Kick off the new year with Open Mic Science and a meteor shower

A meteor shower and an astronomy talk at Open Mic Science highlight the first full week of the new year on the Seattle Astronomy calendar.

Dark matter

biopenmicOpen Mic Science on Bainbridge Island has been hosting events monthly, except during the summer, for about three years now, but this month’s talk will be the first in the series about astronomy. Steve Ruhl, who is president of the Battle Point Astronomical Association, will give a talk titled “Cosmology, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy” at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at the Treehouse Café on Bainbridge.

Open Mic Science, A Bainbridge Science Café, is free. The series is based on the principles of Cafe Scientifique and is committed to the public understanding of science.

Quadrantid meteor shower

By EarthSky Communications, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

The radiant point for the Quadrantid meteor shower. By EarthSky Communications, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is the first of the year. The good news for meteor watchers in early 2016 is that the Moon will be a waning crescent, so it shouldn’t interfere much with the view. The bad news is that the peak for this particular shower is shorter than most. Look for Quadrantids any time after midnight and into the wee hours of Jan. 4 before dawn. This article from EarthSky has lots of information about viewing the Quadrantids.

Venus will have an exceptionally close encounter with Saturn on Friday, Jan. 8, and will also pass close to the Moon on Wednesday. This Week’s Sky at a Glance from Sky & Telescope magazine and The Sky This Week from Astronomy run down other observing highlights for the week.

Club events

taslogoThe Tacoma Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5 in room 175 of Thompson Hall at the University of Puget Sound. The program will be the second of three parts on nucleosynthesis of elements.

BPAAThe Battle Point Astronomical Association plans its monthly planetarium show for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Ritchie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island. The program, “The Solar-Powered Battle Point Sundial,” will explore the history, art, and science of sundials and celebrate the new sundial the group built in the park last year. Telescopes will be available for observing, weather permitting, and sundial shows for kids will precede the main presentation at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Free for club members, $2 suggested donation for non-members.