Aug. 4, 2011—The University of Denver in conjunction with the Denver Astronomical Society will host a "Vesta Fiesta" for the public August 6 at DUs' Historic Chamberlin Observatory. The event celebrates the beginning of the NASA Dawn mission's year-long visit to the protoplanet Vesta. The Dawn spacecraft left Earth on Sept 27, 2007 and will finally reach its first destination, Vesta, this month after a journey of 2 billion miles.
Dawn is the NASA's second mission powered by advanced technology known as ion propulsion and it's the first NASA mission to orbit two solar system objects.
Using data from Dawn's visit, scientists will seek to understand some of the most fundamental questions in planetary science: How did planets form? What were the starting materials that formed our solar system? What is the origin of meteorites that fall on Earth? The Dawn Spacecraft will send back new and exciting data that will give scientists a snapshot of the early solar system and answers to these questions and more.
DU's Vesta Fiesta will feature viewing of the moon and Saturn through the historic 20-inch telescope and DAS members' telescopes early in the evening, along with talks about Vesta and meteorites, the latest images from NASA and hands-on exhibits of meteorites believed by scientists to have come from Vesta. The protoplanet rises into view over Denver that night after 10 p.m. and will be visible with the 20-inch and other telescopes, conditions permitting.
A video about the Observatory is here.
What: Vesta Fiesta: Celebrating the arrival of the NASA Dawn exploration mission to the protoplanet Vesta
When: 7-10 p.m., Saturday, August 6.
Where: University of Denver Historic Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 E. Warren Ave., in University Park.
Information: For more information call (303) 871-5172