SEMO is celebrating Space Week November 8-12 with a week of astronomy events to honor the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

SEMO has joined almost 500 sites across the country to celebrate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next great space science observatory. 

The observatory will provide a new view of the cosmos and push the field of astronomy into a new era. The telescope will observe the universe in the infrared, peering inside dust clouds to study light from distant parts of the universe for the very first time – the first galaxies that formed about 13.5 billion years ago – and give us insight into how our universe formed. It will also explore distant worlds in other solar systems, as well as objects in our own solar system. Webb will extend the scientific discoveries of other NASA missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

James Webb Space Telescope

Webb is the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built – the premier observatory of the next decade. This international mission, led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies, will launch in December 2021.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Lecture: Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search with Professor Tina Adair

  • Location: Johnson 200
  • Time: 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Lecture: Preparations for the Eclipse with Professor Emeritus Peggy Hill

  • Location: Johnson 200
  • Time: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Lecture: Health Effects of Artificial Light/Dark Sky with Professor John Kraemer

  • Location: RCC M101
  • Time: 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Night Sky Observation

  • River Campus
  • 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. (Kessler/Murphy)

Friday November 11, 2022

Lecture: JWST, 1 year later with Professor Joseph Murphy

  • Location: Johnson 200
  • Time: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.  

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Workshop Talk: A Trip to the Moon with Gene Woodford

  • Location: Magill Hall
  • 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. 

Interactive Fair

  • Location: Magill Atrium
  • Time: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. 

Keynote Lecture Event with Dennis Vollink

  • Location: Johnson 200
  • Time: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Night Sky Observation

  • Location: Seabaugh Parking Lot
  • Time: 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.


Christina Adair

Christina Adair graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in Engineering Physics. Then, after swearing to never to go college again, finished an M.B.A. and a Masters of Astronomy. She teaches Astronomy part-time at SEMO and works full-time at the Stanford Linear Accelerator National Laboratory as a Documentation Specialist for the Rubin Observatory and a Safety Coordinator for the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search. Christina loves watercolor painting, knitting, camping (actually, glamping), Animal Crossing, and sci-fi.

Dr. Margaret Hill

Dr. Margaret "Peggy" Hill joined the faculty of Southeast Missouri State University in 2000, where she taught courses in physics, astronomy, and science education. In 2017, she and Dr. Mike Rogers became lead volunteers for Citizen CATE Team-040, one of the 68 national sites dedicated to taking photographs during totality to study the time evolution of the sun’s corona. Peggy’s introduction to astronomy began with a small refracting telescope through which she was able to observe the Moon, Saturn’s rings, and motion of Jupiter’s tiny moons. While living in St. Louis she was a member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society and built her own Newtonian reflecting telescope, which she still uses, through a course offered there. Currently she is working with other like-minded folk to start an Astronomy Club here in Southeast Missouri.

Joseph Murphy

Dr. Murphy graduated from the State University of New York, College at Brockport with a degree in Physics and then obtained his doctorate from the State University of New York, University at Buffalo. Following that, he spent 3 years at the University of Wyoming as a postdoctoral researcher. He joined the faculty at Southeast Missouri State University in 2020 and has been instrumental in organizing periodic night-sky viewing events to share the telescope resources of the University community and the community at large. This year he is co-chairing the Space Week committee with professors Kessler and Mills.

Gene Woodford

I graduated from The Dalles High School, The Dalles, Oregon in May of 1958.

In June of 1964, I graduated from Oregon State University with a double degree, one in General Science and one in Mathematics. I met my wife Merrily at Oregon State and we were married in Portland, Oregon in November of 1964. She graduated from Oregon State University in 1964 with a degree in Secondary Education.

For my first job, I worked for the Northern Pacific Railway as a Cartographic Draftsman in Seattle, Washington from August 64 to June of 1965. We were living in Renton, Washington where Merrily was hired as a Kindergarten teacher by the Renton School District.

In June of 1965, I was hired by Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC), United State Air Force, in St. Louis, MO as a Cartographer. ACIC's mission was to supply all the maps and charts for the Air Force including all the terrain data for the Cruse Missile Program.

In August of 1966 I was selected to work on ACIC's Apollo program and transferred to Production and Distribution Plant, Cartography Division, Lunar and Planetary Branch, Photometry Section as Physical Scientist. The overall mission of the Branch was to develop all the lunar maps and charts for NASA's Apollo program. The role of the Photometry Section was to perform RandD to determine surface roughness as a function of surface brightness to slope to develop precision maps from scanned data from earth based and lunar satellite photography using the very first scanners ever built.

In May of 1970, I was transferred to the Research Division, Geophysical and Space Sciences Branch, Mathematical Support Section as a Mathematician. Our mission was to provide mathematical analysis and computer science support to the branch scientists (Geodesist and Geophysicists). Our scientist were responsible for the development of the Earth Gravity Model (EGM), the World Geodetic System (WGS) and the development of accurate ground positions (latitude, longitude, elevation) from satellite triangulation data.

In September of 1974, I was promoted and transferred to the Aerospace Cartography Department, Photogrammetric Division, Applications Branch of the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), Aerospace Center as a Senior Programmer/Analyst. I was the project manager in charge of RandD to design and develop software for the first interactive graphic systems to edit mapping data associated with the Cruse Missile Program.

In May of 1984, I was promoted and transferred to DMA, System Center, Data Extraction Division, Modernization Group as a Physical Scientist. I was the Project Officer overseeing contractor software design and development and documentation to assure they complied to government software standards and adherence to software development schedules to build and implement a new modern DMA Mapping Production System.

In December of 1991, I was reassigned to the DMA, System Center, Technical Support Group, Scientific Data Support Branch as a Cartographer. I was Project Manager responsible for the organization and training of agency software engineers to perform software maintenance on the newly implemented DMA Mapping Production System.

In March of 1994, I was reassigned as a Supervisory Cartographer to the DMA, System Center, Technical Support Group, Engineering Division. I was the supervisor the newly formed Software Maintenance Section.

In October of 1996, DMA was changed to the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), then changed to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) November of 2003.

In October of 1997, I retired from Government Service. It was truly a remarkable career to be involved with Science and mathematics, a small part of perhaps the greatest historical adventure ever and to be on the leading edge of Computer Science and Computer Graphics.

Over my 32 years of federal service, I earned 17 federal awards including DMA Outstanding Employee of the year for my work in Computer Science and Computer Graphics.

Dennis Vollink

Dennis Vollink grew up in Michigan. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1974 and flew active duty for the Air Force for eight years. He spent 20 years in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as Lt. Colonel. He is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in 20 states and has designed mechanical systems and help build hotels for 40 years with Drury Southwest in Cape Girardeau, MO. Dennis is a commercial pilot with more than 10,000 hours and still flies the company M2 Citation jet. His interest in astronomy started at when he was very young. He remembers he would stand in the snow in Michigan with his small telescope looking at Saturn and other stars. He expanded his passion for astrophysics by building an observatory at his home in Cape Girardeau over 12 years. He has become an avid photographer, attending conferences in Astro Imaging and partially self-teaching himself on the art of Astro Imaging. He says the field is amazing and there are some exciting people involved. He looks forward to sharing his passion with us during Space Week.

Seabaugh Polytechnic Building 301
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 6800
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701