BayAstro – Events of Week of 01/18/2021 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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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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Thursday, 01/28/21
03:00 PM – 04:45 PM

Online, CA Online

A Mini-course on Black Holes for People over 50

Black Holes: Space Warps, Time Machines, and the Science that Won the 2020 Nobel Prize with astronomer Andrew Fraknoi
In this non-technical mini-course, we will learn about the theory and experiments behind one of the most remarkable phenomena in science the gruesome and powerful places in the universe called black holes. Formed through the deaths of huge stars, black holes are places where gravity overwhelms every other force in the universe and the behavior of space and time is altered, almost beyond recognition. Designed for non-scientists and presented in everyday language with lots of beautiful illustrations, the class will first describe how black holes emerged from Einstein’s work and then show how new instruments on Earth and in space are demonstrating that black holes of various sizes really do exist.
Week by Week Outline
Week 1: Introduction to the Universe & Theory The realms of physics & astronomy. What Einstein called “the happiest thought of my life”. Introduction to Warped Space-time, The rubber sheet, and the trained ant help us understand relativity
Week 2: Black Holes in Theory The rubber sheet leads to ultimate collapse. Understanding black holes and their structure and properties Black holes and the nature of time. What it would be like to be near a black hole. Black holes in science fiction.
Week 3: Observations of Smaller Black Holes. Finding black holes produced by single stars (x-ray revelations). Finding black holes of intermediate size using gravity waves. Black hole mergers in the universe. How big can a black hole get?
Week 4: Supermassive Black Holes, The 2020 Nobel Prize observations: Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way. Black Holes and Galaxy Mergers. Super-sized Black Holes: Quasars and Other Phenomena at the Largest Levels. Black Holes and the Beginning and End of the Universe (briefly)
Andrew Fraknoi retired as the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College a few years ago, and now offers short classes to seniors for enjoyment. He is the lead author of a free, on-line introductory textbook in astronomy (used by over 300,000 students) and has written two children’s books and three published science-fiction stories. Fraknoi appears regularly on local and national radio, explaining astronomical developments in everyday language. He was selected as the California Professor of the Year in 2007, and has an asteroid named after him.

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Offered through the SF State Osher Life-long Learning Institute (OLLI), but open to anyone over age 50. When you register for the class, if you are not a current member of OLLI, you will be asked to sign up, but it’s a free process.
NOTE: This is a Mini Course it is not necessary to be a member. However, you must be signed in. Check website.

San Francisco State OLLI Program
Email: olli@sfsu.edu

Website: https://www.campusce.net/sfsu/course/course.aspx?c=696

Cost: $70

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Friday, 01/29/21
07:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Chabot Space and Science Center

Prepare for Landing: An Update on NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover – Livestream

Get ready to land on Mars! The Mars 2020 spacecraft, carrying the Perseverance rover, is already close to Mars, and the rover will land on February 18, 2021. Join us Friday evening as astronomer Gerald McKeegan gives a Mars 2020 mission update. He’ll describe the final phase of the flight and the “seven minutes of terror” NASA controllers will undergo as Perseverance descends to the Martian surface.

Speaker: Gerald McKeegan

See weblink for Facebook Live and YouTube links.

Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/prepare-for-landing-an-update-on-nasas-mars-perseverance-rover

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GXRx-nXO28

Cost: Free

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Friday, 01/29/21
08:00 PM – 09:00 PM

Wonderfest

Wonderfest: Exoplanets and the Search for Alien Life – Livestream

Humanity has looked up at the stars for millennia and wondered whether we’re alone in the Universe. Yet only in the past few decades have we begun to discover planets outside our Solar System: to date, we’ve found over 4,000 such “exoplanets.” Further, we have statistical reasons to believe that roughly one billion exoplanets – in our Galaxy alone – are promising abodes for life. Come learn about exoplanets and the exciting search for Earth-like and potentially habitable worlds.

Speaker: Andy Mayo, UC Berkeley

Website: https://wonderfest.org/exoplanets-and-alien-life-2/

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82195772545

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 01/30/21 7:00 PM

East Bay Astronomical Society

Star Map History for Today’s Amateur Astronomer – Livestream

The history of star maps evolved into several pathways that have relevance for today’s amateur astronomer. Ancient views of the sky had mapping traditions that used both a geocentric orientation (where the stars and constellations were pictured as they were seen from the Earth) and an external orientation (where they were right to left reversed as seen from the outside of a celestial globe carved in marble). The development of the telescope favored a geocentric view, as well as a switch in the celestial grid from a longitude/latitude perspective to one that spoke about right ascension/declination. Many ancient books included volvelles, which were analog computers on paper that attempted to reproduce some of the features of 3-dimensional astrolabes on 2-dimensional pages in a book. These led to our modern planispheres. Early atlases pictured beautiful constellations using mythological and scientific themes that gradually grew to over 100 figures, but these were reduced in number by an international society to 88 constellation areas of the sky, and the images gradually disappeared (although line drawings persist in modern astronomy magazines). Dr. Nick Kanas will trace the history of these and other developments that we take for granted as amateur astronomers.

See weblink for Facebook Live link.

Website: http://eastbayastro.org/events/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EastbayAstroSociety/videos/

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 01/30/21
08:00 PM – 09:30 PM

San Jose Astronomical Society

An Astronomical Perspective on Star Clusters, Planet Earth – Livestream

This talk will be in two parts. I will begin by sharing some results from my research on globular clusters following a brief introduction to these fascinating and ancient structures. In particular, I will focus on the role that binary stars play in cluster dynamics and show some examples of how my students and I have been searching for these binaries using space-based observatories. Time permitting, I will make a brief detour into possible connections of this work to the LIGO discoveries of binary black holes. The second part of my talk will focus on a project that grew out of a realization that the astronomical perspective is valuable and can be harnessed in the struggle to preserve our planet’s habitability. The organization that I helped to found, Astronomers for Planet Earth, now comprises 700+ astronomers and astronomy educators from 41 countries worldwide. I will describe our goals, some of our current activities, and invite you to share your thoughts on how we can collectively make progress on this urgent matter.

Speaker: Adrienne Cool, San Francisco State University

Website: https://www.meetup.com/SJ-Astronomy/events/275529205/

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 01/30/21
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, 01/30/21
• Saturday, 02/06/21
• Saturday, 02/13/21
• Saturday, 02/20/21

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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