Museum to Host Sun Talk by Former Astronaut on October 24

How does the sun work, how do we know, and what does it mean for inhabitants of Earth?  Dr. Loren Acton, MSU Research Professor of Physics Emeritus and former space shuttle astronaut, will describe how scientists have used tools to piece together a working model of the sun–from its very center to its influence on Earth–in the second presentation of the fall Science Inquiry Series.

The talk will be presented at the Museum of the Rockies at 600 W Kagy Blvd in Bozeman, Montana on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Hager Auditorium.

The series, sponsored by the Gallatin Valley Friends of the Sciences, explores cutting edge science topics, their latest developments, and their relevance to society through speaker presentations followed by conversations between speaker and audience.  The talks are free to the public.

In his presentation, “Journey from the Center of the Sun,” Acton will piece together old and new information about the sun, and explain how astronomer’s tools have been used to describe its properties and create a modern-day understanding of how it works and how it affects Earth.  He will also touch on how his eight days of solar observations aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1985 contributed to the picture.

Image courtesy of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA.

Dr. Acton, a native Montanan, holds a PhD. in Astro-Geophysics from the University of Colorado.  He was a senior staff scientist with the Space Sciences Laboratory at the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory in California when he was selected as a shuttle payload specialist for Spacelab 2 aboard Challenger.  In 1993, he joined the physics faculty at MSU and founded the Solar Physics Group and the Space Science and Engineering Laboratory.  He currently enjoys emeritus status in the department. Among his awards are the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the George Ellery Hale Prize of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society.

The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for audience members to engage in conversation with Dr. Acton in the museum lobby with light refreshments served.

The speaker presentation and audience participation segments together will last approximately an hour.