On November 9, the stars will align in the Village of Oak Creek for an evening of astronomy entertainment. Lowell planetary scientist Dr. Will Grundy headlines the festivities with a presentation about NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper belt. Besides discussing the dramatic 2015 flyby of Pluto and the resulting scientific discoveries, he will also talk about New Horizons’ upcoming flyby of the Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. Grundy will be joined at the event by Lowell educators, who plan to set up telescopes for viewing Saturn, the Moon, and a variety of star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae. Hosted by the Verde Valley Friends of Lowell Observatory, the event runs from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Oak Creek Country Club, located at 690 Bell Rock Boulevard. The cost is $25 per person, with proceeds going to support Lowell Observatory’s education programs. Reservations are recommended and tickets are available here. Guests may also pay by check or cash at the door.
Grundy is a planetary scientist who studies the physical characteristics, compositions, and processes affecting icy planets, Kuiper belt objects, and giant planet satellites. His research involves a variety of experimental techniques, including space- and ground-based imaging and spectroscopy, and laboratory studies of cryogenic materials. He is an author on more than 100 scientific papers on these topics and co-author of a book about northern Arizona’s ties to Plut, Pluto and Lowell Observatory: A history of Discovery at Flagstaff. He heads the Surface Composition science theme team for the New Horizons mission and is an instrument scientist on NASA’s Lucy mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. His earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Yale University (1988) and his Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona (1995). He completed Chateaubriand and Hubble postdoctoral fellowships before joining the faculty at Lowell Observatory.