Astro topics part of PacSci Scientist Spotlight Saturday

Aurora and plasma knots are a among the cosmic topics on the docket for this Saturday’s Scientist Spotlight at the Pacific Science Center. The University of Washington’s Erika Harnett, research assistant professor from the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, will give an exhibit titled “Aurora! Dancing Lights in the Sky,” explaining why the aurora only occur at the poles and what gives them different colors. Jens von der Linden, a graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the UW, will discuss “Tying Plasma Knots on the Surface of the Sun,” exploring how magnetic fields can twist, control, and tie knots in plasma streams like those found in solar flares. Both exhibits begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Science Center.

Pacific Science Center arches

Those aren't aurora that made their way south, but rather the distinctive arches at the Pacific Science Center, lighted for the holidays. The Center hosts its Scientist Spotlight event Saturday, with several astronomical topics on the docket. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

The Scientist Spotlight programs happen the first Saturday of every month, and are included in the price of admission to the center. They’re family-friendly events with casual conversations and hands-on activities led by local scientists. Saturday’s spotlights run from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., with an array of topics from archeology to vaccines. There’s a full schedule on the PacSci website.

Mark your calendars for a week from Saturday, Jan. 14, for the Battle Point Astronomical Association planetarium show about possible future journeys to the stars, the the technology we might use to get there, and for Jan. 22 for the annual Seattle Astronomical Society banquet.

In fact, marking your calendars for space and astronomy events just got easier than ever! has added a calendar page, with listings culled from various astronomy clubs and science organizations. Visit the calendar to find a listing of upcoming events, and contact us to let us know about yours!