Every few decades an impressive comet arrives in the Earth's neighborhood and demands our attention. In this free public lecture, Dr. Donald K. Yeomans will discuss what can be expected of Comet Hale-Bopp, why comets have had such an impact on life on Earth, and what space missions are being planned to study these visitors from the very edge of our solar system.
Dr. Yeomans is a Senior Research Scientist and Supervisor of the Solar System Dynamics Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This group is responsible for tracking all the planets, natural satellites, comets and asteroids in the solar system. He provided the accurate position predictions that led to the recovery of comet Halley at Palomar Observatory on Oct. 16, 1982, as well as the predictions that led to the successful flybys of Halley by five international spacecraft in March, 1986. He also provided the position predictions for asteroids 951 Gaspra in Oct. 1991 and 243 Ida in Aug. 1993 that helped the Galileo spacecraft make the first close-up images of an asteroid. More recently, he worked with Paul Chodas to provide the accurate predictions for the impacts of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in July 1994. He is currently President of Commission 20 of the International Astronomical Union and Radio Science Team Chief for NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission, a mission that was successfully launched toward the asteroid Eros on Feb. 17, 1996.
Dr. Yeomans has been given five NASA awards including an Exceptional Service Medal in 1986. In addition, he was presented with a Space Achievement Award by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an Award of Appreciation by the Goddard Space Flight Center. Asteroid 2956 has been renamed 2956 Yeomans. He has authored three books and over 70 technical papers on comets and asteroids.
Refreshments will be served beginning at 2:00. The Altadena Public Library is at 600 E. Mariposa St. in Altadena, California, at the corner of Santa Rosa Ave. (Christmas Tree Lane). Exit the 210 Freeway at Lake Ave. in Pasadena, and go north on Lake approximately 2-1/2 miles to Mariposa St. Turn left and go to the second stop sign. The library is on the southwest corner. The parking lot entrance is to the south of the library, on Santa Rosa Ave.
This lecture is sponsored by the Mount Wilson Observatory Association (MWOA) a volunteer support group for the Mount Wilson Observatory. For more information, call Bob Eklund at (310) 333-3478.
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