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.

NASA/ESA/Hubble / www.nasa.gov

Every month Jean Creighton comes down to the studio from her usual haunt in the Manfred Olson Planetarium to tell us stories about the cosmos. Today we talk about color, or lack of it, in the universe:

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

It’s been a big couple of years for gravity and the people who study it. Astronomy contributor Jean Creighton joins Lake Effect each month to talk about space - near, far, and in between each month.

This month, the director of UWM's Manfred Olson Planetarium discusses the collision of two neutron stars and the global effort behind capturing the event. “There were seventy telescopes that were able to observe in all continents, including Antarctica, across all light ways from gamma rays all the way to radio. Everybody saw it."

Mark Peate / Flickr

The days have been getting shorter since mid-June - the Summer Solstice, but now things start to get serious. As we near the Autumn Equinox, the point at which night is a larger part of our lives than day, our days will continue to get shorter. 

"The sun is going to rise due east and it’s going to set due west. That doesn’t happen on any other day, except the two equinoxes," says Lake Effect astronomy contributor, Jean Creighton. 

Manoj.dayyala
Wikimedia

On Monday, part of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse, where the moon completely covers the sun. Milwaukee won’t get totality, but we will still experience a partial eclipse. 

"In Milwaukee we're going to see a partial solar eclipse, 86%... most people, if they've seen a solar eclipse at all, it's likely to be partial," says Jean Creighton, Lake Effect astronomy contributor and director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium. 

dottedyeti / Fotolia

The question cinema has tried to answer time and time again, with the most recent attempt by the movie Arrival, may finally have an answer as astronomer Jean Creighton provides promising new hope for whether life can exist beyond earth. “There could be life right now in the solar system unbeknownst to us,” says Creighton.

sakkmesterke / Fotolia

Every month, contributor Jean Creighton joins Lake Effect to talk about things astronomical. This month, the topic was prompted by two people asking her the same question within twelve hours.

"People are intrigued by black holes," Creighton says. "They want to know what they are, how they work - but on the other hand they (don't want the myth broken)."

Creighton explains the science of black holes and breaks some common myths, as well as the black hole bubble we may be living in:

NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s been almost 30 years since scientists first discovered their first exoplanet - a planet orbiting a star other than our own sun. But the scientific community is especially excited now with the discovery late last month of the most earth-like exoplanets yet.

allexxandarx / Fotolia

If you had an astronomer next to you, what would you ask them? When astronomy contributor Jean Creighton isn't in the Lake Effect studio, she is very much still in the public eye, leading the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee. And part of her job is to do research among the public to find out what people are naturally curious about.

Upon occasion Creighton will approach people not as the leader of a planetarium, but as another civilian interested in space, and ask them what they are interested in. Surprisingly, most people want to know about distance.

Hubble Site

Many are familiar with the concept of citizen science: opportunities for amateurs to play a role in helping researchers gather or process scientific data. That could involve a backyard bird count, or the use of a home computer to sift through terrabytes of data.

R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL / NASA

As 2016 draws to a close, Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee director and Lake Effect contributor Jean Creighton highlights the important astronomy stories of the past year:

Highlights of 2016:

1. Discovery of Gravitational Waves

NASA / mars.nasa.gov

On this day in 1964, the Spacecraft Mariner 4 was launched into its 228 day mission that would bring the spacecraft within about 6,000 miles of Mars. That mission resulted in the first close-up photos of the Red Planet.

In celebration of that historic mission, November 28th is known as Red Planet Day.

"At first, all we wanted to do was learn more about the environment, but now, of course we want to get [to Mars]. We want to send a person there," says astronomy contributor and director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee, Jean Creighton.

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.

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