The Department of Space Sciences was added as a core competency
in 2001 during the conceptual design phase of Space Odyssey.
DSS assumed an integral operational support function once
Space Odyssey opened in mid-2003. This support includes
multimedia content production by the Space Sciences Newsroom,
development and maintenance of the Museum Galaxy Guide web portal,
ongoing volunteer training, participation in the Space Odyssey Core
Team, and provision of ongoing scientific expertise. Such an
extensive support role is unique across the Museum's core
The Department of Space Sciences is the Museum leader in
delivering outreach programs to our community, making the Museum
the place to be for participating in and learning about space
exploration. Outreach programs include:
Department of Space Sciences members serve the professional
Department of Space Sciences staff engage in world-class scientific research and are leaders in procuring external research funding for projects in:
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.
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.
May 2018 - Ka Chun Yu and Steve Lee are our presenters this month.
Ka Chun begins with a look at recent research on retrograd Asteroid 2015 BZ509 and how astronomers used computer simulations to map the asteroid's path around the Sun.
Ka Chun's next story focuses on ESA's release of data from the Gaia mission. It includes the positions on the sky for approximately 1.7 billion stars.
Steve presents four stories from Mars. First, he brings us up to date on both Mars rovers - Opportunity and Curiosity. Then he talks about the design & development of a helicoptor that will be part of the Mars 2020 mission.
Finally, Steve talks about the recent launch of the Mars InSight Lander from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Ka Chun Yu - Retrograde Asteroid 2015 BZ509Runtime: 9:54
Ka Chun Yu - Gaia Data Map's a Billion StarsRuntime: 8:46
Steve Lee - Mars Rover Opportunity Update Runtime: 8:50
Steve Lee - Mars Rover Curiosity Update Runtime: 13:49
Steve Lee - Mars 2020 HelicopterRuntime: 4:02
Steve Lee - Mars InSight Mission Launch Runtime: 11:52
Links to Ka Chun's stories:
An Interstellar Object Has Been Hiding in Our Solar System This Whole Time
Gaia Turns Up 13,928 White Dwarfs Nearby the Sun
Links to Steve's stories:
Opportunity Ready to Study Rock Targets Up Close
Drilling Success: Curiosity is Collecting Mars Rocks
Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA's Next Red Planet Rover Mission
After foggy departure, it's clear sailing to Mars for InSight lander
To view past 60 Minutes in Space videos visit our YouTube playlist.
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!SNU_20180619.pdfSNU_20180615.pdf
June 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 www.skymaps.com.Skymaps.com 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.
VENUS WINDS PROJECTVenus 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.MeetingsEvery other Tuesday 6 - 8 p.m.
For more information about the Venus Winds Project contact Mark A. Bullock [[email protected]] To inquire about joining the Venus Winds Project contact Arthur Tarr [[email protected]]
The mission of the Department of Space Sciences (DSS) is to educate Museum visitors and our local community with accurate and scientifically sound information regarding space sciences. We accomplish this by communicating up-to-date space sciences information through the Space Odyssey exhibition and public programming. DSS includes research staff with expertise in planetary science, space science, astrobiology, and astrophysics. Most of the department's collections are digital. The Space Sciences Newsroom is a digital media center with staff and volunteers who produce and maintain a collection of up-to-date resources used in Space Odyssey and space sciences programming.
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Curator of Space Science
Business Support Specialist 303.370.6367 [email protected]