NSN Webinar: Seeking Hot Young Stars: The Story of the World

NSN Webinar: Seeking Hot Young Stars: The Story of the World's First Astronomical Observatory in Space

  • Daytime Event
  • Nighttime Event
  • Inside Venue
  • Target Audience
  • Teen, Adult
Images: courtesy of Ginger Butcher

NASA Night Sky Network members joined Ginger Butcher from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on November 7, 2018 as she told the story of the first* astronomical observatory in space. The webinar recording will be uploaded shortly and shared on our YouTube page.

*ED: This depends on your definition, of course! In this instance we mean long-duration multi-year orbiting observatory launched by NASA designed primarily for civilian use by the astronomical community
 
About the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-2

On Dec. 7, 1968, NASA launched the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 2 (OAO-2), the heaviest and most complex unmanned spacecraft in NASA’s history at the time. Stargazer was second in a series of 4 planned observatories and a lot was on the line. After the $60 million OAO-1 satellite suffered a power failure right after launch, another loss could have been catastrophic for the $321 million OAO program and future observatories.

Stargazer would give astronomers their first long gaze at stars in ultraviolet from above Earth’s absorbing atmosphere. The only unobscured observations prior to 1968 were only glimpses of stellar bodies as sounding rockets rotated the instruments field of view mapping just a sliver of the night sky. Over 15 years of rocket flights gathered only 3 hours of ultraviolet data. In just 6 months, OAO could survey over 50,000 stars and would unlock mysteries of young stars, the size of the universe, and new science into the evolution of stars. Dr. John Clark, Director of Goddard Space Flight Center said that OAO “may prove as great a step forward in astronomy as the invention of the telescope.”

Ginger Butcher, daughter of OAO project scientist and project manager Jim Kupperian, tells the story of this pioneering series of observatories. It was in 1968 that the curtain of the atmosphere was drawn from our scientific eyes marking the dawn of a new age of astronomical research.

About Ginger Butcher

Ginger Butcher is an accomplished, award-winning Science Writer and Outreach Coordinator with over 20 years experience working for NASA Headquarters and Goddard Space Flight Center. She authored unique education products for K-12 audience that are still popular over a decade later. She has extensive background translating complex, scientific terms for the public and educators, in both writing and illustrations, through various media such as public talks, interactive displays, books, brochures, and websites. Her undergraduate work was in Geography with a focused on remote sensing and cartography and received her Masters Degree in Instructional Systems Development from the University of Maryland. Ginger has ’s parents met at Goddard, and her father Jim Kupperian started the Astronomy program at Goddard in 1959.

last update: November 7, 2018

Video

NSN Webinar: Seeking Hot Young Stars: The Story of the World's First Astronomical Observatory in Space

NASA Night Sky Network members joined Ginger Butcher from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on November 7, 2018 as she told the story of the first* astronomical observatory in space.

Activity Key

Daytime Event
Daytime Event
Nighttime Event
Nighttime Event
Inside Venue
Inside Venue
Outside Venue
Outside Venue
star
Target Audience