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Astronomy Speaker's Night - Curiosity’s Got its Head in the Clouds: Eleven Years of Cloud Observations from Gale Crater, Mars

Visit a unique historical site in Richmond Hill and experience an engaging presentation led by experts and researchers in astronomy, covering a variety of exciting astronomy topics.

After the presentation, participants will tour the observatory and see a demonstration of the 74” telescope pointed to an interesting celestial object for the visitors to view (weather-dependent).

Please wear / bring appropriate supplies for being outside. A registered adult must accompany all registered participants under the age of 16.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the program start time in order to be signed in.

This program runs rain or shine.

Who can attend: Everyone


- up to 14 years old : $15.69

- 15 or more years old : $17.72

Registration Link: ActiveRH

Location: David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) , Ontario Science Centre

Organized by: RASC, Toronto Centre

Abstract: The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has now been active on the Martian surface for over eleven Earth years (or nearly six Mars years). During that time, the rover’s Environmental Science team has been conducting a cloud observation campaign to characterize the macro- and micro-physical properties of the clouds that appear over Curiosity’s home in Gale Crater. In this talk, Conor will be presenting an overview of the MSL cloud campaign, including the observations that comprise it and the kinds of science that these observations let us do, as well as sharing some of their favourite cloud movies that we have taken over the nearly 4000 sols of the mission to date.

Speaker bio: Conor Hayes is a PhD candidate in Physics and Astronomy at York University in Toronto, Ontario working under the supervision of Dr. John Moores. They received their Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics from The Ohio State University in 2020 and their Master of Science in Physics and Astronomy from York University in 2022. Their current research focuses on understanding the transport and storage of water and other volatile molecules on the Moon. In addition, they are a member of the Environmental Science team on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission, where they serve as the Environmental Science theme lead during mission operations planning several times each month. In this role, they help coordinate the rover’s ongoing cloud observation campaign.