BayAstro – Events of Week of 01/11/2021 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 of 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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Monday, 01/11/21
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

How do astronomers model gravity? – Livestream

Newton’s simple formulation of gravity perfectly describes our solar system. However, at galaxy-size scales, understanding the subtler effects of gravity is best accomplished through computer simulations. I’ll describe the state-of-the-art simulations that model gravity and the historical work in the field, along with some novelties astronomers uncovered along the way.
Speaker: Michael Peterson

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-astronomy-talk-how-do-astronomers-model-gravity-tickets-126204028647

Cost: Free

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Tuesday, 01/12/21 and for eight weeks
02:00 PM – 03:40 PM

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Dominican Univ.

Aliens in Outer Space: The Science & the Fiction – A Short Course

A Non-credit Short Course with Andrew Fraknoi

Spend eight weeks getting off this planet to think about the possibility of intelligent life among the stars.

When a Silicon Valley billionaire recently gave $100 million to UC Berkeley to step up the search for evidence of extra-terrestrials, the experimental search for messages or signals from civilizations out there moved into high gear. The course will discuss past and current experiments, how we might communicate with aliens, and what we propose to do if we find them. It will also look at some of the most imaginative science fiction ideas about what aliens will be like and what the results of getting in touch with aliens might be. No background in science will be expected or assumed; the course will be in everyday language.

Astronomer and educator Andrew Fraknoi leads this non-technical short course for adults over 50 on the scientific search for aliens out there. He’ll take a careful look at the factors that make astronomers more optimistic than ever that there we may have counterparts on other worlds (including the discovery of more than 4,000 planets so far orbiting other stars.)

Andrew Fraknoi retired recently as the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College. He was the California Professor of the Year in 2007 (selected by the Carnegie Endowment for Higher Education.) Fraknoi is the lead author of Astronomy, a popular introductory textbook, published in a free electronic edition by the non-profit OpenStax project. He keeps a website cataloging science fiction stories based on good astronomy, and three of his science fiction stories have been published in recent years. Asteroid 4859 has been named Asteroid Fraknoi by the International Astronomical Union in recognition of his contributions to the public understanding of science. Relevant to the course, he has been on the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute since it was founded.

The OLLI program has offered Bay Area adults fun learning opportunities for over 15 years. Now, their classes are on Zoom, so you don’t need to travel to Marin to enjoy them.

People who have never taken a course from OLLI Dominican can take this course for a total of $80 (25 reg fee plus 55 for the course). Due to recent changes in the registration proceedures it is recommended that you follow these directions to register and received the first time course discount offered by OLLI Dominican if it is your first time…

Don’t register on line. Call 415-458-3763 and leave your name and phone number. Calum Mackechnie, the Program’s Associate Director, will call back within two business days and register you over the phone. NOTE: If you have taken courses here before you can easily register on line at the website.

Website: https://www.dominican.edu/academics/adult-and-continuing-education/osher-lifelong-learning-institute-olli

Cost: $80

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Friday, 01/15/21 7:30 PM

Tri-Valley Stargazers

Galactic Archaeology – Livestream

The goal of Galactic Archeology is to reveal how galaxies are built by looking at the current visible evidence and inferring the past. This requires knowledge of some of the most difficult aspects of Astronomy: determining ages, distances for individual stars. Using the APOGEE survey and augmenting with the GAIA survey we are able to determine chemical composition, space velocities, distances and ages for hundreds of thousands of giant stars across all components of the Milky Way. I will focus on the APOGEE results for the halo and the disk and show how these spectra may reveal the origin stories for the Milky Way stellar components.

Speaker: Dr. Matthew Shtrone

See weblink for information to receive connection information.

Website: https://www.trivalleystargazers.org

if you would like to join the meeting, please send an email to the club president at: president@…

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 01/16/21
09:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Virtual Telescope Viewing – Livestream

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, 01/16/21
• Saturday, 01/23/21
• Saturday, 01/30/21
• Saturday, 02/06/21

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/free-telescope-viewings/2021-01-02/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCarFXs-04xmdHW_PVc7LWRg

Cost: Free

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Tuesday, 01/19/21
07:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Chabot Space and Science Center

An Evening Cruise into the Virgo Cluster – Livestream

In 2020, we took a cruise to the center of the Milky Way. In 2021, we leave the comfort of our home galaxy and head to the Times Square of the Universe – the Virgo Cluster. Along the way, we will visit a whole zoo of different galaxies, the biggest star factory in the cosmos and nature’s answer to the Death Star.

Speaker: Dr. Simon Steel, SETI

See weblink for Facebook Live and YouTube links.

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/an-evening-cruise-into-the-virgo-cluster

Cost: Free

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Wednesday, 01/20/21
03:00 PM – 04:00 PM

Commonwealth Club – Online Event

A Healthy Society Series: Communicating Science (in a Science-Skeptical World) – Livestream

As a driver of global health, prosperity and planetary sustainability, science pervades all realms of human activity. The COVID pandemic of the past year and the prospect of its eventual resolution have put science (and scientists) at the forefront of an international cultural conversation. Yet communicating facts and credible research is a tricky task in a world awash in social media, anti-scientific agendas, political forces and biases of every kind.

Speakers: Jeremy Abbate, “Scientific American”; Melinda Wenner Moyer, New York University and “Scientific American”

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Website: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2021-01-20/healthy-society-series-communicating-science-science-skeptical-world

Cost: Free

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Wednesday, 01/20/21 4:00 PM

Exploratorium

Full-Spectrum Science: LASERS! – Livestream

Join Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman for colorful explorations of the physical world – in this case, lasers! Find out what’s special about laser light, how it’s made, and how it’s used in everything from Blu-ray to eye surgery to fusion energy research.

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook Live links.

Website: https://www.exploratorium.edu/visit/calendar/full-spectrum-science-lasers

Cost: Free

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Wednesday, 01/20/21
07:00 PM – 08:00 PM

SETI Institute

SETI Talks: Birth of the New Giant Telescopes – Livestream

The Arecibo Telescope may have tragically collapsed last year, but it doesn’t mean the end of the era of giants in astronomy. Giant ground-based telescopes currently being built will get their first light this decade. The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) are revolutionary telescopes that will transform humanity’s view and understanding of the universe. They will provide new observational opportunities in nearly every field of astronomy and astrophysics. These new instruments will observe in wavelengths ranging from the near-ultraviolet to the mid-infrared, allowing astronomers to address fundamental questions ranging from understanding star and planet formation to unraveling the history of galaxies and the development of large-scale structures in the universe.

We invited two astronomers whose careers are strongly related to two of these telescopes to discuss their potential and the status of these projects. Rebecca Bernstein is the Chief Scientist for GMT, a next-generation extremely large telescope with seven segmented mirrors that will be 25.4 meters in diameter, making its resolving power more than ten times that of the Hubble Space Telescope. Christophe Dumas is the Observatory Scientist and Head of Operations at the TMT. With its 30 m prime mirror diameter, TMT will be three times as wide, with nine times more area, than the largest currently existing visible-light telescope in the world. Both giant telescope that will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity.

These scientists will discuss the need for large telescopes in today’s modern astronomy, the challenge of building these telescopes and their enclosures, which are rotating buildings, twenty-two-stories tall, and the and instruments for them, which are the size of a European flat. This conversation will include a description of the international consortium’s role in providing political and financial support for the projects. They will also tell us what to expect from these giants and when they will be ready to open their eyes and observe the cosmos.

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/seti-talks-birth-of-the-new-giant-telescopes-tickets-135743226645

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Wednesday, 01/20/21 7:30 PM

San Francisco Amateur Astronomers

Mapping the Missing Matter in Our Universe – Livestream

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are mysterious events that were discovered only in the last decade by astronomers. They last a few milliseconds at most but are extremely bright sources of radio waves. They are so bright that we can spot them from distant galaxies. Although we are not fully certain how they are produced, we already have some ideas about how we can use them to study the universe.

According to simulations, matter in the universe is distributed along filamentous structures which make up the “cosmic web”. Unfortunately, most of this matter is fully ionized and therefore invisible to optical telescopes. This is where FRBs come in. Just like a prism dispersing the individual colors of sunlight, the ionized matter disperses FRBs and the amount of dispersion depends on how much matter is between the source and the Earth.

In our most recent work, we have tried to leverage the observed dispersion of FRB 19068, an event detected by the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder, to study the matter between us the source. Augmenting it with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and our own optical observations, we showed that it is possible to map out the ionized matter to a considerable extent. Our study represents a proof of concept and we expect astronomers to routinely use similar but more refined techniques to make inferences of the cosmic web.

Speaker: Sunil Simha, UC Santa Cruz

See weblink for instructions on how to attend.

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

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 01/23/21
09:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Chabot Space and Science Center

Virtual Telescope Viewing – Livestream

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, 01/23/21
• Saturday, 01/30/21
• Saturday, 02/06/21
• Saturday, 02/13/21

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/free-telescope-viewings/2021-01-02/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCarFXs-04xmdHW_PVc7LWRg

Cost: Free

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Monday, 01/25/21 4:15 PM

UC Berkeley

From the Black Hole Conundrum to the Structure of Quantum Gravity – Livestream

Having a complete quantum theory of gravity has long been a major goal of theoretical physics. This is because a naive merger of quantum mechanics and general relativity—though it works in certain limited regimes—suffers from major theoretical problems. A particularly acute one arises when one considers the quantum mechanics of black holes: two fundamental principles of modern physics—the conservation of probability in quantum mechanics and the equivalence principle of general relativity—seem to be incompatible with each other. I will explain how recent theoretical progress begins to address this problem and portray the emerging picture of how spacetime and gravity behave at the level of full quantum gravity.

Speaker: Yasunori Nomura, UC Berkeley

See weblink for Zoom link, posted day of lecture.

Website: https://physics.berkeley.edu/news-events/events/20210125/from-the-black-hole-conundrum-to-the-structure-of-quantum-gravity

Cost: Free

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