Tour Pluto with NASA director in Poughkeepsie

Composite of enhanced color images of Pluto and Charon taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it passed through the Pluto system.

Composite of enhanced color images of Pluto and Charon taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it passed through the Pluto system.

Here’s a good excuse to leave your cabin fever behind for a midweek evening: Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie is once again hosting the Vassar Brothers Institute’s annual Science in Your Life lecture series. Each of the free Wednesday talks is presented by an eminent scholar who will share insights on recent scientific progress and how it relates to other fields of human endeavor. The arts aren’t neglected, either: Each program kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with a live performance of music or dance, followed by the lecture at 8:15.

Science in Your Life begins on Wednesday, January 27 with a musical prelude by Arlington High School’s Jazz Machine. Then James L. Green, PhD, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, will present “New Horizons Flyby of the Pluto System.” Demoted by astronomers from “ninth planet” status after they gained better understanding of the objects beyond the orbit of Neptune now known as the Kuiper Belt, Pluto is still an intriguing hunk of rock in the sky. The New Horizons spacecraft flyby of the Pluto system on July 14, 2022 revealed a fascinating new world and its five moons, whose complexity surprised many planetary scientists. This lecture will reveal the latest information about what Pluto and its moons are really like.

The series continues on February 3 with a lecture on how “Music Education Aids in Brain Development,” presented by Mia Chung, PhD, a professor at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. A performance by the Vivace Orchestra will precede it. Then, on February 10, the audience can enjoy a whirlwind visit to two continents when Sahana and Sanjay Natesan demonstrate South Indian classical music and dance at 7:30 p.m., followed by Yale University professor Richard L. Burger, PhD speaking on the subject of “Archæology, Diplomacy and Tourism at Machu Picchu” at 8:15.

Admission to all these lectures and performances is free. Our Lady of Lourdes High School is located at 131 Boardman Road in Poughkeepsie. For more info on this series, as well as the Vassar Brothers Institute’s Travel and Adventure programs at Poughkeepsie High School, visit

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