Keynote: Dr. Stefanie Milam

Title: Revealing the Infrared Universe with JWST: From our Nearest Neighbors to the First Galaxies


Bio: Dr. Milam works in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  She obtained her BS in Chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. She is an expert in rotational spectroscopy, observations, and laboratory modeling of astrochemistry and molecular astrophysics of the interstellar medium, evolved stars, star formation regions, and comets. Her observational focus is in the compositional studies of primitive bodies, namely comets and interstellar objects, and uses ground- and space-based facilities to understand their connection to the formation and evolution of planetary systems.  She also has a laboratory dedicated to simulate interstellar/cometary/planetary ices and detect trace species to help constrain the chemical complexity of the ices, the amount of processing that occurs, and interpret past and present data from missions that observe ice features.  Dr. Milam has been working on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science since 2014. Under this role she has helped enable observations within our own solar system from Near-Earth Asteroids to the farthest reaches of the Kuiper belt and even the brightest objects in the infrared sky (e.g. Mars). She also works with a number of other Astrophysics missions to advise on planetary science capabilities. In 2021, she was honored when asteroid 40706 (1999 RO240) was renamed to 40706 Milam.  She received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 2022 for her work on enabling Solar System Science with JWST.


Larry McHenry

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: http://www.stellar-journeys.org/


Edwin Hubble: The Surveyor of the Universe


One hundred years ago, on the night of October 5th, 1923, a discovery was made that changed our understanding of the cosmos.  American astronomer Edwin Hubble, using the new 100” Hooker reflector telescope at Mt Wilson Observatory, identified within the Andromeda Nebula what was to become the first extra-galactic variable star. This led to astronomers adopting the expanding universe theory!  Some historians consider Hubble’s discovery to be one of the greatest in astronomy since Galileo’s time.

Through his work of studying variable stars in galaxies, Hubble broke new ground in our understanding of the universe, and along the way sparked the basics of the Big Bang Theory.  Today, we’re going to look-back on his life and accomplishments, and talk a little bit about his discoveries. We’ll also review a number of my observations of Hubble’s objects and how you can observe them too.

Nico Carver

Nico Carver has always been a camera nut. After graduating college with a degree in filmmaking, he traveled around the world and first fell in love with photographing the night sky while shooting Aurora in Iceland. He now works full-time in astrophotography education, and runs a successful YouTube channel that aims to help beginners get started with Astrophotography.
Nico will be providing 2 talks

Title: You don’t need a telescope! Deep Sky Astrophotography with Camera Lenses
Description: Shooting the night sky can seem daunting for the beginner. The mistake many make is thinking they should immediately attach their camera to a large telescope, or go buy lots of complex equipment. Nico Carver will lead participants through a short workshop on how to use normal photography gear for shooting the stars. With just a tripod, a DSLR or mirrorless camera, and a fast lens, one can start taking stunning shots of many of the brighter deep sky objects including popular nebulae and galaxies in the Messier catalog.
Title: Preparing for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Description: A total solar eclipse should be a bucket list item for any photographer. The last total solar eclipse in the USA was in 2017, and we luckily have another coming up in under a year from now: April 8th, 2024. After that it will be a 20 year wait for the next total solar eclipse in the Continental USA, so you don’t want to miss this one! Nico will share all the preparations you need to make over the coming year including:

  • Buying (or making) proper solar filters
  • Equipment to bring for viewing and photographing the eclipse
  • Where to see totality
  • How to plan for inclement weather
  • How to find and focus on the sun
  • Automation