern American observatories; namely, the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory, 60-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, 100-inch Hooker reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson, and the 200-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Palomar Observatory. He also played a key role in the foundation of the International Union for Cooperation in Solar Research and the National Research Council, and in developing the California Institute of Technology into a leading research university.
Chair of the Yerkes Future Foundation
Dianna's involvement with Yerkes started in April 2018 when the University of Chicago indicated they were closing the observatory. The observatory, often referred to as "the birthplace of modern astrophysics" was founded in 1897 by astronomer George Ellery Hale.
The observatory houses an 40-inch diameter Alvin Clarke doublet refracting telescope with an equatorial mount by Warner & Swasey. It is the largest refractor to be successfully used for astronomy. In addition the observatory houses a collection of over 170,000 photographic glass plates.
For over a year, the group has been negotiating with the University of Chicago, which owns the observatory with the intent to save the facility and reopen it for public observing. Thanks to Dianna and her colleagues efforts, the University of Chicago said, this past Nov that it had reached “an agreement in principle” with the Yerkes Future Foundation to take over ownership and maintenance of the observatory.
The newly selected, $1 billion NASA mission Dragonfly, now in design, is a quadcopter-like rotorcraft lander for Titan. This capable spacecraft will image the surface up close, in the vein of Mars rover exploration, but could vastly outstrip these rovers in ground coverage, easily exceeding several hundred miles. And it will analyze samples, helping us understand if conditions are right for life in the distant reaches of our solar system. JANI RADEBAUGH is a planetary scientist and an Science Team Member for the newly selected Dragonfly rotorcraft lander mission to Saturn’s moon Titan.
Dragonfly: Aircraft Explorer for Saturn's Moon Titan
Development of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft began in 2009 as a Space Shuttle replacement for crew and cargo delivery to the International Space Station (ISS). Vehicle design matured rapidly since award of a NASA contract in September 2014, leading to test flights later this year and operational missions beginning in 2019. As a member of the Starliner team since its inception, Tom Mulder will describe spacecraft development and launch to landing operations.
Dr. Edward Guinan is the lead author on a December 8 paper entitled "The Fainting of the Nearby Supergiant Betelgeuse."
Betelgeuse been sharply declining in brightness since October, and is now about 2.5 times fainter than usual. Once the ninth brightest star in the sky, Betelgeuse has fallen now to about the 23rd brightest.
Guinan and his colleagues have been closely observing the star for decades, with continuous coverage since 1980.
In the last half-century, the star has never dimmed so aggressively, and that could mean we're on the verge of something extraordinary.
Professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences at Villanova University
The Dimming of Betelgeuse
JOE RAO is the six-time Emmy nominated meteorologist and on air personality. In addition to his on-air fame, Joe is also an avid amateur astronomer. He has co-lead several eclipse expeditions and served as an on-board meteorologist for three eclipse cruises. He is also an Associate and Guest Lecturer at the Hayden Planetarium, a Contributing Editor for S&T magazine and also writes for Space.com, Natural History magazine, and the Farmers’ Almanac.
Hosted by Joe Rao
and Vince Coulehan
VINCE COULEHAN takes center stage as your NEAF Talks Master of Ceremonies. Vince is an avid astro-imager and has been chasing the world for over five decades as an amateur astronomer to witness, now nine total solar eclipses. He is an active member with the AAVSO as well as a key NEAF organizer and a primary board member at Rockland Astronomy. He has been active with outreach to bring astronomy and observing to students at high schools and elementary schools for over 20 years. Vincent has an ME in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College.