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Past Meeting Presenters

MARCH 2023

“Angry Red Planet: From flybys to orbiters, landers to meteorites - what has the past 50 years taught us about life on Mars?”

By Martin Butley

February 2023

Spectroscopy: Using Light to Determine Star & Planet Composition

The light that we see from the Moon, planets, and stars contains information about the chemistry of the source of that light, and sometimes, about the celestial body reflecting and refracting that light. Different star types have different spectra according to their color and age. Planets reflect and refract light from the Sun based on the chemistry of their atmospheres. Spectroscopy is the science of using transmitted and reflected light to infer the composition, temperature, mass, and luminosity of an object. Spectrosopy is not just an tool used in astronomy. It is also used in land-based application for natural resource exploration, mapping, and surveillance. Dr. Burke’s talk will introduce the chemistry and other parameters of the stars and planets as determined through spectroscopy for the non-scientist and amateur astronomers. He will also show the results of using a spectroscopic grating and interpretation software with a small telescope from a suburban location.


Dr. Burke is trained as a geochemist and geologist and has worked in the environmental consulting, oil & gas, and geothermal industries for a total of 24 years. He is also an affiliate professor at the Colorado School of Mines and a collaborating professor at Iowa State University, both in geosciences. He was one of the junior members of the National Capital Astronomers in the 1980s in his hometown of Washington, DC. He has never been a professional astronomer. He pursues his amateur astronomy with a Meade ETX90 from the suburban Denver area.

January 2023

Elections, Open Forum

There will be an election to select LAS Officer’s and board members for 2023. Be sure to attend if you are interested in being on the LAS Board of Directors or being a club officer.

There will be presentations by:

  • Bill Tschumy about his work on variable stars
  • Eileen McKim about new research on the age of the magnetic field of Mars
  • Stephen Garretson about creating HOO Images in PixInsight

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    The Longmont Astronomical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P. O. Box 806, Longmont, CO 80502-0806, USA

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