Science in the Mountains

Science in the Mountains is a FREE year-round, virtual lecture program. Join Mount Washington Observatory staff each month as we bring experts from across the fields of weather, climate and beyond to the comfort of your home screen. Register for each lecture below.

This FREE series is hosted virtually by Mount Washington Observatory using Zoom, and streams live on the Observatory’s Facebook Page. Recordings of each program are available the day after they air on MWO’s YouTube channel and below. See the upcoming schedule to find the link to register for each program:

Made possible by generous funding from Northway Bank

Upcoming Schedule

All programs begin at 7pm unless otherwise indicated, and we encourage you to connect early and come with questions!

June 18th at 7pm: Photons on a Mission: NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2)
Brian Campbell, NASA Senior Earth Science Specialist and Subject Matter Expert (SME) 

Launched in 2018, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is one of NASA’s current missions measuring the height of our changing Earth. Using a photon-counting laser altimeter (space laser!), ICESat-2 allows scientists to measure the elevation of ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and more- all in unprecedented detail. Join NASA Senior Earth Science Specialist Brian Campbell to learn more about how ICESat-2 helps scientists investigate why, and how much, our cryosphere is changing in a warming climate. Brian will also discuss how citizen scientists from around the world can take tree height measurements using their mobile devices with the GLOBE Observer App and compare these ground-based tree height observations with those space-based tree height observations from ICESat-2. 

Previous Programs

Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 7pm: Forecasting the 2024 Total Eclipse
Shawn Laatsch, Director of the Versant Power Astronomy Center at the University of Maine, Orono; Francis Tarasiewicz, Weather Observer/Education Specialist, Mount Washington Observatory 

On April 8th, 2024, portions of the United States, including Northern New England, will experience a total solar eclipse when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the Sun. This will be the only total solar eclipse in the northeastern United States until 2079. Join astronomer Shawn Laastch from the University of Maine and Weather Observer/Education Specialist Francis Tarasiewicz from Mount Washington Observatory to learn about the science of eclipses, how to safely view them, and crucially, what the weather forecast will likely be in your planned viewing location. Come with questions and help share in the excitement of this unforgettable event.

March 12th at 7pm: Storm Chasing- It’s Rocket Science!
Reed Timmer, Ph.D., Extreme Meteorologist 

Tornadoes are one of the most destructive natural forces on Earth, yet there is still much to learn about this dynamic, hard-to-predict phenomena. Join renowned storm chaser and extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer to learn about the Team Dominator project, launching miniaturized, pseudo-Lagrangian sensors into tornadoes. Tornado strength and behavior are determined by gradients in thermodynamics within the tornado, supercell, and surrounding environment. Tim’s mission is to measure this data inside of the tornado and parent mesocyclone using parachuted probes launched from the top of Dominator 3. In this presentation, Tim will share the data collected using the Dominators, ground-based probes, and our rocket launches in tornadoes. Never stop chasing. 

February 20th at 7pm, 2024: Projecting Future Trends in Extreme Precipitation over the Northeast US
Robert Nazarian, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Special Assistant to the Associate Vice Provost for Research, Fairfield University 

The summer of 2023 reminded us that the Northeast US is no stranger to extreme precipitation and raises the question of how the strongest storms over the region will change in a warming climate. Join us as we explore new research that answers this question and potential impacts, with particular emphasis on the White Mountain region.