The first weekend in December is heavy with club events, star parties, and planetarium shows. Here’s what’s on the calendar for the coming week:
In December many astronomy clubs opt out of a formal meeting and instead hold a banquet or other more social gathering. The Spokane Astronomical Society plans its annual potluck dinner for 6 p.m. Friday, December 2 at the Riverview Retirement Community. A guest speaker will follow the dinner at 7:30. Dr. John Buchanan, a professor of geology at Eastern Washington University, will talk about catastrophic outburst flooding that have occurred on Earth and Mars through geologic time. He will examine how the “Ice Age Floods” in eastern Washington compare with various large floods both on Earth and Mars.
The Seattle Astronomical Society plans its free monthly public star parties for 6 p.m. Saturday, December 3 at two locations: Green Lake in Seattle and Paramount Park in Shoreline. Poor weather will mean cancellation of the events, so watch the club’s website and social media for updates.
The Tacoma Astronomical Society will hold one of its free public nights at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 3 at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College. The all-weather program will be about selecting gift telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy gear. (We covered that topic, too last week!) If the weather is good they’ll also put their gear into action for some celestial observing.
Planetaria have no trouble with cloudy weather! There are several shows on the docket for the week.
The University of Washington planetarium will host three free shows on Friday, December 2 at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. Reservations for all three times were snapped up quickly, but you can watch this site to see if tickets become available.
Pacific Planetarium in Bremerton will host its First Friday Sky Walk shows December 2, with a presentation every half-hour between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The shows look at what’s up in the sky for the coming month.
You can scout out future astronomy events on our calendar. New additions to the calendar this week include:
- A talk by astronomer and author David Grinspoon January 16 at a meeting of the Rose City Astronomers in Portland. Grinspoon’s new book, Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future (Grand Central Publishing, 2016), comes out December 6; you can pre-order it here.
- A talk by astronomer Ethan Siegel at the February 20 meeting of Rose City Astronomers. Siegel will talk about his book Beyond the Galaxy: How Humanity Looked Beyond Our Milky Way and Discovered the Entire Universe (World Scientific Publishing, 2015).
Up in the sky
Venus and the Moon make a nice pairing on the evening of December 3. This Week’s Sky at a Glance from Sky & Telescope magazine and The Sky This Week from Astronomy offer more observing highlights for the week.