Invited Speakers

Dr. Jeffrey Hall

Director, Lowell Observatory
Tuesday, September 22 | 9:30 am MDT

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From LEDs to Satellites: Ground-based and Space-based Challenges to Dark Skies

Significant changes to the character of the night sky have occurred with the advent of widespread use of LED technology for outdoor lighting worldwide, as well as with the development of so-called “megaconstellations” of satellites intended to provide worldwide broadband internet connectivity from low Earth orbit. In this talk, I will review the principal impacts of LEDs and satellites on the sky for both visual observing and remote sensing, as well as the work underway to mitigate the rapidly growing ground-based and space-based impacts.

Jeffrey Hall is Director of Lowell Observatory. He has a B.A. in physics from Johns Hopkins and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from Penn State. He joined the staff at Lowell in 1992 as a postdoctoral research fellow, specializing in optical spectroscopy and variations of the Sun and Sun-like stars. His principal avocation is music; he is the substitute organist at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Flagstaff and former President of the Board of Directors of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. He is presently the Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s standing committee on light pollution, radio interference, and space debris.

Dr. Martin G. Mlynczak

Senior Research Scientist, Climate Science Branch, NASA Langley Research Center
Tuesday, September 22 | 1:00 pm MDT

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Atmospheric Change High and Low: Measurement Imperatives for the Future

Earth’s atmosphere is undergoing change from its surface to the edge of space. These changes have significant social and technical consequences. Largely driven by the continual buildup of carbon dioxide throughout the atmosphere, Earth’s troposphere is warming while the upper layers (the stratosphere to the thermosphere) are cooling. These long-predicted results are consistent with the basic physics of atmospheric radiative transfer and the continued, significant accumulation of multiple infrared-active gases. Understanding the extent and ultimate magnitude of long-term changes is critical to the future of our society. Tropospheric warming is forecast to have significant social and economic impacts. Although it gets less attention, the cooling of the upper atmosphere also has consequences, largely in the area of future space operations. This talk will discuss the physics of atmospheric change and will provide supporting observational data. The fundamental scientific need is the ability to predict the future atmospheric state with high accuracy in order to confidently inform societal decisions on the mitigation and adaptation to these changes and on the potential reduction of infrared-active gases in the atmosphere. The key to meeting this need will be long-term, accurately calibrated and continuous observations to validate the complex Earth system models used to predict future climate.

Dr. Mlynczak is a Senior Research Scientist in the Climate Science Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. For the past 30 years he has studied the climate and energy balance of the Earth’s whole atmosphere. He has been a team member or investigator on nearly every major satellite project addressing climate including the NASA Earth Science CERES and AIRS instruments, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), and the international Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument, and the future CLARREO mission. He is currently the Associate Principal Investigator of the SABER instrument on the NASA TIMED mission exploring the mesosphere and thermosphere.

He has also led multiple technology development projects for climate sensing including the FIRST, INFLAME, CORSAIR, FORGE, FIREBIB, and FIDTAP projects. He is also an Affiliate Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Dr. Mlynczak has received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (2003), and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2009). In 2012, he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor NASA bestows, for his work in the atmospheric and climate sciences. His has published nearly 240 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered nearly 100 invited talks, tutorials, or keynote lectures at national and international science symposia. Dr. Mlynczak received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1989; the M. S. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1984; and the B. S. degree in physics from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1981.