Free Online Talk on "The Last Stargazers" Oct. 20

04 Oct 2021 8:36 PM | Scott Miller (Administrator)

On Wednesday, Oct 20th, 2021 at 7 pm (PDT), Dr. Emily Levesque of the University of Washington will give a free, illustrated, non-technical lecture on:  

The Last Stargazers: Behind the Scenes in Astronomy”                                                                 
On line at YouTube:  

          [if you go to this address the evening of the talk you will see and be able to participate in the live event; we will also make a recording] 

The talk is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series (through Foothill College), now in its 22nd year. 

A bird that mimicked a black hole. The astronomer that discovered microwave ovens. A telescope that got shot. The science of astronomy is filled with true stories (and tall tales) of the adventures and misadventures that accompany our exploration of the universe. Dr. Levesque will take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of life as a professional astronomer. We'll learn about some of the most powerful telescopes in the world and their cutting-edge discoveries, meet the people behind the science, and explore the crucial role of human curiosity and innovation in the past, present, and future of scientific discovery. 

Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington and the author of the critically-acclaimed popular science book, The Last Stargazers (published in 2020 by Sourcebooks)Her work explores how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She has observed for upwards of fifty nights on many of the planet’s largest telescopes and flown over the Antarctic stratosphere in an experimental aircraft for her research. Her academic accolades include the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon Award, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, and the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize.  

The lecture is co-sponsored by: 

* The Foothill College Science, Tech, Engineering & Math Division 

* The SETI Institute 

* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific 

* The University of California Observatories (including Lick Observatory). 

Past lectures in the series can also be found on YouTube at    

The series is also beginning to be available as a podcast and can be found on many of the popular podcast services.  Its home is at: 

Recent podcasts include Nobel Laureate John Mather on the work that will be done by the Webb Space Telescope, Dr. Tom Shutt on new experiments hunting for dark matter, and Dr. Elinor Gates on how the pandemics of 1918 and 2020 affected the Lick Observatory. 


Explore the Universe  in a Fun, Non-credit Class On-line with Andrew Fraknoi for People Over 50

In this richly illustrated, non-technical Zoom class, Andrew Fraknoi will introduce the realms of the universe and the intriguing ideas about planets, stars, and galaxies that modern astronomy has revealed.  For a more detailed outline of the six-week course, which goes from Oct. 11 to Nov. 15, see: 

The class is offered through the San Francisco State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). You must sign up for membership in OLLI to take the class (it’s a modest fee.) 

Andrew Fraknoi has taught introductory astronomy at colleges and universities for more than four decades.  He was the California Professor of the Year in 2007 and has received many other awards for his career explaining astronomy in everyday language (including an asteroid being named after him). He is the lead author of a free, on-line astronomy textbook for beginners that has been used by more than half a million students.  His fourth science fiction story, based on good astronomy, was published last month. 

To register for this class, you first need to join OLLI and create a user name and password:  

Then go here to sign up for a membership:   

After you have signed up and paid for an account, you can register for classes. 

  1. Visit the Fall Catalog page at:  
  2. Select the “sign in” box at the upper right corner of the page and sign in, using your new user name and password. 
  3. Select Andrew Fraknoi’s class, Exploring the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy. 
  4. Add the class to your cart. 
  5. Continue to purchase your registration for the class.   

If you have any other questions about membership, course packages, or course registration, please email