Space Sciences Lab

Scientific Instruments Collection

  • Miller-Urey lab equipment in Prehistoric Journey

  • Binocular and petrographic microscopes

  • Petrographic microscopes

  • Binocular microscopes

  • Petrographic microscope in Gem & Mineral Hall

  • Magnifier in Gem & Mineral Hall

  • Gold scale in Gem & Mineral Hall

The Scientific Instruments Collection at DMNS is composed of instruments that have been used by Museum staff members, have been part of crucial experiments involving key scientists in their pursuit of knowledge, or are excellent type-examples of particular instruments.

The collection is maintained not only for archival and research purposes, but more importantly, to educate and increase public recognition of the fundamental role that such instruments have played not only in the advancement of the current state of technology, but also in our knowledge of the natural sciences.  As the DMNS Scientific Collection has been developed, the emphasis has been preservation of instruments that are of particular importance to the history of science and artifacts of historical significance to the Museum.  The Collection is not intended for research use per se, although many of the items included have played important roles in past research programs.

Space Sciences Digital Collection

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 2007.

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 2005.

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 2003.

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 2001.

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 1999.

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 1997.

  • Hubble image of Mars near opposition in 1995.

The Space Sciences Department maintains a large collection of digital images and multimedia assets for use in exhibitions, education, research, public programs, and Space Odyssey. The Space Sciences Department is the keeper of such valued commodities as space images, movies, and animations that are stored in digital form. The collection is comprised of a wide range of astronomy topics that provide background knowledge on Earth, our solar system, cosmology, and many more topics related to astronomy and space science. Digital resources that have significant and long-lasting value are cataloged and stored in the digital collections database, along with the necessary copyright permissions. Assets from our collection grace exhibit components, where they offer visual interpretations and the basis for ongoing dialogue with our visitors.

Report a Fireball

  • All Sky camera

  • All Sky camera on the roof of DMNS

  • Colorado network of All Sky cameras

  • All Sky data

  • Eyewitness report maps

  • DMNS meteorite posse

  • Famous Peekskill fireball of October 1992

In 2001, a citizen science effort included a system of allsky cameras, many mounted on the rooftops of schools around the state and one atop the Museum, their purpose is to record the appearance of bright fireballs in the night sky so that the trajectories of the meteorites might be determined and the objects perhaps found.  In addition to helping locate fresh meteorite falls, an allsky camera can provide valuable information about the kind of meteors you can see on any clear night, and about annual meteor showers.

Through our association with Cloudbait Observatory, we actively investigate bright fireballs, both in the interest of determining the original orbit and also of recovering any possible meteorites that might be produced. If you live in Colorado or the surrounding states, and have recently seen a very bright meteor, please report it here.

An extensive network of allsky cameras are in place to record and supplement witness reports. If you witnessed a meteor and are curious if it was recorded, try the real-time meteor log which lists all events captured by the Cloudbait camera as they occur. These events are normally processed into the main database each morning.

A general overview of fireballs can be found here.

Space Sciences Newsroom

  • Collections Manager, Marta Lindsay

  • Content Manager, Dimitri Klebe

  • Newsroom Manager, Kim Evans

  • Volunteers, Fred Spafford and Mike Snodgrass

  • Space Odyssey

  • Scientists in Action remote broadcast

  • Star Party

  • Solar Viewing

  • Special Events

From the beginning, everyone who has ever had a vision for the project that became Space Odyssey agreed on one thing: that the information provided to the public be up-to-date and accurate.  This is involved and difficult to do, as the Museum discovered in earlier exhibitions. But space sciences found the way during the planning stages of Space Odyssey: the Space Sciences Newsroom.

The Newsroom is a physical location, a place inside the Museum with the necessary equipment and resources, where staff and volunteers research, prepare and deliver up-to-date astronomy and space science content to the floor of Space Odyssey.

The Newsroom team includes Collections Manager, Marta Lindsay, Content Specialist, Dr. Dimitri Klebe and Newsroom Manager, Kim Evans; in addition, the two Space Sciences curators (Steve Lee and Ka Chun Yu) act in advisory, content review, and volunteer/staff training capacities as needed. They work together with the Newsroom volunteers to deliver topical and exhibit resources, ranging from spaceflight missions and science news, to astrobiology and supernova, to the importance of infrared light in the study of astronomy. This content is made available to Galaxy Guides via the Galaxy Guide Web Portal or as high resolution images and movies for the exhibit screens and interactives. Context, usage, and focus can change over time by virtue of changing gallery programming, targeted facilitation, and the flexibility of digital media. The challenge for the Newsroom team is to provide the volunteer Galaxy Guides with the resources they need to provide spontaneous and engaging conversations with Museum visitors on a daily basis.

Newsroom staff and volunteers are instrumental in supporting curator lectures and assisting with special events such as mission launches and landings, star parties and remote broadcasts, providing digital media and technical support/expertise. Newsroom staff and volunteers also respond to letters and phone calls from museum visitors, the public and local news media interested in space science topics.


Monthly Sky Calendar

November Sky Calendar (pdf)
Highlights this month's sky phenomena and celestial happenings with local dates and times (Mountain time zone).

Free sky maps are available at produces a nice sky chart to help in locating observable celestial objects. Maps for the month ahead are available only at the end of the current month.


2015 Sky Calendars 2014 Sky Calendars 2013 Sky Calendars

Citizen Science

Venus is a planet with a hot and dense atmosphere composed primarily of carbon dioxide. Although the wind velocity at the surface is nearly zero, at an altitude of 50-70 km, the velocity may be as high as 100 m/sec (about 200 miles/hour).

The current goal of the Venus Wind Project is to determine the wind velocity (speed and direction) of clouds. Citizen scientists measure persistent cloud features from infrared images recorded at the high-altitude NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii.

2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month
6 - 8 p.m.

For more information about the Venus Winds Project contact Mark A. Bullock []
To inquire about joining the Venus Winds Project contact Arthur Tarr []

60 Minutes in Space

Scientists from the Space Sciences Department at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science take you "behind the stories" using the best images and animation available to help understand the latest developments.

November 2015 – All Mission News All the Time with Steve Lee!

Steve begins by bringing us up to date on the latest from the surface of Mars. Opportunity has positioned itself on the northern slopes of Marathon Valley where it will spend the coming Martian winter. By tilting its solar arrays towards the Sun, it can increase the power output and continue operations during the long Martian winter. Meanwhile, on the other side of Mars, Curiosity continues its trek towards higher layers of Mt. Sharp. On this journey Curiosity will take advantage of the chance to study some modern Martian activity at mobile sand dunes.

Next up, Steve leaves the surface of Mars for a look at the MAVEN mission. Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.
Researchers are continuing to analyze data returned from New Horizon's Pluto encounter. From possible ice volcanoes to geologically diverse surfaces to oddly behaving moons that could have formed through mergers of smaller moons, Pluto system discoveries continue to surprise scientists on NASA's New Horizons mission team.
Next up, Steve looks at the Dawn mission. The stalwart probe completed a high altitude mapping orbit of Ceres. Scientists will use this data to help them further understand some of the curious aspects of the dwarf planet such as the bright regions and the puzzling number and distribution of craters.

Finally, NASA recently marked 15 years of continuous space station occupation. Steve brings us the latest news from the station including stunning images from a recent spacewalk.


Steve Lee - Mars Rovers Opportunity and Curiosity
Runtime: 22:47

Steve Lee - Maven, New Horizons and Dawn Mission Updates
Runtime: 18:47

Steve Lee - International Space Station Anniversary
Runtime: 4:56


Links to Steve’s stories:

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Hits Winter Slopes at Marathon Valley

Curiosity update, sols 1109-1165: Drilling at Big Sky and Greenhorn, onward to Bagnold Dunes

NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere

At Pluto, New Horizons Finds Geology of All Ages, Possible Ice Volcanoes, Insight into Planetary Origins

Dawn Mission Blog

NASA marks 15 years of space station occupation

Spacewalk snapshots show recent station EVAs


To view previous 60 Minutes in Space visit the Space Sciences Newsroom page on Vimeo.

Space News Update

The Space News Update is put together by volunteers and staff in the Space Sciences Newsroom. Twice a week, they review numerous space news websites to bring you the latest stories and information.

Find out what to watch for in the night sky, the best time to see the International Space Station pass overhead, the
Space Image of the Week, and more!


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