Guest Speakers


Speaker Bios

Additional Guest Speakers to be added soon!



meet the

Doug Duncan

Dr. Doug Duncan is an astronomer at the University of Colorado, and former director of the Fiske Planetarium, the most advanced planetarium in the US. Duncan earned degrees at Caltech and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was part of the project that first found sunspot cycles on other stars. It is the sun's activity, sunspots and the solar wind, that causes the northern lights. Subsequently he joined the staff of the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Duncan is well known as a popularizer of astronomy. From 1997-2002 he did science commentary on Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ. He has appeared on television programs such as the History Channel and BBC Horizon. 

In 2001 he received the prestigious Richard Emmons award presented to the "Outstanding Astronomy Teacher in the US."

Dr. Duncan leads educational trips throughout the world to watch total eclipses of the sun and to see the northern lights. In 1991 he traveled to the North Pole and was elected to The Explorer's Club of New York City. In 2014 he began science commentary on the Colorado Public Radio program "Colorado Matters".


Steve Hawley

Dr. Steve Hawley is the astronaut who launched the Hubble Space Telescope,
using the "arm" of the Space Shuttle. Hawley received astronomy degrees from
the University of Kansas and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He joined
NASA in 1978, as part of the first co-ed class of astronauts and the first one that
separated pilots and scientists. Dr. Hawley flew five times on the Space Shuttle,
including a flight to upgrade Hubble after it was launched and a flight to launch
the Chandra X-ray telescope. Steve is known as one of the best and funniest
speakers in the entire astronaut corps. Since retiring from NASA he is now
professor of astronomy at the University of Kansas.

Chris Impey

Winner of the American Astronomical Society’s Education Prize for 2021, Chris Impey is internationally known for bringing the excitement of astronomy to tens of thousands of people, in person and online. Chris is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 210 refereed publications on observational cosmology, galaxies, and quasars, and his research has been supported by $20 million in NASA and NSF grants. He has won eleven teaching awards and has taught two online classes with over 280,000 enrolled and 3 million minutes of video lectures watched. Chris Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society, and he has won its Education Prize. He’s also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Carnegie Council’s Arizona Professor of the Year, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. He has written 70 popular articles on cosmology, astrobiology and education, two textbooks, a novel called Shadow World, and eight popular science books: The Living Cosmos, How It Ends, Talking About Life, How It Began, Dreams of Other Worlds, Humble Before the Void, Beyond: The Future of Space Travel, and Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes.

Erica Ellingson

Prof. Ellingson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research and teaching interests include cosmology galaxy clusters, historical and cultural astronomy and is a faculty fellow in CU’s multidisciplinary Center for the Study of Origins. She is active in a number of programs whose goals are to increase diversity in the sciences, and leads a program to bring astronomy to rural and underserved schools throughout Colorado. She has produced numerous presentations  in collaboration with Fiske Planetarium and the National park Service, including programs on dark energy and the prehistoric astronomy of the American Southwest.

nick Schnieder

Nick Schneider leads the Remote Sensing Team on NASA's MAVEN mission to Mars, designed to solve the mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere. The team operates the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph which is acquiring some of the best ultraviolet images and spectra of Mars. He is a professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at CU, and holds a research appointment in CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. He received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his MAVEN research, and the Emmons Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a national award for undergraduate astronomy education.  With CU graduates Jeff Bennett, Megan Donahue, and Mark Voit, he co-authored the most widely-used textbook in astronomy: The Cosmic Perspective. This will be his fourth total  solar eclipse.

Dr Emily Levesque

Dr. Emily Levesque is a professor in the University of Washington’s Astronomy department, studying the physics of how the largest stars in the universe evolve and die. She is the recipient of the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce prize and the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon award from  the American Astronomical Society. Dr. Levesque is also a 2019 Cottrell Scholar and a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. From 2010 to 2015 Dr. Levesque was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and she earned her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Hawaii and an S.B. in Physics from MIT. Dr. Levesque’s first popular science book, The Last Stargazers, shares the behind-the-scenes tales and adventures of life as a professional astronomer.