Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 7:30 PM


The Secret Life of the Sun

An Introduction to Solar Physics

This presentation will be live at Martz-Kohl Observatory and available online via Zoom. You are encouraged to come to the observatory to meet Mike Stafford, and the rest of the astronomy team at MKO, to join in what could be a lively Q&A after his talk. Tours will follow. Dress appropriately for the weather as if you were outside. While the classroom is heated, the domes are not. If the weather permits, there will be public viewing opportunities.

The Sun is a marvel of physics. At its core, under immense pressure and scorching temperatures, hydrogen atoms undergo nuclear fusion releasing a tremendous amount of energy. This energy slowly makes its way outward, battling its way through layers of hot plasma, before radiating out into space as light and heat. The Sun’s influence extends far beyond its visible surface. Solar winds, a stream of charged particles, whip out from the Sun impacting Earth. Recent auroras seen at the observatory are proof of these interactions. These powerful eruptions can also disrupt satellites and power grids here on Earth.

Semi-retired physics instructor, Mike Stafford, returns to the Martz-Kohl Observatory to help us understand solar physics in a non-mathematical way while sharing the wonder that is our closest star. Mike taught at Penn State University full time and Gannon University as an adjunct for 37 years. Mike is a pilot, a licensed parachute rigger, and expert skydiver with 3,700 jumps! Mike says, “as a physicist, interested in everything, I am able to speak on any subject, sometimes coherently.”


Zoom Meeting

A non-member donation of $5.00 is appreciated but not required for presentations and events.  You can donate on our donation page. Thanks!

Time: May 15, 2024 at 7:30 PM, Eastern Time

Topic: Mike Stafford
Meeting ID:  851 7179 4907
Passcode: program

Click the “One Clink Link” shown below. When prompted, click “open” in the dialog shown by your browser. If you don’t see a dialog, click the blue “Launch Meeting” in the webpage.

One Click Link: Mike Stafford Zoom Link

Zoom URL:

Manual dial-in: +1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID:    851 7179 4907
Passcode: 7140830

Find your local number:

Browse videos in our Lecture Series.