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The Latest Discoveries in Astronomy and Space

Program Number: 1054RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/7/2013 - 4/12/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
Price starting at: $725.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

How was the universe created? How are stars born? What is NASA working on now that the shuttle program has ended? What is the latest from the ongoing Mars missions? Find the answers in Flagstaff, the world’s first Dark Sky City and a center for astronomical study. Look skyward for two nights of viewing in some of the clearest skies in the nation and discuss the mysteries of the heavens with leading experts.




Highlights

• See where astronomy history was made — and Pluto discovered — during visits to the Lowell Observatory.
• Ponder the immensity of Meteor Crater.
• Astronomers from Northern Arizona University and Lowell Observatory discuss planetary geology, black holes, the Mars rovers’ ongoing search for water and life, Kuiper Belt and the Hubble Space Telescope.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile. Elevations up to 7,000 feet.



Dates chosen to maximize night viewing and dark skies.



Coordinated by Northern Arizona University.




Flagstaff

Nestled at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona, Flagstaff is a perfect departure point for trips to the Glen and Grand canyons or Sunset Crater National Monument. At 7,000 feet in elevation, this cool mountain city is one of the highest in the nation.



Accommodations
Comfortable hotel with pool and fitness center.
Meals and Lodgings
   Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
  Flagstaff, AZ 5 nights
 Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
Type: Motel
  Description: Four floors with 2 elevators, 128 rooms. Conveniently close to shopping. One quarter mile to Northern Arizona University. 2 miles to historic downtown Flagstaff. Wide range of cuisine available at nearby restaurants.
  Contact info: 2015 S Beulah Blvd
Flagstaff, AZ 86001 USA
phone: 928-556-8666
web: www.lq.com/lq/properties/propertyProfile.do?ident=LQ939&propId=939
  Room amenities: Free WIFI, dataport phones, premium cable channels, coffee maker, hair dryer, clock.
  Facility amenities: Seasonal outdoor pool and spa, fitness center. Deluxe continental breakfast. Guest coin operated laundry available. Free local calls. Participants requesting a refrigerator for medicine can have access to a locked refrigerator that is located in the hotel lobby area. Lobby microwave available to guests 24 hours. Safety deposit box at front desk available to all guests. Roll away beds for $10.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal Call local La Quinta for the rates available during your stay (928) 556-8666. NOTE: When they get the pre-recorded information they must hit the "6" option, to connect with group sales, which has the information about Road Scholar groups.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Seasonal Call local La Quinta for the rates available during your stay (928) 556-8666. NOTE: When they get the pre-recorded information they must hit the "6" option, to connect with group sales, which has the information about Road Scholar groups.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Flagstaff La Quinta Meeting Room 4:30 - 5:15 PM. You will be staying at Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after morning presentation at 11:00 AM. You will be staying at Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at hotel
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Flagstaff, AZ
  Nearest city or town:  Phoenix, AZ
  Nearest highway: I-17, I-40, US 89 and US 89A
  Nearest airport:  Intl: Phoenix Sky Harbor, Commuter: Flagstaff
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departures
Travel Details
 

Flagstaff, AZ to/from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
US Air
phone: 800-428-4322
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$140.00 or less
Prices are subject to change.

   

USAirways Commuter Air From Phoenix Airport to Flagstaff Airport, taxi to hotel or train station (appx. $12.00). Air fare to Flagstaff much cheaper (exact cost varies) if flight to Phoenix is also on US Air. Phoenix to Flagstaff distance 150 miles; 45 min flight time. Five flights daily.

 

Flagstaff, AZ to/from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Arizona Shuttle
phone: 877-226-8060
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approx. $45.00 one way ($41.00 Internet Reservation); $5.00 each way drop off/pickup at La Quinta
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Approx 3 hours 

 

Distance:

 

150 Miles

   

Call Arizona Shuttle for departure times PRIOR to booking flights. 9 shuttles daily from/to the Phoenix airport. Upon arrival into Phoenix airport, check in required at shuttle desk in baggage claim area of airport,15 minutes before shuttle departure. Flagstaff La Quinta Hotel drop off/pick up by advanced reservation ($5.00 extra charge per reservation BY MENTIONING ROAD SCHOLAR); otherwise the drop off/pick up is at Flagstaff Amtrak (Visitor Center). Advanced reservations required.

 

Flagstaff, AZ to/from Starting Destination

 

To Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Public Transportation
Amtrak
phone: 800-872-7245
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Varies with starting / return destination
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

From Flagstaff train station to hotel: 5 minutes taxi ride. 

 

Distance:

 

From Flagstaff train station to hotel 2 miles.

   

Westbound train arrives 8:51 PM and departs at 8:57 PM Eastbound train arrives at 4:36 AM and departs at 4:41 AM.

 
Driving Directions
  Flagstaff La Quinta From I-40 Take the I-40 to Flagstaff, AZ and exit at 195 north for Flagstaff and Grand Canyon. This puts you northbound on Milton Road. At the first stoplight, Forest Meadows, turn left. Continue west on Forest Meadows for a quarter block to the next light at Beulah Blvd. Turn right on Beulah and continue for a quarter block. La Quinta is on the left, 2015 S. Beulah.
  Flagstaff La Quinta from I-17 Travel north on 1-17 until it ends, becoming Milton Road in Flagstaff, AZ. Turn left at the first stop light on Forest Meadows. Continue for quarter block to the next light on Beulah Blvd. Turn right on Beulah and drive for a quarter block. La Quinta is on the left, 2015 S. Beulah.
Elevation Note: 7,000 feet elevation. Those with heart or lung concerns should consult a physician before attending.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Registration/Introductions & Orientation
(Sunday, April 7)
   
 Afternoon: Your Northern Arizona University coordinator will register participants from 4:30-5:15 PM in the hotel conference room or lobby.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: After dinner, introductions and orientation in the hotel conference room.
   
Accommodations: Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Our Place in the Universe/Pluto, Kuiper Belt/Discovery Channel Telecsope/Star Party Sky Viewing
(Monday, April 8)

Note: Optional 1/2 mile walk to campus, optional walk home



   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel to include waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk and coffee.
 Morning: After breakfast, shuttle or walk to NAU for the morning presentation on Our Place in the Universe. NOTE:Itinerary order may vary from this information depending on the scheduling availability of presenters. Short biographies of some of our regular astronomy instructors can be found at: http://www.franke.nau.edu/roadscholar/astrobios.htm
 Lunch: Lunch in the South Campus dining hall.
 Afternoon: The afternoon presentation(s) will be on topics such as Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, the Discovery Channel Telescope, or other topics of interest.
 Dinner: Dinner at the campus dining hall.
 Evening: After dinner, shuttle to Campus Observatory for star party sky viewing.
   
Accommodations: Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: The Inner Planets/Lowell Observatory/Back to Lowell Observatory
(Tuesday, April 9)

Note: Optional 1/2 mile walk to campus, walk around Lowell observatory, 1 flight of stairs to see Pluto discovery scope



   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel to include waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk and coffee.
 Morning: Shuttle or walk to meeting room on campus for a presentation on the inner rocky planets. How are they similar and how do they differ.
 Lunch: Lunch at the campus dining hall.
 Afternoon: Board our vans or motorcoach for a field trip to Lowell Observatory. We will see the telescope that Percival Lowell used to study the "canals" on Mars, the Pluto Discovery Telescope, and the Rotunda Exhibit Hall.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: After dinner, a field trip to Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory. We will see a multi-media presentation and weather cooperating, look through Percival Lowell's 24 inch Clark Telescope.
   
Accommodations: Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Outer Planets Presentation
(Wednesday, April 10)

Note: Optional 1/2 mile walk to campus



   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel to include waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk and coffee.
 Morning: Shuttle or walk to campus meeting room for a presentation on the geology of the outer planets and their moons. Learn about the gas giants and their unique moons.
 Lunch: Lunch at the south campus dining hall. The food is much better than when I went to college. Healthy options include salads, entrees, sandwiches. Unhealthy options include a variety of deserts.
 Afternoon: After lunch, free time in Flagstaff. Visit the historic downtown district, the Museum of Northern Arizona, the ruins at Wupatki and Walnut Canyon, or just relax.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: After dinner, free time in Flagstaff.
   
Accommodations: Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Meteor Crater/NASA
(Thursday, April 11)

Note: One mile guided walk along the rim of Meteor Crater



   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel to include waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk and coffee.
 Morning: After breakfast, travel to Meteor Crater, The best preserved meteorite impact site with an adjacent museum. This crater has been used by NASA for training of the Apollo Astronauts and by Hollywood. It is also the most heavily studied impact crater, crucial to our modern understanding of the science of impact craters. Return to Flagstaff in time for lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Sizzler Salad Bar. More than your ordinary salad bar.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will have a couple of shorter lectures on topics of current interest. Past favorites have included: Mayan Calendar, the Sun and Global Change, What's Going on at the Edge of the Solar System, The Discovery Channel Telescope, and the Mars Rover program.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: The evening presentation and discussion will center on NASA, its space station and humans in space and the down to earth benefits of space research.
   
Accommodations: Flagstaff La Quinta Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Archaeo-Astronomy, Program Review & Farewells
(Friday, April 12)
   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel to include waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk and coffee.
 Morning: The morning presentation will be on archeo-astronomy in the Southwest: what did the ancestral puebloans know about the night sky, how did they know it and how did we know that they knew it. Followed by farewells and program closing by 11 AM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Flagstaff, AZ General Overview
Points of Interest w/in 2 hours of Flagstaff: Walnut Canyon NM, Wupatki NM, Sunset Crater NM, Museum of Northern Arizona, Downtown Flagstaff & old Route 66, Lowell Observatory, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona Red Rocks and the Secret Mountain Wilderness, Montezuma’s Castle NM, Tuzigoot NM, Jerome, AZ Ghost Town, San Francisco Peaks and the Kachina Wilderness, Hopi & Navajo Reservations, La Posada Hotel / Restaurant at Winslow, AZ, Grand Canyon Railroad @ Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon National Park. For additional information, visit www.flagstaffarizona.org
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s)


Author: Timothy Ferris


Description: From the prizewinning author who has been called "the greatest science writer in the world" comes this delightfully comprehensive and comprehensible report on how science today envisions the universe as a whole. Timothy Ferris provides a clear, elegantly written overview of current research and a forecast of where cosmological theory is likely to go in the twenty-first century. He explores the questions that have occurred to even casual readers - who are curious about nature on the largest scales: What does it mean to say that the universe is "expanding," or that space is "curved"? - and sheds light on the possibility that our universe is only one among many universes, each with its own physical laws and prospects for the emergence of life. 400pp



The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet


Author: Neil DeGrasse Tyson


Description: From Pluto's 1930 discovery to the emotional reaction worldwide to its demotion from planetary status, astrophysicist, science popularizer and Hayden Planetarium director deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black Hole) offers a lighthearted look at the planet. Astronomical calculations predicted the presence of a "mysterious and distant Planet X" decades before Clyde Tombaugh spotted it in 1930. DeGrasse Tyson speculates on why straw polls show Pluto to be the favorite planet of American elementary school students (for one, "Pluto sounds the most like a punch line to a hilarious joke"). But Pluto's rock and ice composition, backward rotation and problematic orbit raised suspicions. As the question of Pluto's nature was definitively relegated Pluto to the icy realm of Kuiper Belt Objects (cold, distant leftovers from the solar system's being debated by scientists, the newly constructed Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Hayden Planetarium quietly but formation), raising a firestorm. Astronomers discussed and argued and finally created an official definition of what makes a planet. This account, if a bit Tyson-centric, presents the medicine of hard science with a sugarcoating of lightness and humor. 35 color and 10 b&w illus. (Jan.) Copyright - Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 194pp



The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory


Author: Greene, Brian


Description: A new edition of the New York Times bestseller-now a three-part Nova special: a fascinating and thought-provoking journey through the mysteries of space, time, and matter. 464pp



Islands in the Sky: Bold New Ideas for Colonizing Space


Author: Schmidt, Stanley


Description: "Let the meek inherit the earth-the rest of us are going to the stars! Here's how it's going to be done." - Robert Zubrin "These articles are not 'just science fiction.' They are things we can do-and with any luck at all, and vision and determination, we will." - Stanley Schmidt Take off on a thrilling journey of space exploration and speculation-to the realm where science fiction becomes science fact-as leading writers, researchers, and astronautic engineers describe a not-too-distant future of interstellar travel and colonization. From cable cars that ride "skyhooks" into space to rockets that can refuel out of Martian air, from "terraforming" planets (a process that makes them habitable for human life) to faster-than-light propulsion systems, Islands in the Sky offers an astonishing collection of challenging-and plausible-ideas and proposals from the pages of Analog magazine. Brilliant and provocative, here is fun-filled reading for everyone interested in science, technology, and the future. 276pp Biography: STANLEY SCHMIDT, Ph.D., is the Editor of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact magazine, for which he has received 16 Hugo Award nominations. He is the author of four novels, including Lifeboat Earth and Newton and the Quasi-Apple, and is a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Space Society.



Hunting Down the Universe


Author: Hawkins, Michael


Description: Prominent British astronomer Michael Hawkins poses a bold new theory of the missing mass of the universe while revealing the destructive rivalries and feuds that plague modern cosmology, in a book that's certain to cause a storm of controversy in the ranks of scientists and philosophers alike. 256pp



A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes


Author: Hawking, Stephen


Description: Hawking's discovery that black holes emit particles caused great excitement among astronomers. In this succinct overview of current theories of the cosmos, the Cambridge University physicist modestly weaves in his own notable contributions while giving due credit to his colleagues. He explains why relativity implies that a ``big bang'' occurred and examines string theory, which posits a universe of 10 or 26 dimensions. His understanding of time's flow leads him to conclude that intelligent beings can only exist during the expansion phase of our increasingly chaotic universe. New research on black holes and subatomic particles holds implications for scientists who, like Hawking, are attempting to devise a unified theory linking Einstein to quantum mechanics. The merit of this book is Hawking's ability to make these ideas graspable by the lay reader. Publisher's Weekly (April) 224pp



Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandries


Author: Tyson, Neil DeGrasse


Description: What would it feel like if your spaceship were to venture too close to the black hole lurking at the center of the Milky Way? According to astrophysicist Tyson, director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium, size does matter when it comes to black holes, although the chances of your surviving the encounter aren't good in any case. Tyson takes readers on an exciting journey from Earth's hot springs, where extremophiles flourish in hellish conditions, to the frozen, desolate stretches of the Oort Cloud and the universe's farthest reaches, in both space and time. Tyson doesn't restrict his musings to astrophysics, but wanders into related fields like relativity and particle physics, which he explains just as clearly as he does Lagrangian points, where we someday may park interplanetary filling stations. He tackles popular myths (is the sun yellow?) and takes movie directors most notably James Cameron to task for spectacular goofs. In the last section the author gives his take on the hot subject of intelligent design. Readers of Natural History magazine will be familiar with many of the 42 essays collected here, while newcomers will profit from Tyson's witty and entertaining description of being pulled apart atom by atom into a black hole, and other, closer-to-earth, and cheerier, topics. 9 illus. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. 384pp



Foundations of Astronomy


Author: Seeds, Michael A


Description: New edition of a colorful textbook for introductory astronomy courses. It presents astronomy as a unified system of understanding that relates the student's personal experience to the basic processes in the universe. This edition includes new discoveries and hypotheses as well as the more gradual changes in understanding among astronomers concerning such things as black holes, dark matter, and the geology of Venus. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) 736pp Biography: Mike Seeds is Professor, Emeritus of Astronomy at Franklin and Marshall College, where he has taught since 1970. His research interests have focused on peculiar variable stars and the automation of astronomical telescopes. He extended his research by serving as the principal astronomer in charge of the Phoenix 10, the first fully robotic telescope, located in southern Arizona.



Planetary Dreams: The Quest to Discover Life Beyond Earth


Author: Shapiro, Robert


Description: The surprisingly long history of debate over extraterrestrial life is full of marvelous visions of what life "out there" might be like, as well as remarkable stories of alleged sightings and heated disputes about the probability that life might actually have arisen more than once. In Planetary Dreams, acclaimed author Robert Shapiro explores this rich history of dreams and debates in search of the best current answers to the most elusive and compelling of all questions: Are we alone? Planetary Dreams offers a thoughtful and entertaining exploration of both the history of our hopes and expectations and a vision of a possible future in which the discovery of life elsewhere will provide a new view of our place in the universe. 306pp



The Theory of Everything


Author: Hawking, Stephen


Description: Hawking takes readers on a fascinating journey through the telescopic lens of modern physics to gain a new glimpse of the universe--the nature of black holes, the space-time continuum, and new information about the origin of the universe. 132pp





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