BayAstro – Events of Week of 01/25/2021 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, 01/25/21
03:30 PM – 04:30 PM

SLAC Colloquium

The Fastest Eye on the Sky: The Vera Rubin Observatory – Livestream

What is the Universe made of? In modern cosmology only 4% of the universe is deeply understood, while the other 96%, Dark Energy and Dark Matter, remains a mystery. The Vera Rubin Observatory, currently under construction, will observe billions of galaxies, billions of stars in our own galaxy the Milky Way, as well as millions of objects closer to home in the solar system. Every night over a ten year survey, the Rubin Observatory will observe much of the night sky, so that every portion of the sky will be imaged nearly a thousand times. In this talk I will describe the Rubin observatory and especially its camera, the world’s largest digital imager now under construction at SLAC, and this remarkable set of observations, and how we will be able to “see” the dark portion of our universe in unprecedented detail.

Speaker: Aaron Roodman, SLAC

See weblink for Zoom information

Website: https://sites.slac.stanford.edu/colloquium/events/the-fastest-eye-the-sky-the-vera-rubin-observatory

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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Tuesday, 01/26/21
07:00 PM – 09:00 PM

SETI Institute

‘The Planets – Mars’ NOVA Virtual Movie Night and discussion

Join your TeamSETI friends for Movie Night, featuring an episode of NOVA’s docuseries The Planets about Mars. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, will host the viewing, and Dr. Lori Fenton, a planetary scientist who studies climate change on Mars, will join us as a special guest to answer your questions.

Learn more about Mars before the Perseverance Rover lands on the red planet in February.

The Planets is a NOVA series that showcases the mysteries and magic of the planets in our Solar System. The second episode, titled Mars, gives viewers a close-up look at the red planet–past and present.

Episode summary: Mars was once a blue water-world with active volanoes. But when its magnetic field and protective atmosphere faded, it became the frozen desert planet we know today. With so many necessary elements in place, did life ever form on Mars?

RSVP here to receive connection information.

Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-movie-night-with-the-seti-institute-nova-the-planets-mars-tickets-133192389021?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTW1SbE1EQTBaRGRtTWpFNCIsInQiOiJPU0FkeVwvQWtJTXY2SlwvY2xGU1dRaWl6ZVVJemMzc2JTRHdWanRRVnBnTHBWQjh5bTN6R3FcL0RpbnVkd3NJNFBJenR

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

<300px-Black_hole_(NASA).jpg>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.

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 12:00 PM

UC Santa Cruz

Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Seminar – Livestream

Title: The strength of solid asteroids constrained by craters on asteroidal boulders and Near-Earth Object population estimates

Speaker: Ronald Ballouz, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona

See weblink for connection information

Website: https://eps.ucsc.edu/news-events/igpp-seminar/winter-2021.html

Cost: Free

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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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Wednesday, 02/03/21 4:00 PM

ExplOratorium

Living With a Star: In Conversation with NASA – Livestream

The Sun makes life possible on our planet, but we still have a lot to learn from our nearest star and how it affects us here on Earth. How do we even get close enough to study the Sun? What is space weather, and is it similar to the weather we experience on Earth? Join Exploratorium astronomers and physicists for a conversation in Spanish and English with experts from NASA about what we know about the Sun, what we hope to learn about it through the new Parker Solar Probe mission visiting the Sun’s atmosphere, and what we’re learning about space weather caused by the Sun and how it affects us on Earth.

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook Live links.

Website: https://www.exploratorium.edu/visit/calendar/living-with-a-star

youTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Exploratorium

Cost: Free

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Wednesday, 02/03/21
07:00 PM – 08:30 PM

Silicon Valley Astronomy Series

Cosmic Instability: How a Smooth Early Universe Grew into Everyone You Know – Livestream

Gravity made stars, stars made heavy elements, gravity and chemistry made planets, geology and biology made people, and people made telescopes. What we would like to know is hard it all was, and could it happen elsewhere. The James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in October 2021, will extend the discoveries of the Hubble with a much bigger mirror, cooled to low temperatures so it can observe infrared radiation. It will have detectors capable of observing a bumblebee at the distance of the Moon! Dr. Mather will show the telescope, describe its capabilities, and discuss what it might find. We expect to see the history of the universe laid out before us, from the first luminous objects to our local neighborhood, and to answer questions like: How did the galaxies and black holes first form and grow? Are there Earth-like planets out there? How can we tell if they harbor life?

Speaker: Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist and the Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Andrew Fraknoi
Email: FRAKNOIANDREW@FHDA.EDU

Online at YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SVAstronomyLectures

Cost: Free

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Thursday, 02/04/21 6:30 PM

Astronomy on Tap

Astronomy on Tap Santa Cruz: – Livestream

Learn astronomy from astrophysicists! UC Santa Cruz astronomers will host a virtual “astronomy on tap” on February 4th at 6:30 pm, where UCSC Professors Rebecca Jensen-Clem and Philip Hinz will discuss the remarkable technologies allowing astronomers to see other worlds and study the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s center. We encourage you to grab a drink of your choice and join us via YouTube live for this accessible, free event.

Website: https://calendar.ucsc.edu/event/astronomy_on_tap_santa_cruz#.YA3EvC2cbEY

Cost: Free

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Saturday, 02/06/21
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, 02/06/21
• Saturday, 02/13/21
• Saturday, 02/20/21
• Saturday, 02/27/21

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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