Our favorite astronomy events from 2017

Happy New Year from Seattle Astronomy!

As 2018 gets under way we take a look back at our five favorite stories from last year.

1. Total Solar Eclipse

Well, duh. We spent nearly two years previewing the greatest celestial observing experience one can have. We did some 28 posts and more than a dozen podcasts about the Great American Eclipse. Seattle Astronomy publisher Greg Scheiderer even appeared on KING-TV’s New Day Northwest to talk eclipses.

To top all of that preparation off, we had gorgeously perfect weather for the eclipse from our viewing point in Monmouth, Oregon at Western Oregon University. Check our dispatches from Monmouth.

2. Apollo exhibit at Museum of Flight

Used engines

To anyone who grew up obsessed with the race to the Moon in the 1960s, the Apollo exhibit that opened in May at the Museum of Flight is about the coolest thing there is after total solar eclipses. And it’s lasted more than two minutes! This is another event that came with great anticipation. Bezos Expeditions found some actual F-1 engines that rocketed Apollo missions into space. They fished them out of the Atlantic Ocean in 2013. Some were donated to the museum in 2015—a story that made our top-five list for that year!—and the exhibit was in the works for nearly a year and a half. While the engines are a commanding centerpiece of the exhibit, there’s a ton of other cool Apollo stuff there as well. Check our podcast previewing the exhibit and article about the opening.

3. Finding ET at Pacific Science Center

Mission: Find Life!The Pacific Science Center had a couple of events during 2017 that highlighted the search for extraterrestrial life. The exhibit Mission: Find Life! ran from March through September in the science center’s Portal to Current Research space. Finding life was also the subject of one of the center’s Science in the City lectures in December. UW professor Erika Harnett participated in both, and Astronomy on Tap Seattle co-founder Brett Morris spoke at the latter as well. Check our podcast with Harnett and articles about the exhibit and the lecture.

4. Astronomy on Tap Seattle

Astronomy on Tap Seattle has been putting on monthly astronomy talks for almost three years now; they debuted in March of 2015. From Bad Jimmy’s to Hilliard’s to their current home at Peddler Brewing Company, graduate students in astronomy at the University of Washington put together monthly talks by students, faculty, and visiting dignitaries. The events also include astronomy trivia, prizes, and good beer. From astronomy art to polarimetry, we got a bit of everything this year. This month’s topics and date haven’t been announced just yet, but look for them around the fourth Wednesday each month.

UPDATE: No sooner did we publish this than the word came out that the next AOT Seattle will be at Peddler Brewing on January 24. Topic: Alien Moons.

5. Kelly Beatty talks Pluto

Scheiderer and Beatty

The Seattle Astronomical Society always lands great keynote speakers for its annual banquet in January, and 2017 was no exception as Sky & Telescope magazine senior editor Kelly Beatty told the story of the history of Pluto. Though Pluto wasn’t discovered until 1930, Beatty noted that the hunt really dates back to the 18th century.

Writer and astrophotographer Robert Reeves will speak at this year’s banquet on January 28.

Up next: our favorite books and author talks of 2017!

###

Please support Seattle Astronomy with a subscription through Patreon.

Become a Patron!

Share