• 30 Nov 2022 2:57 PM | Scott Miller (Administrator)

    The James Webb Space Telescope: Our Giant Eye on the Invisible Sky 

    A nontechnical, illustrated talk by Andrew Fraknoi 

    Wednesday, Nov. 30, 5:30 pm 

    (You can participate either in person or on-line)

    At the Commonwealth Club of California 

    Rock Auditorium, 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco  

    Tickets and information at:  



    You do NOT need to be a member of the Club to attend! 


    The early images from the James Webb Space Telescope have been applauded by scientists, the media, and the public.  But there is far more to our expectations from this remarkable space instrument than just pretty pictures.  In this introductory talk, astronomer and educator Andrew Fraknoi explains what makes the Webb a truly pioneering instrument, what the early images actually show, and what scientists expect the telescope to accomplish in years to come.  In the process, he discusses how the Webb observes an “invisible universe” of infrared rays, and what astronomers are hoping to learn from it about “cosmic evolution” -- the birth and death of stars, planets, and galaxies.  No background in science is required to understand this program. 

    Andrew Fraknoi teaches astronomy and physics at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SF State University.  He is the lead author of the most frequently used introductory astronomy textbook in the country, Astronomy, published online by the nonprofit OpenStax project. See: http://fraknoi.com for more information about his work.
  • 30 Nov 2022 8:30 AM | Scott Miller (Administrator)
    Tuesday, 11/29/22

    12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
    Zoom:  https://stanford.zoom.us/j/99173215155?pwd=RDlVemRocWNTOHpNVXhud3dkUG9IQT09

    Stanford University

    Sleep and circadian misalignment during spaceflight - Livestream

    Speaker: Erid Flynn-Evans, NASA Ames Research Center Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory

    Attend the lecture here.
    Website: https://events.stanford.edu/event/william_c_dement_seminar_series_sleep_and_synaptic_homeostasis_with_dr_chiara_cirelli_9165


    Tuesday, 11/29/22  3:30 PM

    Hewlett Teaching Center
    370 Serra Mall, Room 200
    Stanford University
    Stanford, CA 94305

    Cosmic Explorer - a next-gen gravitational-wave observatory

    With almost 100 gravitational-wave sources detected to-date, and the first-generation facilities now over 20-years old, there is growing momentum towards the next-generation of gravitational-wave observatories. Projects are underway in Europe, Australia, Japan, India and the US to bring new ground-based observatories online. These audio-band observatories will be complemented by a wide range of efforts targeting other gravitational-wave frequency-bands. In this talk, I will focus on the US effort to build a next-generation observatory, known as Cosmic Explorer.

    Speakers: Matthew Evans, Massachusets Institute of Technology

    Website: https://events.stanford.edu/event/applied_physicsphysics_colloquium_matthew_evans_-_cosmic_explorer_-_a_next-gen_gravitational-wave_observatory

    Cost:  Free


    Wednesday, 11/30/22
    05:30 PM - 06:30 PM
    In-person and Livestream

    Commonwealth Club
    110 The Embarcadero
    San Francisco, CA 94105

    The James Webb Space Telescope: Our Giant Eye on the Invisible Sky

    The early images from the James Webb Space Telescope have been applauded by scientists, the media, and the public.  But there is far more to our expectations from this remarkable space instrument than just pretty pictures.  In this introductory talk, astronomer and educator Andrew Fraknoi explains what makes the Webb a truly pioneering instrument, what the early images actually show, and what scientists expect the telescope to accomplish in years to come.  In the process, he discusses how the Webb observes an “invisible universe” of infrared rays, and what astronomers are hoping to learn from it about “cosmic evolution” -- the birth and death of stars, planets, and galaxies.  No background in science is required to understand this program.

    Speaker: Andrew Fraknoi teaches astronomy and physics at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SF State University.  He is the lead author of the most frequently used introductory astronomy textbook in the country, Astronomy, published online by the nonprofit OpenStax project; Gerald Harris, Commonwealth Club, Moderator

    Attend in person or online.

    Use discount code Wonderfest2022 for a $10 discount

    Website: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2022-11-30/james-webb-space-telescope-andrew-fraknoi-explores-our-giant-eye-invisible-sky

    In-person tickets:  https://commonwealthclub.secure.force.com/ticket/?_ga=2.254495947.2109037287.1668984783-1048857874.1668651472#/instances/a0F3j00001ZFcwTEAT

    Online tickets: https://commonwealthclub.secure.force.com/ticket/?_ga=2.57222505.2109037287.1668984783-1048857874.1668651472#/instances/a0F3j00001ZFchREAT

    Cost:  $20 live/$10 online General


    Thursday, 12/01/22
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    In Person and zoom 

    Zoom:  ttps://stanford.zoom.us/j/423773826

    Kavli Institute Astrophysics Colloquium
    Physics and Astrophysics Building Room 102/103
    452 Lomita Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305

    Our Lonely Sun: How Multiple Star Systems Form (or don’t)

    Most stars are born with one or more stellar companions. Observational advances over the last decade have enabled high-resolution, interferometric studies of forming multiple systems and statistical surveys of multiplicity in star-forming regions. These have yielded new insights into how such systems form and how multiplicity affects disk evolution and planetary architectures. In this talk, I will review recent observational discoveries of the youngest multiple systems. I will present the results of star cluster simulations modeling the formation and evolution of multiple systems, and I will discuss the role of dynamics and environment in setting stellar multiplicity.  Finally, I will highlight remaining numerical and observational challenges.

    Speaker: Stella Offner, University of Texas, Austin

    Website: https://kipac.stanford.edu/events/our-lonely-sun-how-multiple-star-systems-form-or-dont

    Cost:  Free


    Friday, 12/02/22  12:00 PM


    Earth and Marine Sciences Building
    UC Santa Cruz
    Room A340
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064

    Ganymede’s internal structure with Bayesian inference using Juno and Galileo data

    Speaker: Anton Ermakov, UC Berkeley

    Website: https://eps.ucsc.edu/news-events/igpp-seminar/fall-2022.html

    Cost:  Free


    Friday, 12/02/22
    06:00 PM - 10:00 PM

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

    First Friday - Moving to Mars

    This year, in early December, it will be the best time to view Mars and it is a great time to look forward to NASA’s Mission to Mars. Join NASA and SETI scientist Pascal Lee as they explore the beauty of the Martian landscape and discuss how art has influenced modern spacecraft and rocketry. The event will showcase a 1/4 functional scale model of the Curiosity Mars rover along with fun hands-on activities that will spark your imagination. Delve into some space art making for the whole family and learn things behave differently in the vacuum of space than they do under the influence of a Martian atmosphere. Come experiment with how different materials behave in a real vacuum chamber to understand why atmospheric pressure is so important! Music, beer, wine and food available 

    Forget the holiday gingerbread house this season. Stop by our Studio 1 to make an edible Mars rover.  

    Planetarium Shows 
    (35 min) We’re going to Mars, and you can come with us! Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Mars has sparked the human imagination for millennia, conjuring visions of supernatural deities, extraterrestrial civilizations, and otherworldly landscapes. And now, the detection of water has reenergized our imagination, focusing our attention on the planet next door to Earth in hope of finding unearthly life on the Red Planet. Come and join the greatest exploration in history, to Mars!

    Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/first-friday-2-2-2/

    Cost:  $15 General, $10 Youth/Seniors, $5 Members


    Friday, 12/02/22  8:00 PM
    In-person and recorded

    San Mateo Co. Astronomical Society
    College of San Mateo Bldg 36
    1700 W Hillsdale Rd
    San Mateo, CA 9440

    Introduction to Astrophotography

    Have you ever wondered how astronomers take a picture of another galaxy or celestial object? In this presentation, you will hear how amateur astronomers produce these images. This includes the required equipment, what an imaging session looks like, and finally, an overview of processing data into a final image. Whether you are a casual observer or just getting started, this presentation will provide you insight into astrophotography. Former SMCAS president, Frank Seminaro, will give this presentation and also display some recent SMCAS member images. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with experienced SMCAS astrophotographers.

    Speaker: Frank Seminaro, San Mateo County Astronomical Society

    Presentation in Planetarium

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

    Cost:  Free


    Friday, 12/2/22  7PM

    Telescope Makers Workshop
    Chabot Space and Science Center
    10000 Skyline Boulevard
    Oakland, CA 94619-2450

    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.

    Please be prepared with proof of vaccination and a mask. These are
    Chabot Rules, which we always must adhere to.

    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 rrichozer1@... or phone (510) 406-1914.


    Friday, 12/2/22 and Saturday, 12/3/22
    07:30 PM - 10:00 PM--Free telescope viewings are back!

    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.


    Website: https://chabotspace.org/events/events-listing/

    Cost:  Free


    Friday, 12/2/2022 9PM-11PM for night observing and Saturday 12/3/2022

     10AM-12Noon for solar observing


    Foothill Observatory is open again!

    12345 El Monte Road

    Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

    Foothill Observatory Open 1st and 3rd Fridays + Saturdays

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

    ·       1st and 3rd Friday of each month, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for star gazing

    ·       1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, from 10 a.m. to noon for solar viewing

    Since we are still dealing with COVID, we are adopting the following guidelines to enable safe operation of the Observatory for both our public visitors and our PAS operators.  We ask that visitors please agree to complying with these guidelines before visiting the Observatory, and to direct any questions to info@pastro.org.
    1.    Full vaccination against COVID-19 is required to visit the Foothill College campus — This is a College requirement detailed on the Foothill College COVID-19 Behavioral Expectations page.

    2.    Mask usage is required anytime visiting the Foothill College campus — This includes the Observatory, per the same college policy linked above in item 1. 

    3.    The number of visitors allowed inside the Observatory is reduced — To avoid overcrowding within the limited space, please wait outside the observatory until a PAS telescope operator lets you and your group inside. Once your group is done viewing through the telescope, you will exit the Observatory so that a new group may enter. 

    Websites:  https://foothill.edu/astronomy/observatory.html

    and  https://pastro.org


    Sunday, 12/04/22
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


    Hiller Aviation Museum
    601 Skyway Rd.
    San Carlos, CA 94070

    Straw Rocket Workshop

    Each Air Rocket Blastoff features an introduction to rocketry and Newton’s Third Law of Motion, including an exploration of a real JPL rocket on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum.  Following a demonstration, participants construct a high-performance straw rocket, then launch it across the museum with a calibrated burst of air.

    Website: https://www.hiller.org/event/air-rocket/

    Cost:  Free with admission


    Sunday, 12/04/22
    01:00 PM - 03:00 PM


    Cameo Cinema
    1340 Main St
    St. Helena, CA 94574

    Wonderfest: Good Night Oppy + James Webb Space Telescope

    Wonderfest joins St. Helena's Cameo Cinema to present a heavenly double feature: first, the remarkable true story of NASA's Opportunity rover (which ventured to Mars for a 90-day mission, but survived - and explored - for 15 years!), followed by Q&A with legendary astrophysicist Dr. Alex Filippenko (discussing both the exploration of Mars AND the promise of NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, JWST). This special two-for-one event is a national Science On Screen presentation.

    Speaker: Dr. Alex Filippenko is the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physicsal Sciences and Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley. Alex has earned Wonderfest's Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization, and he is an esteemed member of Wonderfest's Board of Directors.

    Website: https://wonderfest.org/good-nighty-oppy-jwst/

    TICKETS:   https://www.cameocinema.com/movie/goodnight-oppy

    Cost:  $10

  • 29 Nov 2022 11:03 AM | Scott Miller (Administrator)

    Monday, 12/05/22

    07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
    Related video by same person at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuWUzhXyd3g

    California Academy of Sciences
    55 Music Concourse Dr.
    San Francisco, CA 94118

    Asteroid Mining: Stepping Stones to Solar System Exploration

    Since its inception, NASA has promoted a vision of space exploration that involves missions and outposts within the inner solar system with supplies delivered from Earth's surface, the Moon, or Mars. Recent research suggests an additional scenario in which humans live in space supported by resources extracted from asteroids, beginning with the most accessible Near Earth Objects (NEOs). NEOs are a cost-effective approach because they contain available, exploitable extraterrestrial resources that are delivered to the inner solar system by gravitational perturbations from the planets, they have been naturally preprocessed into objects the ideal size for industrial operations, and they contain critical materials for cost-effective self-sustaining activities in space.

    Speaker: Robert Jedicke, University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy

    Website: https://www.calacademy.org/events/benjamin-dean-astronomy-lectures/asteroid-mining-stepping-stones-to-solar-system-exploration

    Cost:  $15 General, $12 Members & Seniors


    Tuesday, 12/06/22  7:00 PM

    In-person and Livestream

    Lathrop Library
    518 Memorial Way, Stanford University
    Bishop Auditorium
    Stanford, CA 94305

    The James Webb Space Telescope: Shedding light on Dark Matter and Dark Energy

    With the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), cosmologists now have a power tool in their hands to look deeper into the mysteries of our Universe than ever before. In this lecture, Dr. Birrer will lay out outstanding questions in cosmology and describe how JWST is uniquely positioned to advance our current understanding of dark matter and dark energy. Specifically, he will discuss how JWST will probe dark matter based on its impact on galaxy formation and from the observed gravitational lensing effect caused by this mysterious matter component. Dr. Birrer will also highlight key programs that utilize JWST to measure the Hubble constant, a parameter to characterize the expansion of the Universe. He will close the talk by previewing some early results from JWST, which the scientific community and the general public are eagerly awaiting.

    Speaker: Simon Birrer, Stanford University

    Attend in person or online by registering at weblink.

    Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/astronomy-lecture-the-james-webb-cosmology-registration-445839827927

    Cost:  Free


    Wednesday, 12/07/22
    07:00 PM - 08:30 PM


    Silicon Valley Astronomy Series

    The Sun is Not Always Happy: Space Weather and the Question of Human Survivability - Livestream

    On October 27th 2022 NASA captured a now-famous image of the Sun “smiling” on its solar system [see image above]. But the Sun is not always happy! It can unleash violent “space weather” -- storms that can radiate X-rays and even gamma rays into space, send giant clouds of magnetic plasma slamming into the Earth and other planets, and spray firehoses of charged particles throughout interplanetary space. On Earth, we are mostly protected from the Sun’s wrath by our magnetic field and atmosphere, but astronauts venturing to the Moon and Mars will be vulnerable to these potentially deadly solar storms. Dr. Berger will discuss our current understanding of the interplanetary space environment, describe some extreme space weather events in history, and examine how well we can currently predict space weather and its impacts as we venture beyond our planet.

    Tom Berger is the Executive Director of the University of Colorado’s Space Weather Technology, Research, and Education Center, which combines traditional space physics research with technology and education to bridge the wide gap between research on the Sun and operational space weather forecasting. He was formerly the director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, helped develop the world’s largest solar telescope on the island of Maui (the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope), and has been a co-investigator on international missions to study changes in the Sun’s magnetic field.

    Website: https://www.youtube.com/SVAstronomyLectures

    Cost:  Free


    Friday, 12/9/22  7PM

    Telescope Makers Workshop
    Chabot Space and Science Center
    10000 Skyline Boulevard
    Oakland, CA 94619-2450

    See 12/2/2022 description above

    Friday, 12/9/22 and Saturday, 12/10/22
    07:30 PM - 10:00 PM--Free telescope viewings are back!
    Chabot Space and Science Center
    10000 Skyline Blvd
    Oakland, CA 94619

    Free Telescope Viewings

    See 12/2/2022 description above


    Sunday, 12/11/22
    01:30 PM - 03:30 PM


    San Jose Astronomical Association
    Houge Park
    3972 Twilight Drive
    San Jose, CA 95124

    Solar Observing

    It’s there for us year round, lighting our days and providing energy for our lives, so maybe it’s time to give it a closer look. Join SJAA for amazing and detailed views of the Sun, and be assured that we’ll be using special telescopes that will keep your eyeballs perfectly safe.

    We’ll have white-light telescopes with dense solar filters that reveal sunspots. Further, we’ll show you hydrogen-alpha telescopes that isolate a very specific color of red that reveals prominences (often thought of as solar flares) and intricate texture within the Sun’s chromosphere (its atmosphere).

    We can also share with you a little about how the Sun works and how complex magnetic fields drive the number of sunspots and prominences that we’ll see on a given day.

    Around 1:45, we'll have a short, informal introductory talk, and at other times, you can enjoy the views and ask questions about the Sun, telescopes, or astronomy in general.

    Website: https://www.meetup.com/sj-astronomy/events/289961266/

    Cost:  Free


    Tuesday, 12/13/22-Wed. 12/14/22
    11:45 PM - 03:00 AM


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

    Geminids Meteor Shower

    Join us on our observation decks and be dazzled as we make our annual trip though the Geminids Meteor shower. The Geminids, named for the radiant or location where the shower appears to originate, are one of the best meteor showers to catch this year. The culprit and source of the shower is Asteroid 3200 Phaethon, a small asteroid about 3.17 miles (5.10 kilometers) across.

    Bring warm clothing or optional blankets, chairs or sleeping bags.

    Event is weather dependent.

    Website: https://chabotspace.org/calendar/geminids-meteor-shower/

    Cost:  $15 General, $7 Youth, Free for members