Little Thompson Observatory News – 1/16/09

Little Thompson ObservatoryFriday 16 January 2009  7:00 – 11:00 PM

Public Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory

850 Spartan Ave at Berthoud High School

(park east of the high school; directions are posted on our website,

Our guest speaker for Friday January 16, 2009 is Bryan White, known from past years for his great 3-D comet slide show as well as an out of this world Aurora Borealis show. Bryan White will be showing slides that are “old” pictures of Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, and the occultation of Saturn by the Moon and of course, select Aurora pictures from 2002, 2004, and 2006.  He thought it would be interesting for people to see that there is still outstanding Aurora in Yellowknife during the solar minimum.  The total show will take just over 1 hour.  Bryan also has a surprise in store for us. But he promises it will be spectacular.

Little Thompson Observatory Aurora 1Bryan has visited Yellowknife in the Northern Territories several times over the last few years and has taken some incredible pictures of this natural phenomenon. If you still remember his great 3-D comets slide shows he gave the past couple of years at LTO, than you know this one will be very exciting.

Little Thompson Observatory Aurora 2Bryan has been interested in Astronomy since 1957 when he had just moved to a farm in rural Michigan. One summer evening he went outside shortly after sunset and observed a bright naked eye comet just over the tree line. It was Comet Mrkos that had just been discovered. That stimulated his interest in Astronomy and he has been studying it ever since. Bryan began taking astro-photos in 1985 when Halley’s made its visit. He noticed, that his favorite photos were where the Comet included trees, mountains, etc. that gave the comet a sense of scale plus made the image more interesting. Then in 1996 during the Winter Star Party, he was planning a trip for Hale-Bopp when it was announced that Hyakutake was discovered. While relaxing on the beach he remembered his grandfather’s old stereoscope. Bryan mused, why couldn’t he take 3-D pictures of the upcoming Comets? He went out and bought another camera and a bar that held the two some distance apart and started taking 3-D images of Hyakutake. By the time Hale-Bopp came he had the technique down. From that experience, which left him with over 1200 Hale-Bopp comet slides, he has developed a great interest in the Aurora Borealis.  Please see his website for more information

Due to the large interest in this show in past years, we will use the Berthoud High School Auditorium for Bryan’s presentation. Please use the East door to get to the Auditorium. Volunteers will be on hand to help you with directions. The doors will open at 7:00pm and the show will start at 7:30pm.  The Observatory will be open after his slide show, probably around 8:30pm

Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through the large telescope at various celestial objects.

Public star nights are held the third Friday of each month (except July, when we are closed for annual maintenance).

If you have any questions, please call the observatory information line at 970-613-7793 or check the LTO web site at:


Meinte Veldhuis
President, Little Thompson Science Foundation

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