BayAstro - Week of 07/15/2024

15 Jul 2024 7:30 AM | Scott Miller (Administrator)
Tuesday, 07/16/24
07:00 PM - 08:00 AM
Attend in person or online (see weblink to register)

Hewlett Teaching Center
370 Jane Stanford Way, Room 200
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305

Traveling Light: The Universe’s Oldest Story Told by the Cosmic Microwave Background

The afterglow of the Big Bang, known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB), is the oldest light in the Universe, emitted when the Universe was only 0.003% of its current age. This ancient light has traveled across space for nearly 14 billion years, carrying with it vital information about the early Universe. By studying this ‘baby picture’ of the Universe, scientists can uncover clues about how the Universe began, how it has evolved over time, and what its future might hold. In this lecture, I will discuss the journey of this ‘traveling light,’ including how it interacts with other cosmic structures -- such as galaxies and dark matter -- through phenomena like gravitational lensing.

Speaker: Federico Bianchini, Stanford University/SLAC



Cost:  Free


Tuesday, 07/16/24
07:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Hopmonk Tavern
Session Room
224 Vintage Way
Novato, CA 94945

Wonderfest: Ask a Science Envoy: Scavengers + Dark Matter + Biomolecules

Wonderfest Science Envoys are early-career researchers with special communication skills and aspirations. Following short talks on provocative modern science topics, these three Science Envoys will answer questions with insight and enthusiasm:

• Stanford ecologist Chinmay Sonawane on How Scavenging Animals Protect Human Health - Wildlife is rapidly disappearing globally. But why should we care? The loss of scavengers (consumers of already-dead animals) provides an intriguing example of how biodiversity loss has had, and will continue to have, profound consequences for human health.
• UC Berkeley physicist Bethany Suter on Direct Detection of Dark Matter - Ubiquitous, yet deeply mysterious, dark matter constitutes 85%(!) of the material universe. What do we know - and not know - of elusive dark matter particles? Novel laboratory materials may allow us to detect dark matter directly, shining light into the pervasive cosmic shadows.
• Stanford biophysicist Sean Waterton on Making Biomolecules from Electricity - Solar panels produce ever-more clean electricity. At the same time, human activity produces copious amounts of CO2. Modern research in synthetic biology allows us to use electricty and CO2 to create valuable molecules like fats and proteins - and, hopefully, more specialized molecules like medications.


Cost:  Free


Thursday, 07/18/24
03:30 PM - 04:30 PM
Attend in person or via Zoom

Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) Colloquium Series
2575 Sand Hill Rd, Building 51
Kavli Auditorium
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Can small be the next big thing? Plasma Accelerator R&D at DESY 

In laser- or particle beam-powered plasma-based accelerators, electrons surf on waves and can reach multi-GeV energy levels in a few 10’s of cm. If one relies on conventional methods, this would require machines that are multiple football fields long. Although many challenges remain, this new technology is at the brink of offering a profoundly different way in which we may build particle accelerators. An overview of the latest progress and the next steps in the R&D needed to advance this technology will be presented. Experiments will be discussed that are conducted at the FLASHForward facility that uses an FEL quality electron beam for powering plasma accelerators. In those experiments, beam quality preserving, high-efficiency acceleration has been achieved with relevance to energy boosters for FELs, as well as future colliders. At the laser-driven LUX and KALDERA facilities, an advanced generation of laser-plasma accelerators (LPA) is being developed that can power compact X-ray sources and FELs, and can be used in medical applications. Last but not least, the know-how gained is being deployed towards our “Moonshot” LPA application: an innovative 6 GeV full-energy injector for the new PETRA IV synchrotron.

Speaker: Prof. Wim Leemans, Director of the Accelerator Division at DESY, Hamburg, Germany

Attend in person or via Zoom



Cost:  Free


Friday, July 19, 2024  5PM until whenever

San Mateo Co. Astronomical Society
Red Morton Park
1120 Roosevelt Ave
Redwood City, CA 94061

Waxing gibbous Moon, nearly Full


Family Campout Star Party

The Redwood City Parks is hosting their Family Campout again this year, on Friday, July 19. They have asked usto participate by hosting a Star party again. I believe the campers really love the opportunity to gaze at the stars.  Lots of little kids and families ooing and ahing at what you show them.

I’m looking for volunteers who would like to participate with their telescopes.

We can also host a table from 5 to 7:30 and we could use some volunteers to man the table and to talk about the club. 

Please send me or the board a note if you would like to volunteer for this event. 

Wishing you clear skies,

Michael Cooke
SMCAS President


Friday, 07/19/24  7PM


Telescope Makers Workshop
Chabot Space and Science Center
10000 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619-245

The Chabot Telescope Maker's workshop reopens! Chabot's TMW is one of only a handful of regularly scheduled telescope making workshops in the U.S., and probably the world; it meets every Friday evening throughout the year, except Memorial Day weekend. It has been in operation since December of 1930, founded by Franklin B. Wright, and is currently run by Eastbay Astronomical Society member Rich Ozer, with help from other EAS members, Dave Barosso, Barry Leska, and others. The price of admission is FREE. All you have to do is show up, buy a mirror blank and a "tool" (typically around $100 - $200 depending on the size of the mirror) and start "pushin' glass!" We supply you with instruction, the various grits you'll need to first grind, and then polish and figure your mirror, and all the testing equipment needed. With a small bit of luck, you could wind up with a telescope that costs 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of a store-bought telescope, that is yet optically superior! It does take time - depending on how much time you put in on it, and other factors, it could take a few months.. But, it's a fun project, great for kids, and at the end you get a great telescope!
Enter from the main loading dock behind the main building.

If you have a project, bring it with you so we can assess next steps.
You can also bring any other equipment or literature you may have
questions about.

For more information call or email Richard Ozer at richozer1@... or phone (510) 406-1914.


Friday, 07/19/2024 9PM-11PM for night observing and Saturday 07/20/2024 10AM-12 Noon for solar observing

Foothill Observatory
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Foothill Observatory now Open EVERY clear Friday night and Saturday morning

The Foothill College Astronomy Department and Peninsula Astronomical Society (PAS) have reopened public viewing programs at Foothill College Observatory on:

·       Every clear Friday night from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for star gazing

·       Every clear Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon for solar viewing

COVID vaccination and masks no longer required on the Foothill College campus.




Friday,  07/19/2024 and Saturday 07/20/2024
07:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Chabot Space and Science Center
10000 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619

Free Telescope Viewings

Join Chabot astronomers on the Observatory Deck for a free telescope viewing! Weather permitting, this is a chance to explore stars, planets and more through Chabot’s historic telescopes. Chabot’s three large historic telescopes offer a unique way to experience the awe and wonder of the Universe. Our observatory deck offers breathtaking views 1,500 feet above the Bay. Three observatory domes house the Center’s 8-inch (Leah, 1883) and 20-inch (Rachel, 1916) refracting telescopes, along with a 36-inch reflecting telescope (Nellie, 2003).

Are the skies clear for viewing tonight? Viewing can be impacted by rain, clouds, humidity and other weather conditions. Conditions can be unique to Chabot because of its unique location in Joaquin Miller Park. Before your visit, check out the Weather Station to see the current conditions at Chabot.


Saturday, 07/20/24  7:30 PM

In-person and Livestream via Facebook

East Bay Astronomical Society
Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd
Classroom 4 formerly knows as Copernicus
Oakland, CA 94619


The Conjunctive Theory of Mental Imagery

We live in two worlds: the outer world, where we exist, interact with others, and deal with
everyday life, and the inner world, where we dream, think, and imagine. Our mental imagery
connects these worlds, and how we connect them shapes our reality. The way we see the world
governs this connection. Viewing the world through artistic and scientific perspectives is vital
for experiencing our reality fully.
The Conjunctive Theory of Mental Imagery examines how the interplay between our internal
and external worlds influences and shapes our perception of the world. Since mental images
serve as the foundation for artistic and scientific progress in society, it is important to approach
artworks and scientific theories with both artistic and scientific perspectives in order to fully
comprehend and appreciate them. This lecture supports these assertions.

Speaker: Mohsen Janatpour, College of San Mateo


Cost:  Free


Saturday, 07/20/24 and Sunday, 07/21/24
All Day  Sat.  9A-5:30P , Sun. 9A-3:00P

Northern California Skeptics

SkeptiCal: the Scientific Skepticism Conference - Online

The SkeptiCal Conference brings stimulating and entertaining speakers to a world-wide audience of science fans, critical thinkers, and, in the words of Carl Sagan, questioners of “extraordinary claims”. Join us for two engaging days of speakers, interviews, and discussions. And test your wits on a round of SkeptiCal trivia, and try your hand at SkeptiCal’s popular Skepardy!game.

SkeptiCal is sponsored by the Northern California Skeptics groups. The conference begins on July 19 and ends on July 21.


Cost:  $20 to $30