Astronomy Day 2022 – October 22nd

Von Braun Astronomical Society will celebrate Astronomy Day on October 22nd in person at MonteSano State Park! Beginning at 1:00 p.m., events will include: solar viewing, mini-planetarium shows, rockets, vacuum-chamber demonstrations of what it’s like in space, and several other fun STEAM activities.

Astronomy Day is FREE and open to the public!

Participating Organizations

NASA, AIAA, HAL5, Alabama STEAMfest, US Space & Rocket Center, NSC Huntsville, Marshall Amateur Radio Club.

Daytime Planetarium Show Schedule

1 pm: Visual Astronomy by Tom Burleson

2 pm: James Webb Space Telescope by Dr. Naveen Vetcha

3 pm: Asteroids by Dr. Eric Silkowski

4 pm: Swanson Telescope Upgrade Project by Jeff Delmas

Keynote Speaker

At 7:00 p.m. VBAS will host special guest Ms. Alice Bowman, the Operations Manager for the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond.

VBAS Thanks AIAA Greater Huntsville Section for arranging the guest speaker for this year’s Astronomy Day.

New Horizons Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is seen during a press conference after the team received confirmation from the New Horizons spacecraft that it has completed the flyby of Ultima Thule, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Overview: Alice Bowman, the New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM) will talk about the voyage of NASA’s historic mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt– which culminated with the first flight past the distant dwarf planet on July 14, 2015 and the first encounter with a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) on January 1, 2019. She’ll speak about this continuing journey through the eyes of the APL mission operations team and describe some of the technical, scientific, and personal challenges of piloting the New Horizons spacecraft across the solar system on its voyage to the farthest reaches of the planetary frontier.  

Speaker Bio

Alice Bowman is a member of the Principal Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. She is the Space Mission Operations Group supervisor and the NASA New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM). She supervises approximately 50 staff members who operate deep space and Earth-orbiting spacecraft, including NASA’s TIMED, STEREO, New Horizons, and Parker Solar Probe. As the New Horizons MOM, Alice leads the team that controls the spacecraft that made a historic flyby of the Pluto system in July 2015. And on New Year’s 2019, just after midnight, New Horizons made history again with a flight past the Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth – the most distant flyby ever conducted, 4 billion miles from Earth. Prior to operating spacecraft, she worked in the fields of computer modeling, drug research and long-wave detector research. 

Alice has a degree in chemistry and physics from the University of Virginia and has more than 30 years of experience in space operations. She is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has served on the International SpaceOps Committee since 2009.