Calendar: What the heck is polarimetry?

The monthly gathering of Astronomy on Tap Seattle and a variety of star parties highlight this week’s calendar.

AOT

AOT Sept 27My Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines polarimeter as “an instrument for determining the amount of polarization of light or the proportion of polarized light in a partially polarized ray.” I still don’t know what that means or why astronomers might be into polarimetry, but we’ll find out at 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 27 when Astronomy on Tap Seattle meets at Peddler Brewing Company in Ballard.

The guest speakers are both UW postdocs: Dr. Jamie Lomax will discuss her research using polarimetry to detect the almost-invisible material around stars, and Dr. Kim Bott will explain how she uses polarimetry to hunt for signs of habitable worlds.

Astronomy on Tap Seattle is organized by graduate students in astronomy at the University of Washington. The evening’s festivities include astronomy-themed trivia and fabulous prizes. It’s free, but buy beer. Bring your own chair to create custom front-row seating.

Star parties

Several star parties are on the calendar for the weekend. The Covington Community Park Star Party is scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday, September 29 at the park. The party is sponsored by Covington Parks and Recreation with support from the Seattle, Tacoma, and Boeing Employees astronomical societies.

The Seattle Astronomical Society plans its free monthly public star parties for 8 p.m. Saturday, September 30 at two locations: Green Lake in Seattle and Paramount Park in Shoreline.

Planetarium

The WSU Planetarium in Pullman offers a new program this weekend, “Astronomy 101.” The show runs at 7 p.m. Friday, September 29 and repeats at 5 p.m. Sunday, October 1. Tickets are $5 at the door, cash or check; no credit cards.

Mark your calendar

The Museum of Flight will observe Astronomy Night next Thursday, October 5 beginning at 5 p.m. Astronomy clubs from the area will be on hand with telescopes and information. It’s part of the museum’s free first Thursday offerings.

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