Wyoming Stargazing launches new speaker series headlined by NASA astronaut Scooter Altman

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Wyoming Stargazing will launch its first annual “World Above the Tetons” Science Speaker Series on September 8, 2018. The series will bring an impressive line-up of experts on space travel, supernovae, life on other worlds, dark sky preservation, and more. These experts will share their research and answer pressing questions about astronomy and planetary science.

Dr. Samuel Singer, founder and executive director of Wyoming Stargazing, said, “What became clear to me during last year’s total solar eclipse is that there is a hunger for knowledge here in the Tetons that isn’t currently being fed. Understanding our universe is fascinating to everyone—from children to adults, scientists to lay people. We are an inherently curious community, and you don’t need a PhD to appreciate the magic of the world around us. It’s my goal to bring these complex concepts within everyone’s reach, to help others explore the extraordinary in the ordinary.”

Altman served as one of the stunt pilots in “Top Gun.”

And talk about starting the series off with a ‘big bang.’ The September 8 guest is none other than NASA Hall of Fame astronaut Scott “Scooter” Altman. The Illinois native is a United States Navy Captain, engineer, test pilot and former NASA astronaut. Altman is a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions. His fourth mission on STS-125 was the last servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Scott Altman lecturing at Space Lectures.

In addition to his day job, Altman is also known for one of the most famous middle fingers in cinematic history. While performing many of the aerial stunts in the film Top Gun, Altman was the actual pilot that “flipped the bird” at an enemy Mig pilot (played by Robert F. Willard).

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994, Altman completed a year of training and was initially assigned to work technical aspects of orbiter landing and roll out issues for the Astronaut Office Vehicle Systems Branch.

He was the pilot on STS-90 (1998) and STS-106 (2000), and was the mission commander on STS-109 (2002) and STS-125 (2009). A veteran of four space flights, Altman has logged over 40 days in space.

Altman retired from NASA in September 2010 to join ASRC Federal Research and Technology Solutions in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The “World Above the Tetons” Science Speaker Series lineup includes:

  • Scott Altman, NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame astronaut, will discuss his career, including four NASA missions and the Imax film “Hubble” – Saturday, Sept 8
  • Jill Tarter, astrophysicist and founder of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), will discuss communicating beyond Earth – Saturday, Sept 29
  • Doug Leonard, Professor of Astronomy at San Diego State University, will discuss supernovae, black holes and the evolution of stars – Saturday, Oct 20
  • Paul Bogard, author of “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an age of Artificial Light” will discuss dark sky preservation and the impact on conservation – Friday, Nov 9

All events take place at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village at 7 pm. Tickets are available at wyomingstargazing.org or by calling 1-844-WYO-STAR


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