The Lyrids are here! Seattle Astronomy calendar, week of April 20

Astronomy Day is this Saturday and several local astronomy groups are observing the event. Check out the Lyrid meteor shower and celebrate the 25th birthday of the Hubble Space Telescope, too.

adlogoAstronomy Day began in 1973 as an effort to bring astronomy to the people. Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, decided that rather than try to entice people to travel long distances to visit observatory open houses, they would set up telescopes closer to where the people were, busy urban locations like street corners, shopping malls, and parks. Now a program of the Astronomical League and 13 other organizations, Astronomy Day features hundreds of events around the United States and the world.

Locally there are several events planned. The Everett Astronomical Society will celebrate Astronomy Day from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25 at the main downtown branch of the Everett Public Library. They’ll have solar telescopes for views of the Sun, plus displays of meteors, telescopes, and other information. In addition, EAS will hold public star parties both Friday and Saturday evenings from dusk until around midnight at Harborview Park between Everett and Mukilteo.

Seattle Astronomical Society will hold public star parties Saturday evening at Green Lake in Seattle and at Paramount Park in Shoreline. Both get under way at about 8 p.m. The Tacoma Astronomical Society will hold its public night at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College, with a presentation about space exploration at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Happy birthday to Hubble

Hubble25th-1024x663The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed April 25, 1990. This weekend we celebrate a quarter century of Hubble’s amazing photos and innumerable scientific discoveries.

The Pierce College Science Dome will host a birthday party from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Friday, April 24. The event will include a live stream of the National Air and Space Museum celebration, hands-on science projects, and a planetarium show about Hubble.

Watch for our own Hubble article later in the week.

Lyrid meteor shower

Watch on all clear nights this week for Lyrid meteors. The annual shower will peak on the evening of Wednesday, April 22 to the wee hours of the morning on the 23rd. Look toward the radiant in the northeast sky. This EarthSky page tells all you need to know about the Lyrids.

Talk, talk, talk

There are three promising astronomy talks scheduled for Wednesday evening, and the more dedicated listener might be able to catch at least parts of all three.

AOT2 posterThe Museum of Flight celebrates Earth Day all day April 22, capped by a talk at 4 p.m. by former astronaut Ed Lu. Dr. Lu, now CEO of the B612 Foundation, will give a talk titled “Defending Earth From Asteroids” about the foundation’s proposed Sentinel mission to watch for potential killers. Check our coverage from a news conference with Lu last year to learn more about Sentinel.

Solar System Ambassador Ron Hobbs will give a talk at 6:30 p.m. at Explorer West Middle School in West Seattle. Hobbs will discuss discuss comets, dwarf planets and the Mars Rover and how missions to these new frontiers will impact life on earth, now and far into the future.

The second Seattle iteration of Astronomy on Tap will be held Wednesday evening beginning at 7 p.m. at Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company in Ballard. Topics of talks by University of Washington astronomy graduate students will include supermassive black holes, and the extreme seasons on the recently classified Game of Thrones planet. And there will be beer.