Astronaut talk, star parties on the week’s calendar

A talk by a visiting astronaut and a handful of public star parties are the highlights of the astronomy event calendar this week.



The astronaut remembrance exhibit continues all week at the Museum of Flight, with displays and videos honoring the astronauts who have died in the pursuit of space exploration. NASA astronaut Dr. Michael R. Barratt will give a talk at the museum at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 4. Barratt’s appearance is part of the Michael P. Anderson Memorial Aerospace Program, an annual event which gives underserved children throughout Washington the chance to participate in the museum’s educational programs rooted in aerospace. Anderson, a Spokane native, perished in the shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. Barratt, also a Washingtonian, flew several shuttle and ISS missions and is presently serving in NASA’s International Space Station Operations and Integration branches to handle medical issues and on orbit support. His talk is free with museum admission.

Space infrastructure

Philip Swan of the Atlantis Project will be the featured speaker at Science on Tap at 7 p.m. Monday, January 30 at the Vios restaurant at Ravenna Third Place Bookstore. Swan will give a talk titled, “Space Infrastructure: Ferries are to Bridges as Rockets are to what?”

Planetarium shows

There will be three free public planetarium shows this Friday, February 3 at the University of Washington Planetarium. Showtimes are set for 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free but they usually go quickly; you can reserve yours online. There are several shows each day at the Willard Smith Planetarium at Pacific Science Center. Find the schedule on our calendar page.

Star parties

There are four free public star parties on tap for the weekend. The Covington Community Park Star Party is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, February 3 at the park. This popular event presents a good opportunity for stargazing south of the city. It’s sponsored by Covington Parks and Recreation and supported by the Seattle, Boeing Employees’, and Tacoma astronomical societies. The Seattle Astronomical Society plans its monthly free public star parties for 6 p.m. Saturday, February 4 at two locations: Green Lake in Seattle and Paramount Park in Shoreline. These events are cancelled in the event of rain or cloudy skies. The Tacoma Astronomical Society holds its public nights whether it’s clear or not. One is coming up at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 4 at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College. The indoor presentation will be about 110 Celestial Objects. The telescopes will come out if weather permits.

Futures file

You can scout out future astronomy events on our calendar. We’ve recently added listings for:

Up in the sky

The Moon will join Venus and Mars in a pretty little grouping Wednesday, February 1. The Sky This Week from Astronomy magazine and This Week’s Sky at a Glance from Sky & Telescope offer more observing highlights for the week.