Jean Creighton

Astronomy Contributor

To Dr. Jean Creighton, physics is the gateway to astronomy. She studied physics at the University of Athens and went on to earn a masters degree from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Waterloo. She began teaching astronomy at UW-Milwaukee in 1999 and in 2007, she took over as director of UWM's Manfred Olson Planetarium.

Kevin Gill / Flickr

Every month Lake Effect contributor Jean Creighton discusses new and exciting happenings in the world of astronomy and astrophysics, but this month we’re taking a bit of a look back.

In July of 1976, the American Viking shuttle had a soft landing on Mars to capture a 20 second video before going silent, most likely due to a dust storm.

"I don't think they understood at that time truly how magnificent it was, because it was two decades before we were able to do that again," says the director of the UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium, Jean Creighton.

Bill Ingalls/NASA

On July 4th, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will enter orbit around Jupiter, and it's been a long time in the making. An Atlas V rocket launched with the Juno spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 5, 2011. It's five-year, 400 million mile voyage to Jupiter will soon have it orbiting the planet to investigate its origin.

vchalup / Fotolia

Every month we talk with astronomer Jean Creighton about goings on in the night sky. 

This month, she talks with us about how to wrap your head around the night vista you have – or how to wrap the night vista around your head:

Jean Creighton directs the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee.

Judy Schmidt / Flickr

Explaining complex concepts or theories to a general audience can be tricky. It's a problem many experts face when trying to describe their work. How do you explain it in a way that makes it understandable, without dumbing it down? 

Longtime Lake Effect contributor Jean Creighton is pretty good at doing that when it comes to astronomy. Not only does she help visitors at the Manfred Olson Planetarium, she's also been helping the Lake Effect team understand how the universe works for almost a decade and.

peresanz / Fotolia

Despite the winter-like conditions to the west of us, we know that warmer weather is on its way. And with warmer weather comes a new spring sky to gaze at.

Astronomy contributor Jean Creighton notes that the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia are circumpolar, or visible in our latitude year round, but will change positions to be closer to the horizon.

Henze/NASA / ligo.caltech.edu

News of the discovery of gravitational waves dominated the news a couple of weeks ago, and UWM scientists were among those who played a large role in that discovery.

Our astronomy contributor and the director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium, Jean Creighton, was not only excited about the discovery for its scientific importance, but also personal significance.

NASA, ESA and G. Bacon / Flickr

It’s always exciting when new scientific discoveries are announced. It’s even exciting to talk about scientific discoveries that aren't yet confirmed. Such is the case for the potential ninth planet that astronomers have been theorizing about based on observations of the solar system.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr

There were a couple of really big astronomy stories that grabbed headlines this year involving the exploration of distant worlds. Scientists discovered remnants of standing water on Mars with evidence to support flowing water on the planet.

Additionally, the first photographs of Pluto were captured and the European Space Agency landed on the comet, 67P/CG.

Public Domain

Often in science, people don’t get credit for the work they do which – eventually – leads to a breakthrough.  Wisconsin native Henrietta Swan Leavitt actually made a significant breakthrough a century ago, and in so doing, fundamentally changed how we understand the size of the universe.

But it’s only comparatively recently that her contributions are being recognized outside the astronomy world.  Her work is the subject of our monthly conversation with astronomy contributor Jean Creighton.

NASA / Handout / Getty Images

Pluto was in the headlines a few years ago when it was demoted from official planetary status to what many now refer to as a dwarf planet.  Some still haven’t accepted that demotion.

But regardless of where you come down on the debate, the recent pictures sent back from Pluto were breathtaking.  It’s the furthest place humans have ever sent a mission with such a close pass-by. Our astronomy contributor Jean Creighton explains more about the planet and what’s next for our understanding of it:

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If you hear the phrase “solve for x,” and break into hives, don't fear. Jean Creighton joins Lake Effect every month to talk astronomy, but nearly everything she does is based on mathematics.

"Math can resemble in some ways another language, but we can master it to some extent. At least enough to communicate what we need," Creighton says.

She further explains how math and astronomy are interconnected:

Juraj Tóth, via Wikimedia Commons

From how we drive our cars to how we watch TV and read the newspaper, the digital revolution has affected much in our lives. The changes have been especially profound for scientific research.

Jean Creighton, director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee, talks with Lake Effect's Bonnie North the impact this has had on astronomy research.

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Every month, Lake Effect's Bonnie North chats with the director of UWM’s Manfred Olson Planetarium, Jean Creighton. From viewing constellations to what it takes to land on a comet to exoplanets, they've talked about a wide range of astronomical topics.

Rather than taking place in the studio, this month's AstroChat segment was recorded at the planetarium in front of an audience of WUWM listeners.

Creighton shared her experience of traveling to the Stratosphere, spending 20 hours there to observe young and middle aged stars with an infrared telescope.

NASA

Every month, we travel the stars with our astronomy contributor Jean Creighton. Creighton is the director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium on the campus of UW-Milwaukee.

We’ve talked about everything from visible constellations to exoplanets to landing a probe on a comet. Now that it's summer, we are talking about light - star light, infrared light.

H. Raab / Flickr

For the last few months, Lake Effect's astronomy contributor has talked about how the things in the night sky came to be. As the weather warms up, it's time to tell a simpler story.

It’s the time of year that it’s really pretty comfortable to just go out and look up into the night sky.

Lake Effect astronomy contributor, and director of the Mandred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee, Jean Creighton describes some of the constellations in the night sky as May changes over to June:

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