DAS Activities

DAS Public Nights

Public Nights
Tuesday and Thursday at
DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Current start time is 8:30 pm
Costs to the public are:
$4.00 adults, $3.00 children

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Public Night

General Meeting -April 2018

April 27, 2018 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
DU's Olin Hall, Room 105
2190 E Iliff Ave
Denver, CO 80210
Lindsey Shaw

Dr. Hal Levison
South West Research Institute, Boulder

NASA’s Lucy Mission to Study the Trojan Asteroids

Lucy is one of the latest NASA Discovery class missions and will send a uniquely configured spacecraft to investigate six primitive bodies near both the L4 and L5 Lagrange points with Jupiter — the Jupiter Trojans where planetesimals from the outer planetary system have been preserved since early in Solar System history. All of the stable populations of the Solar System have been visited by spacecraft, except for the Trojans. The Lucy mission will fill in that gap by extensively studying all the recognized taxonomic classes of Jupiter Trojans. Owing to the critical role they play in constraining models of the formation and evolution of the Solar System, and the belief that they provide a fossil record of planet formation, Trojans have been a high priority for space missions for over a decade. Therefore, Lucy will provide unique and critical knowledge of planetary origins, the source of volatiles and organics on the terrestrial planets, and the evolution of the planetary system as a whole. This comprehensive tour is enabled by a fortuitous orbital alignment that is unlikely to recur in the near future. The mission is called Lucy in honor of the influence that the primitive Australopithecus human fossil named Lucy had in advancing understanding of the history of our species, and embodies the goal that this mission will similarly advance our understanding of the formation and evolution of our Solar System.

Dr. Levison’s Bio:

A.B. in  Physics (with honors), Franklin and Marshall College, 1981.
M.S. in Astronomy, The University of Michigan, 1983.
Ph.D. in Astronomy, The University of Michigan, 1986.
Thesis Topic: Scale-Free Models of Highly Flattened Elliptical Galaxies

Dr. Levison is the Principal Investigator of NASA’s Lucy mission to study the Trojan asteroids.  Lucy will launch in 2021.  Dr. Levison is a well known expert in the areas of planet formation, the long-term evolution of the Solar System, and the role that small bodies play in detangling these topics.  In particular, Dr. Levison’s work includes studies of the formation of both giant and terrestrial planets, the long-term dynamical behavior of comets, the dynamics of objects in the Kuiper belt, the origin and stability of Trojan asteroids, and the formation of satellites. He is perhaps best known, however, for his work on the early dynamical evolution of the outer Solar System, and is an author of the so-called Nice model.  Dr. Levison is currently an Institute Science in Department of Space Science of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Short Business Meeting, Observing Reports, Presentation, Reception at DU’s Historic Chamberlin Observatory



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