Keynote Speaker, Dr. Bryan Holler, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Title: The James Webb Telescope: Images and discoveries thus far…

Bio: Dr. Bryan Holler is a researcher at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is a member of the MIRI Instrument Team on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and is the science lead for the JWST Exposure Time Calculator. Bryan worked with Dr. Leslie Young (SwRI) while a graduate student at CU Boulder and his thesis focused on ground-based NIR spectroscopy of Triton, Pluto, and Charon. His current scientific studies aim to characterize the surface compositions and satellites of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). He fervently hopes to combine these two pursuits in the near future with JWST to further constrain the origins of TNO binary and multiple systems.

Phoebe Sandhaus

Title: The Twists and Turns of Exoplanet Discoveries

Talk Description: Humanity has always wondered about the possibility of worlds beyond our own.  In the ’90s, astronomers finally began to detect these other worlds, known as exoplanets.  As more and more exoplanets have been discovered, we have realized that our Solar System may not be as normal as we once thought.  Come along on this journey of exoplanet discovery, where we meet hot Jupiters, super-puffs, and super-Earths, and learn about just how weird planets can be!

Bio: Phoebe Sandhaus is an Astronomy and Astrophysics Ph.D. student at Penn State.  She has been awarded the Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Science Achievement Graduate Scholarship in Astronomy and the Astronomy Department DEI Award.  Phoebe has a B.S. in Physics from UMBC and an M.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Penn State.  Currently, her primary research uses computer simulations to study planet formation theories.  In her free time, she loves playing video games, doing jigsaw puzzles, and making cross-stitch.

Larry McHenry

Title: Halton Arp and his Peculiar Galaxies

Talk Description: In 1966 American astrophysicist Halton Arp published a paper titled “Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies”, which list 338 ‘interesting’ photographs of galaxies that didn’t fit into the normal Hubble classification scheme. Through his work of studying these types of unusual galaxies, Arp broke new ground in our understanding the universe, and along the way sparked a debate that challenged the basics of the Big Band Theory. Today, we’re going to look-back on his life and accomplishments, talk a little bit about the redshift controversy, and his Atlas. We’ll also review a number of my observations of his peculiar galaxies.

Bio: Larry has been active in amateur astronomy for over 40 years, and is a member of the Kiski Astronomers, and the Oil Region Astronomical Society (ORAS) in Western Pennsylvania.  You can learn more about Larry’s astronomical interests online at his webportal:

David Farina

Title: How to get the most out of a night of observing & imaging

Talk Description: Have you ever experienced a spectacular night of observation or imaging but in retrospect, wish you had planned more to get the most out of those amazing clear skies? In this talk,  planetarium director, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Dave Farina will discuss the importance of pre-planning observation sessions. The talk will focus on selecting targets based on target type, moving between targets, choosing the right eyepiece & telescope combination for visual observation, and selecting the right telescope & camera combination for astrophotography. 

Bio: Dave Farina is a veteran high school and college astronomy educator with over a decade of experience teaching the science of astronomy and running a planetarium and observatory. Dave served as president of the Astronomy Enthusiasts of Lancaster County from 2014-2020 where he coordinated monthly meetings and a successful monthly public star watch program. Dave continues to conduct outreach by volunteering as a NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratories Solar System Ambassador. Dave also produces educational astronomy content for his website and Cosmos Safari YouTube Channel.