BayAstro – Events of Week of 09/14/2020 and Beyond

The BayAstro group publishes announcements of interesting events related to astronomy and aerospace in the San Francisco Bay Area. This can include events such as astronomy and interesting physical science lectures, club meetings, star parties, air shows and other events of interest mostly to amateur astronomers and science enthusiasts. Many thanks to Ken Lum, who created this event listing.
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Due to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus, some events have been or may be cancelled. Many venues will be closed perhaps until the end fo the year. Other events may offer online links and connections. To check on the status of a given event, check their website for updates.
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Wednesday, 09/16/20 11:00 AM

SETI Institute

Searching and Characterizing Exoplanets with CHEOPS, AREAL, and PLATO – Livestream

NASA’s Kepler mission and its successor TESS are not the only space telescopes dedicated to finding exoplanets. The European Space Agency (ESA) has embarked on the challenge of finding and characterizing those planets in orbit around stars other than our Sun. We’ll discuss several of these missions in this special SETI Talks with leading European-based astronomers.

The CHEOPS mission (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) is the first of the newly created “S-class missions” (small class missions with an ESA budget of less than 50 million), and its goal is to characterize exoplanet transits. The mission recently reached a new milestone and has been declared ready for science. The space telescope targets stars known to have a transiting exoplanet and focuses on better characterizing Earth-like and super-Earth exoplanets. Willy Benz, Professor at the Physics Institute at the University of Bern and Principal Investigator of CHEOPS, will tell us about the mission and its goals.

PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) is the third medium-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision program. Its objective is to find and study a large number of extrasolar planetary systems, with an emphasis on the properties of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars. PLATO will carry out high precision, long (months to years), uninterrupted photometric monitoring of terrestrial exoplanets to characterize their bulk properties, including planets in Sun-like habitable zone stars. Heike Rauer, principal investigator of PLATO, will tell us how the mission could discover terrestrial exoplanets, some in the habitable zone of solar-type stars, and characterize them. Such analysis will pave the way for future missions that could one day image another Pale Blue Dot.

ARIEL (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey) aims to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve. ESA has selected it as its next medium-class science mission, due for launch in 2028. During its 4-year mission, ARIEL will observe more than 500 exoplanets ranging from Jupiter- and Neptune-size down to super-Earths in various environments. We invited Giovanna Tinetti, Head of the Astrophysics Group, UCL Department of Physics & Astronomy and Principal Investigator of ARIEL, to discuss this mission’s future goals and the technological challenges of building a mission capable of analyzing the light of exoplanets with transits.

These researchers will tell us about their missions and what to expect in the coming years from the highly accurate, and multi-color, transiting light curves provided by those space telescopes. They’ll also discuss ESA’s future contributions in discovering and characterizing exoplanets to better understand the formation of planetary systems and enable planetary science far beyond the Solar System’s boundaries.

Register at weblink to obtain connection information

Website: https://www.seti.org/event/searching-and-characterizing-exoplanets-cheops-ariel-and-plato

Cost: Free

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Wednesday, 09/16/20 7:30 PM

San Francisco Amateur Astronomers
Zoom connection: https://zoom.us/j/93820324028?pwd=ekRDUyt1UEtIZWgrTGIwT0hIOTJLUT09

The Formation and Evolution of Binary Stars – Livestream

With nearly 50% of the stars we see in the sky being part of binary systems, binarity and multiplicity of stars is a common phenomenon in the Milky Way Galaxy. With this percentage measured even higher in star-forming regions, the formation of binaries appears to be part of the star-formation process. This talk will discuss the formation of stars and how this process helps us to better understand the prevalence of binary star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy and how modern-day observations of stars and galaxies rely on our understanding of stellar binarity.

Speaker: Aaron T. Lee, St. Mary’s College

See weblink for YouTube, Facebook and Zoom options.

Website: https://www.sfaa-astronomy.org/live-streamed-lectures/

Cost: Free

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Friday, 09/18/20
06:00 PM – 07:30 PM

Speakeasy
Buy ticket at weblink below

Where Jeff Bezos’ Great Grand-Daughter Will Go for Her Honeymoon: The Top Tourist Sights of the Solar System – Livestream

“Where Jeff Bezos’ Great Grand-Daughter Will Go for Her Honeymoon: The Top Tourist Sights of the Solar System”

A Talk and Discussion with Astronomer/Educator Andrew Fraknoi

We will explore the most intriguing future “tourist destinations” among the planets and moons in our cosmic neighborhood. Our stops will include the 4,000-mile lava channel on Venus, the towering Mount Olympus volcano on Mars (three times the height of Mount Everest), the awesome Verona Cliffs on the moon Miranda (which are the tallest “lover’s leap” in the solar system), and the recently discovered salt-water steam geysers on Saturn’s intriguing moon Enceladus (nicknamed “Cold Faithful.”). We’ll finish with the latest images of the eerie vistas on Pluto.

Andrew Fraknoi retired in 2017 as the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College, and now teaches non-credit astronomy courses for older adults at The Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco and the OLLI program at SF State. Fraknoi has appeared regularly on local and national radio, explaining astronomical developments in everyday language, and was the California Professor of the Year in 2007. He is the lead author of a college astronomy textbook (Astronomy from OpenStax) and a children’s book, When the Sun Goes Dark. He also writes science fiction and has had three stories published in the last few years. The International Astronomical Union has named Asteroid 4859 Asteroid Fraknoi to honor his contributions to the public understanding of science. See: http://fraknoi.com for more information.

Website: https://www.speakeasy.com/event/tourist-sights-solar-system

Cost: $15

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Friday, 09/18/20 7:00 PM

Tri-Valley Stargazers
Email president@trivalleystargazers.org to register.

Science with a tiny Space Telescope – Livestream

In this presentation I will present some exciting results from a recent imaging campaign that we conducted with our commercial spacecraft R&D partner. Our nano-satellite spacecraft carried a 25mm diameter, LLNL designed, monolithic Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, and we used it to capture a large volume of imaging data over the 4 month collection period (Feb-May 2020). I will describe the optical system and its performance, and go over some of the initial results, ranging from terrestrial imaging, measurements of the atmospheric conditions at very high altitudes, to on-orbit debris detections and beyond.

Speaker: Willem de Vries, Lawrence Livermore National Labs
See weblink to obtain Zoom information.

Website: https://www.trivalleystargazers.org

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 09/19/20 7:45 PM

San Mateo County Astronomical Society

Fantasy Flights to the Moon – Livestream

Over the centuries, storytellers have written tales of flights to the Moon. In this graphic presentation, Mr. Garfinkle will discuss these fantasy flights. The presentation will include illustrations from the old books the stories were, in most cases, first published in. The images show the various methods the space travelers employed to make their journeys to our nearest celestial neighbor. These include crafts that were powered by such things as animals, bottles of dew, giant magnets, ships, whirlwinds, clouds, volcanic eruptions, hot air balloons, cannons, and undisclosed powers. This talk is in part based on the same section in his new major lunar observers’ handbook, Luna Cognita.

Speaker: Bob Garfinkle, FRAS

Website: http://www.smcasastro.com/meetings.html

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 09/19/20
09:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Virtual Telescope Viewing – Livestream
See weblink for connection information.

Join our resident astronomers on Facebook Live every Saturday evening live from Chabot’s Observation deck!

Each week, our astronomers will guide us through spectacular night sky viewing through Nellie, Chabot‘s most powerful telescope. Weather permitting we will be able to view objects live through the telescopes and our astronomers will be available for an open forum for all of your most pressing astronomy questions.

Other Dates For This Event:
• Saturday, 09/19/20
• Saturday, 09/26/20

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/free-telescope-viewings/all/

Cost: Free

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Sunday, 09/20/20
01:30 PM – 02:45 PM

San Jose Astronomical Society

Solar Sunday Basics: Spots, Prominences, Filaments and More – Livestream

Join us for this on-line event where we’ll look in real time for prominences (often thought of as solar flares) and intricate texture within the Sun’s chromosphere (its atmosphere). We’ll also provide an overview of how we observe the Sun in different types of light (such as red, H-alpha light), share details about the structure of the Sun, and show spectacular images taken during prior years. Ordinarily, we’d also share live views of sunspots, but our Sun is currently in its solar-minimum phase, and as a result, sunspots and other dramatic features are rare. Nevertheless, we’ll still cover a lot of cool and interesting facts about our hot Sun!

For those of you who have watched one of the recent Streaming Solar Sunday events, this part will be similar to what you’ve already seen. To instead focus only on what’s new for this month, check out the separate, immediately following event, Solar Sunday: Topics and Views of the Month (https://www.meetup.com/SJ-Astronomy/events/272924164/), which starts at 2:45 PDT. (The Topics of and Views of the Month session will continue seamlessly from the same YouTube stream as this event.)

Website: https://www.meetup.com/SJ-Astronomy/events/272924146/

Cost: Free

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Sunday, 09/20/20
02:45 PM – 03:15 PM

San Jose Astronomical Society

Solar Sunday: Solar Sunday: Topics and Views of the Month – Livestream

Join this half-hour to see the latest, real-time H-alpha views of our Sun and to join a discussion about news items or more in-depth science discussions related to solar astronomy. These discussion topics will vary month to month.

Website: https://www.meetup.com/SJ-Astronomy/events/272924164/

Cost: Free

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Monday, 09/21/20 4:00 PM

What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University
See weblink for Zoom information.

Optics in the Aerospace and Defense Industry – Livestream

Speaker: Katherine Badham, L3Haris

Website: http://phys-astro.sonoma.edu/wpd/wpdcurrent.shtml

Cost: Free

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Tuesday, 09/22/20
06:00 PM – 07:00 PM

KIPAC Public Lectures

Satellite Streaks in Surveys of the Sky
Speaker: Dr. Andrew Bardshaw, SLAC

See weblink for connection information

Website: https://kipac.stanford.edu/events/satellite-streaks-surveys-sky

Cost: Free

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Wednesday, 09/23/20
04:00 PM – 05:30 PM

Berkeley Central Library

Wonderfest: Are We Alone? – Livestream

Does other intelligent life exist in the universe? Can SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers detect radio, infrared, or optical signals from other civilizations? Current and future SETI projects, including the new $100-million Breakthrough Prize Foundation “Listen” project, may provide an answer. UC Berkeley astronomer Dan Werthimer will describe the rationale for past and future searches and will show how new technologies are revolutionizing SETI.

Listeners will tune into the lecture via youtube, and then join a live questions and answers session via Zoom, links will be posted closer to the day of the presentation at the weblink.

Website: https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/events/wonderfest-are-we-alone

Cost: Free

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Friday, 09/25/20
08:00 PM – 09:00 PM

Chabot Space and Science Center

Planetary Defense: Avoiding a Cosmic Catastrophe – Livestream

Our planet has been continually bombarded by asteroids since its formation, 4.5 billion years ago. While the frequency of large impacts has decreased, many potential Near-Earth Object (NEO) threats remain undiscovered, so if or when they will impact Earth remains unknown.

Most of the time, an impacting asteroid will simply burn up in the atmosphere, giving those on the ground a pleasant meteor shower display. However, depending on the size, composition, and impact location of the asteroid, the results could be catastrophic.

Fortunately, if an Earth-threatening asteroid is discovered in time, there are ways to mitigate or even prevent a disaster. Astronomers now discover over 2000 new near-Earth asteroids a year. So far, none pose a significant risk.

However, if an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth, it can be diverted by a few different methods. For long warning times (and asteroids that are not too big), a heavy “kinetic impactor” spacecraft can be used to impact the asteroid at high speeds, giving it a slight nudge so that it safely misses Earth. When warning times are short, or the asteroid is large, kinetic impactors cannot provide enough momentum for the asteroid to miss Earth. In these cases, a nuclear device can be sent to melt and vaporize enough surface material to deflect the asteroid, while keeping the bulk of it intact. Very short warning time scenarios, where deflection is impossible, can be handled by using a similar device to fragment the asteroid into many small, well-dispersed pieces.

If none of the prevention options are possible, then evacuation and other emergency response measures will be put to use. In these cases, it is essential to know what areas would be affected by the impact in order to minimize casualties and damage. Scientists at LLNL provide simulation support in preparation for all the above scenarios so if the time comes where an asteroid is headed our way, we will be prepared.

Speaker: Megan Bruck Syal, Lawrence Livermore National Labs

See weblink for Facebook Live link

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/planetary-defense-avoiding-a-cosmic-catastrophe

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 09/26/20
09:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Chabot Space and Science Center

International Observe the Moon Night Virtual Telescope Viewing – Livestream

Join us for a special Virtual Telescope Viewing with our resident astronomers. We will go on a guided tour of the Moon for International Observe the Moon Night!

International Observe the Moon Night is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration.

The annual event connects scientists, educators and lunar enthusiasts from around the world.

See weblink for connection information.

Other Dates For This Event:
• Saturday, 09/26/20

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/international-observe-the-moon-night-virtual-telescope-viewing

Cost: Free

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Monday, 09/28/20 7:30 PM

Astronomy on Tap: Los Angeles – Livestream
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyRsxwwSf6k&feature=youtu.be

Join us for a virtual Astronomy on Tap, streamed over YouTube Live. We’ll hear from Dr. Konstantin Batygin: “The Planet Nine Hypothesis: An Update” and from Dr. Jackie Faherty: “Mapping our Solar Neighborhood”. In addition, we will host interactive astronomically-themed pub trivia.

The event is free and open to all ages. Join us on YouTube at this link. To view our past events, see our location page. For more information about our future events and affiliated lecture+stargazing series at Caltech, see our website.

Website: http://astronomyontap.org/2020/09/astronomy-on-tap-los-angeles-september-28-2020/

Cost: Free

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