BayAstro - Week of 01/30/2023

30 Jan 2023 8:30 AM | Scott Miller (Administrator)

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm 
In-person and online

Stanford University
KIPAC Public Lectures
Hewlett Teaching Center, Room 200
Stanford, CA
and online - see below

The James Webb Space Telescope: Atmospheres of Other Worlds

Prof. Bruce Macintosh (UC Observatories & KIPAC/Stanford)

JWST is an extraordinary technological achievement. Its ultra-precise optical system makes it a powerful tool for studying extrasolar planets (exoplanets) - worlds that orbit around other stars. Specifically, JWST is capable of measuring the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres with unprecedented sensitivity. In this lecture, Prof. Macintosh will discuss the most exciting exoplanet science planned for JWST: it will study giant planets like our own Jupiter by blocking the glare of bright stars, allowing us to understand how these worlds form. The telescope will also study smaller planets as they eclipse their host stars; we can identify chemical traces in their atmosphere when these planets are backlit by starlight. Prof. Macintosh will highlight recent results using both techniques. The same techniques will be adopted by JWST and future successor telescopes to study Earth-sized planets and look for signs of life.




Tuesday, 01/31/23
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

SETI Institute

Encore Movie: A Life's Work

Join your TeamSETI friends for a special encore presentation of movie night featuring the documentary A Life's Work. The original movie night presentation aired in December, and we're rebroadcasting it at a different time so timezones outside the U.S. can enjoy the show.

Seth Shostak hosted with special guests Jill Tarter, who is featured in the film, and David Licata, who directed the film.

Movie summary: What's it like to dedicate your life to work that won't be completed in your lifetime? Fifteen years ago, filmmaker David Licata focused on four projects and the people behind them in an effort to answer this universal question.

RSVP at weblink


Cost:  Free


Tuesday, 01/31/23
03:30 PM - 04:30 PM

Stanford Applied Physics/Physics Colloquium
Hewlett Teaching Center
370 Jane Stanford Way, Room 201
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305

Understanding our Dynamic, Magnetically Active Star
Speaker: Bill Abbett, UC Berkeley


Cost:  Free


Tuesday, 01/31/23
06:30 PM - 08:00 PM

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Hacker Dojo
855 Maude Avenue 
Mountain View, CA 94043

SOFIA: High-flying Infrared Astronomy

SOFIA was a 2.7 meter infrared telescope in a Boeing 747 SP. It was a US-German project; NASA provided the aircraft, and the German aerospace center, DLR, provided the telescope. The airborne observatory allowed us to study the cold universe using infrared light, which is inaccessible from the ground. This presentation will cover why SOFIA was needed, how it operated, and the scientific high-lights so far. The legacy of SOFIA continues in its data archive, while the aircraft itself will become accessible at the Pima Air and Space Museum.

Refreshments (pizza or sandwiches, plus drinks) will be served at the presentation.

Registration required. More info:

Speaker bios:

Dr. Randolf Klein received his PhD in astrophysics from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. As postdoctoral researcher, he joined a team in Germany developing a far infrared spectrometer for SOFIA. The decade-long development effort brought him via UC Berkeley to the SOFIA Science Center at NASA Ames, where Dr. Klein worked in various roles in science operations and outreach for SOFIA. That included frequently flying with SOFIA executing its observing program.

Ken Bower is a Silicon Valley research engineer with a curious educational path which has led him to support physics and astrophysics projects at NASA and Stanford University.  He built and integrated systems of Gravity Prove-B:  The Relativity Mission before joining SOFIA to coat its primary mirror and then plan many of its missions, occasionally serving as the last-ditch back-up Mission Director.  He enjoys presenting scientific topics to non-technical audiences of all ages and backgrounds.


Cost:  $7 - $17


Feb 01, 2023 - 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm

In-person and Livestrream

SLAC Colloquium Series

Redwood Rooms C & D
2575 Sand Hill Road, Building 48
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Lessons Learned from DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) Commissioning


Zoom info:


Friday, 02/03/23  8:00 PM

San Mateo Co.Astronomical Society
College of San Mateo Bldg 36
1700 W Hillsdale Rd
San Mateo, CA 94402

Planetarium Show of the Night Sky
Voyager-The Never Ending Journey
Speaker: Darryl Stanford, College of San Mateo


Cost:  Free
Pizza will be served at 7:00 PM


Friday, 02/03/23  7PM

Telescope Makers Workshop
Chabot Space and Science Center
10000 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619-245

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, 02/03/2023 9PM-11PM for night observing and Saturday 02/04/2023
 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
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. 




Friday, 02/03/23 and Saturday, 02/04/23
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.


Cost:  Free


SAT, FEB 4 · 8:00 PM PST

San Jose Astronomical Association

ONLINE: Astronomy Talk: The Double Asteroid Redirection Test: NASA’s First
Speaker: Andy Rivkin



Monday, 02/06/23  4:00 PM
In-person and recorded

Sonoma State University - What Physicists Do
1801 E. Cotati Ave.
Darwin Hall, Room 103
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

The Pleiades Experience: How the Fuzzy Star Cluster Continues to Chart My Astronomy Career

I was born and grew up in Córdoba, Argentina, as part of a big family that would gather often to share food and laughter. We’d spend several months on a ranch where we had neither running water nor electricity. The remote setting offered dark skies full of stars, and I loved seeing the Milky Way, the
Magellanic Clouds, and the distinct Pleiades star cluster. On my tenth birthday, my father took me to “El Planetario” in Buenos Aires. The beauty of the night sky and that planetarium visit charted the course of my career. At age sixteen, I came to California as an American Field Service exchange student and the goal of studying astronomy. I have a B.S. in Physics from UC Riverside, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles. I have had a hybrid career - twenty years at UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory working on NASA satellites and twelve years as Senior Scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, my current position. My doctoral dissertation measured the Carbon abundance in the molecular clouds in the interstellar medium, particularly in the Pleiades star cluster. Since then, my work at the Exploratorium has focused on Cultural Astronomy, and my passion is to offer learning opportunities that help people rekindle their relationship with the stars. Last year, I completed a six-month Fulbright US-Global Scholar fellowship on cross-cultural research about the Pleiades star cluster with Indigenous communities in New Zealand, Guatemala, and Peru. The Pleiades continue to guide my path through life, and I hope to inspire you to follow their path across the sky and shift your gaze upward! Because it’s your Universe too.

Speaker: Isabel Hawkins, ExplOratorium


Cost:  Free