Tag Archives: Theodor Jacobsen Observatory

Observatory open house, TAS meeting this week

Happy September! It’s a pretty light week on the calendar, though we will get to enjoy a club meeting and an observatory open house as Labor Day approaches.

taslogoTonight is the night for the monthly meeting of the Tacoma Astronomical Society, which welcomes our friends from Cloud Break Optics, who will visit to talk about useful telescope mounts for public star parties and outreach. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at the University of Puget Sound’s Thompson Hall, room 175.

TJO winding down

TJO

Theodor Jacobsen Observatory at the UW. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

On Wednesday, Sept. 2 the University of Washington hosts an open house at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory on the Seattle campus. As we move into September, the start time for the bi-monthly open house moves up to 8 p.m. Physics and astronomy student Mallory Thorpe will lead a discussion titled “The Planet Club.” Thorpe will talk about how the definition of a planet has changed over the years, covering the discovery of Neptune, exoplanets, and the controversy around Pluto’s planetary status. These talks at the TJO open houses have become about the hottest ticket in town. Today’s talk is full and has a lengthy wait list as well. The talk for the next open house on Sept. 16 is also full, and that will be the last one of the year. Even without a reservation for the talk, you’ll have a chance to tour the observatory dome and, weather permitting, peek through the vintage telescope, operated by volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society.

The ice giants are out

The ice giant planets are near the top of our observing list for the week. Neptune is at opposition Sept. 1 and well-placed for viewing. Uranus will be easier to spot, as it will appear barely one degree north of the Moon this evening. Binoculars or a telescope are a big help on both, though some eagle-eyes claim to be able to spot Uranus, in particular, without magnification. Check out Astronomy magazine’s The Sky This Week for more observing highlights for the week.

Future file

bigbangThe University of Washington Astronomy Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a string of lectures and events that begins next month. The talks feature UW faculty members and guest astronomers, and a special multimedia concert is on the docket, too. Check our post about the celebration for the low-down on all of the events, and watch our calendar to find other interesting local astronomy activities.

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Two big conferences mean lots of talks on this week’s astro calendar

With two sizable astronomical conferences in town this week the Seattle Astronomy calendar is packed with interesting events.

LSST Project and Community Workshop

lsstlogoMore than 200 scientists from around the world who are working on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will gather this week in Bremerton for the LSST Project and Community Workshop. While the formal conference runs from Aug. 17–22, the program also includes public events starting Sunday, Aug. 16 and running nightly.

lssttalksThe free talks, sponsored by Olympic College, will be held at the SEEFilm Bremerton Cinema starting at 7 p.m. each evening.

Aug. 16: LSST in the Solar System
“Finding Icy Worlds Beyond Neptune, Never-Before-Seen Comets, and Killer Asteroids”
Dr. Lynne Jones, University of Washington

Aug.17: LSST and the Milky Way
“Mapping the Milky Way, Our Cosmic Backyard”
Dr. Beth Willman, LSST / University of Arizona

Aug. 18: Astronomia de LSST (en español)
“Mapas celestes desde el Sur del mundo”
Dr. Knut Olsen, NOAO

Aug. 19: LSST and Cosmology
“Measuring and Modeling the Universe’s Dark Stuff”
Dr. Jim Bosch, Princeton University

Aug. 20: LSST in the Time Domain
“Explosions in the Sky! Observing our Changeable Universe with LSST”
Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz, Adler Planetarium

The theater is just a half-mile walk from the Bremerton ferry terminal.

In addition to these talks, there will be an “astronomy slam” at five different Bremerton locations on the evening of Aug. 18. The slam will include brief talks by five different astronomers at each site. Check the Olympic College calendar for places and times.

Space Elevators

isec logoThe other big event in the area this week is the annual Space Elevator Conference put together by the International Space Elevator Consortium. The conference, running from Aug. 21-23 at the Museum of Flight, will engage an international audience of scientists, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and students in discussions of space elevator development.

There is a public component to this event as well. It includes a family science fest from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22. This family-focused, STEM-centric event will feature lots of hands-on activities, demos, and exhibits. It’s free with museum admission. More details.

The last generation of lonely astronomers

Ada’s Technical Books and Café on Capitol Hill in Seattle will host a conversation about exoplanets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20. Journalist Glenn Fleishman will interview Dr. Sarah Ballard, NASA Carl Sagan Fellow of the University of Washington, about worlds like our own and exotic potentials. They’ll talk about why planets in solar systems are either mostly in a plane or completely cattywampus, the limits of what we can learn without venturing out, and what distant worlds teach us about our own neighborhood. Free.

Sibling rivalry in massive stars

saslogoThe Seattle Astronomical Society holds its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 in room A102 of the Physics/Astronomy building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. UW astronomy graduate and lecturer Breanna Binder will provide an overview of single star stellar evolution, and discuss how massive stars in binary systems evolve differently from single stars. Free and open to the public.

TJO open house

Theodor Jacobsen Observatory

The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory is the second oldest building on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle. Twice-monthly open houses at the observatory resume March 2. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Wednesday is also open house day at the UW’s Theodor Jacobsen Observatory, starting at 9 p.m. Engineering student Kyle Musselwhite will give a talk titled, “Hey, What’s That Sound? The Universe!” Musselwhite will outline relationships between the history of science and musical thinking, followed by discussion of why music is a useful tool for conceptualizing certain properties of the universe (especially time and distance). The talk is free but reservations are strongly recommended; the classroom typically fills up quickly.

Volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society give tours of the observatory dome and, weather permitting, offer looks through its vintage telescope.

Star parties

The Seattle and Tacoma astronomical societies have public events scheduled this Saturday, Aug. 22. SAS holds its monthly free public star parties at two locations: Green Lake in Seattle and Paramount Park in Shoreline. Both begin at 8 p.m., weather permitting. The Tacoma club meets at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College for a public night beginning at 9 p.m. Aug. 22. A panel will do a presentation on women in astronomy, and volunteers will be on hand with telescopes for observing, weather permitting.

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Seattle Astronomy calendar, week of June 15

Summer arrives in the Northern Hemisphere this week, there will be an array of public astronomy events, and we celebrate a couple of anniversaries of women in space.

The Seattle Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17 in room A102 of the Physics/Astronomy Building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. As of this writing, the guest speaker presentation was still listed as TBA; watch the SAS website for updates.

TJO

The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory at the University of Washington. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Later that evening, starting at 9 p.m., the University of Washington will host one of its bi-monthly open houses at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory. Rebecca Kemmerer, a senior in physics and astronomy, will give a talk titled, “Stars and Their Place in the Milky Way.” Kemmerer’s presentation will include a discussion of the different types of stars in our galaxy and the ways that their masses influence how they are born, live, and die. It’s free, but reservations are strongly encouraged for the talk; the classroom is small and fills up quickly! Volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society will be on hand to give tours of the observatory and, if weather permits—and we’re optimistic it will!—will offer a look through the facility’s vintage telescope.

Women in space

Two anniversaries of women in space come up this week. Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union became the first woman in space when she flew on Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963. That flight is still the only solo space flight by a woman. Twenty years and two days later, on June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman to fly in space when she launched on the crew of the Challenger and STS-7. Ride has been on our pages a lot of late. Her birthday was May 26, and we also enjoyed Lynn Sherr‘s recent biography of the astronaut, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space (Simon and Schuster, 2014). Sherr was in Seattle last year and spoke about Ride.

Busy Saturday of astro events

There will be a lot to choose from for astronomy enthusiasts on Saturday, June 20. The day’s festivities kick off with a talk by Rob Manning, the chief engineer for the Mars rover Curiosity. Manning will talk about his book, Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer (Smithsonian Books, 2014). The talk will be at 2 p.m. at the Museum of Flight. For our money the landing of Curiosity on Mars was one of our greatest engineering achievements. Here’s a chance to get the inside story. Pick up the book in advance. Manning will sign copies after his presentation.

Summer begins Sunday at the solstice, which happens at 9:38 a.m. Pacific time. Saturday evening Alice Enevoldsen of Alice’s Astro Info will host a solstice sunset watch at Solstice Park in West Seattle, with the gathering beginning about 8:45 p.m. for the sunset, which will be at about 9 p.m. Enevoldsen is a NASA Solar System Ambassador, and this will be her 25th seasonal sunset watch at the park. They’re fun and informative!

The Seattle Astronomical Society will host two public star parties June 20, at Green Lake in Seattle and Paramount Park in Shoreline. Both will begin at 9 p.m., weather permitting. The Tacoma Astronomical Society also plans a public night Saturday at 9 p.m. at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College. Presenter Chuck Jacobsen will talk about the Sun, and, weather permitting, members will be on hand with telescopes for a look at what’s up in the sky.

Happy Father’s Day

In case it slipped your mind, Father’s Day is June 21, and we think dear old dad would love a telescope, eyepiece, or astronomy book as a present! There’s a lovely selection of such things in the Seattle Astronomy Store!

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Seattle Astronomy calendar, week of June 1

We celebrate a half century of U.S. space walks this week, and enjoy events from the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory and the Tacoma Astronomical Society.

Ed White

Astronaut Ed White. Photo: NASA.

Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Ed White‘s space walk out of Gemini IV. White became the first American to walk in space on June 3, 1965. Russian cosmonaut Alexey Leonov was the first human being to conduct an extravehicular activity, walking from Vokshod 2 on March 18 that year, beating White by a couple of months.

Edward H. White II was born on Nov. 14, 1930 in San Antonio, and died Jan. 27, 1967 in a fire aboard Apollo I on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. White was part of NASA’s second astronaut class, chosen for the program in 1962 along with Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and six others.

TAS activities

taslogoThe Tacoma Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. in room 109 of Wyatt Hall at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Physics professor Sean O’Neill of Pacific Lutheran University will be the guest speaker, talking about relativity. O’Neill spoke about black holes at a Seattle Astronomical Society meeting last December; read our recap of that talk.

TAS holds one of its public nights Saturday, June 6 beginning at 9 p.m. at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College. Member Alice Few will discuss ancient astronomy and, weather permitting, the club will set up telescopes for some astronomical observing. Maps and more info on the TAS website.

TJO open house

TJO

The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory at the University of Washington. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Wednesday, June 3 is open house day at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Rachel Morton, a physics and astronomy major at the UW, will give a talk at 9 p.m. titled “Supernovae and the Implications for an Accelerating Universe,” summarizing the evidence for and the implications of our expanding universe for the far distant future. Volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society always staff tours of the observatory’s vintage telescope and the observatory dome and, if the weather is favorable, will share a look at the cosmos.

The events are free, but reservations are strongly recommended for the talk, as the observatory classroom holds only 45 people.

Keep track of area space and astronomy events on the Seattle Astronomy calendar.

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Seattle Astronomy calendar, week of May 18

There are a lot of great events requiring some difficult choices on this week’s calendar.

Prof. Jim Peebles speaks Tuesday at the University of Washington. Photo: Princeton.

Prof. Jim Peebles speaks Tuesday at the University of Washington. Photo: Princeton.

On Tuesday, May 19, Professor P.J.E. Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University, will give a guest lecture at the University of Washington sponsored by the departments of physics and astronomy. Titled “50 Years of the Cosmic Microwave Background: What We Have Learned, and What Questions Remain,” Peebles’ lecture will explore the science behind the Big Bang and new searches for dark matter and dark energy. The lecture, at 7 p.m. in room A102 of the Physics/Astronomy Building on the UW campus in Seattle, is free, but reservations are required.

Jennifer Wu photography

Light Painting by Jennifer Wu.

Light Painting by Jennifer Wu.

At the same hour astrophotographers may be interested in a presentation by Jennifer Wu at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center. Wu, the co-author of Photography Night Sky: A Field Guide for Shooting After Dark, is a nature and landscape photographer specializing in creating stunning images of the night sky and stars. Since 2009, she has served as a Canon Explorer Of Light, one of just 36 photographers worldwide to be recognized with that honor.

Tickets are free for students, $14 for Mountaineers members, $16 for non-members. The event starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 at the Mountaineers’ Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE in Seattle.

Astronomy on Tap returns

aot3Enjoy beer and astronomy at the third event of the spring with Astronomy on Tap Seattle on Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company in Ballard. UW astronomy grad student John Lurie will give a short talk about our understanding of the evolution of the Milky Way, titled, “Our Galaxy is a Cannibal.” Dr. Matt Beasley of Planetary Resources will discuss asteroid mining. In addition to the brew and lectures, there will be astronomy trivia contests and yummy prizes from Trophy Cupcakes.

Catch our recaps of the first and second Astronomy on Tap Seattle events, and we’ll see you at number three on Wednesday. It’s free; make a reservation here.

Seattle Astronomical Society

The Seattle Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. in room A102 of the Physics/Astronomy Building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Developer Jonathan Fay will talk about Microsoft WorldWide Telescope, free software you can use to plan observations, control a telescope, explore astronomical data sets, or create custom tours for educational outreach.

Back to TJO

Theodor Jacobsen Observatory

May 20 is the third Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another open house at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory on the UW campus. The event gets under way at 9 p.m. Undergrad Boren Li will give a talk titled, “Comparative Planetology: Where Will We Go?” Li will compare conditions on other planets to those on Earth and summarize our best prospects for colonization.

The talks are free but reservations are strongly recommended. Volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society will give tours of the observatory and, weather permitting, share a look through its vintage telescope.

Northern lights flick at PacSci

Acclaimed Norwegian solar physicist Pål Brekke will be at the Pacific Science Center Thursday, May 21, for a discussion of the fascinating phenomena of the aurora borealis. They’ll show Brekke’s new 25-minute documentary The Northern Lights: A Magic Experience at 7:30 p.m. in the center’s PACCAR Theater. The film tells the full story of the aurora and includes tips on how to take your own exquisite northern lights photos.

After the screening Brekke will talk about his experience as a longtime observer of the northern lights and about his work on the documentary. Admission is $5. View the trailer for the film below.

Weekend star parties

The Seattle Astronomical Society will hold its free public star parties Saturday, May 23 at two locations: Green Lake in Seattle and Paramount Park in Shoreline. Both events will start at 9 p.m. if the weather is suitable for stargazing.

Saturn at opposition

Saturn will be at opposition Friday, meaning we’ve arrived at the best time this year for observing the ringed planet. Jupiter and Venus are still great targets in the early evening as well. This Week’s Sky at a Glance from Sky & Telescope magazine has more observing highlights for the week.

Keep on top of area astronomy events with the Seattle Astronomy calendar.

 

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Seattle Astronomy calendar, week of May 4

Local organizations are hosting special space and astronomy events and other regular astro-club functions are on the docket for this week.

The Museum of Flight observes Space Day as part of its Free First Thursday May 7. Local astronomy clubs will be there with telescopes for viewing—Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are all great targets this week. In addition, NASA Solar System Ambassador Ron Hobbs will give a presentation about the Hubble Space Telescope. Space Day runs from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. The Hobbs talk will start at 7 p.m.

PacSci arches

The arches at the Pacific Science Center. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

The Pacific Science Center observes Astronomy Day Saturday, May 9 starting at 10 a.m. and running all day. It will be a day of arts and crafts, planetarium shows, and other fun activities. Volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society will be on hand with solar telescopes for safe viewing of the Sun, if the Sun is indeed out that day. Guest presenters include retired astronaut Dr. Nick Patrick, who will give a talk at 2 p.m., and Dr. Tom McCord from the NASA Dawn mission, who will speak at 3 p.m. Find the full schedule on the PacSci website.

Tacoma Astronomical Society

The Tacoma Astronomical Society holds its monthly meeting Tuesday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in room 175 of Thompson Hall at the University of Puget Sound. Then on Saturday, May 9, they’ll have a public observing night from 9 p.m until midnight at the Fort Stielacoom campus of Pierce College. Presenter John Finnan will talk about binocular astronomy—a rewarding and inexpensive way to get started in the hobby.

Back at TJO

TJO

The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory at the University of Washington. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Wednesday night, May 6, is open house night at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. The event runs from 9–11 p.m. Two talks by UW undergraduates are scheduled. Riley Harris will give a talk at 9 p.m. titled, “The State of the Planet, The Future of Space Travel.” Harris will run down the history of space travel, take an honest look at the current state of Earth, and explore the possibilities for future space travel and colonization. At 9:30 p.m. Kyle Musselwhite will give a talk titled, “Hey, What’s That Sound? The Universe!” Musselwihite will outline relationships between the history of science and musical thinking, then discuss why music is a useful tool for conceptualizing certain properties of the universe (especially time and distance). Volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society will be on hand to give a peek through the observatory’s vintage telescope if weather permits. Reservations are strongly suggested for the talks.

Everett society meets

The Everett Astronomical Society holds its monthly meeting Saturday, May 9 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Evergreen Branch of the Everett Public Library.

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Seattle Astronomy Calendar, week of April 13

A visiting author is the highlight of the week’s astronomy events, and the Moon will be involved in two interesting observing opportunities in the next seven days.

Does general relativity baffle you? Dr. Jeffrey Bennett says you’ll come away with a grasp of the concept if you attend his talk at Wednesday’s meeting of the Seattle Astronomical Society. Bennett is the author of What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter (Columbia University Press, 2014.) The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. April 15 in room A102 of the Physics/Astronomy Building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Check our preview article from last week for more about Bennett and the talk.

More talks

Theodor Jacobsen ObservatoryAlso on Wednesday the UW hosts one of its bimonthly open houses at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory. Tom Esser, a senior in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Program at the university, will give a talk titled, “The Solar System: Planets, Spacecraft, and Rockets!” It will be a jaunt through the solar system, covering the spacecraft we have sent to the planets and some of their moons, and the rockets we used to get them there. Weather permitting, visitors will be able to get a look through the observatory’s vintage telescope, operated by volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society. Reservations for the talk are highly recommended, as the classroom where they’re held is relatively small. The events get under way at 8 p.m. April 15 at the observatory.

Another UW student will give a talk Thursday at Town Hall Seattle. Paige Northway, a student in UW’s Earth and Space Sciences Department, looks at magnetic field measurements in space, and the critical work played by magnetometers on small satellites. Her talk begins at 6 p.m. April 16 at Town Hall. It’s part of the UW Science Now lecture series.

Observing

The Moon will be part of some interesting celestial sights this week. On Wednesday evening Neptune will be easy to find, just four degrees south of the Moon. You’ll need a telescope to spot the most distant planet. At dusk Sunday a super-thin crescent Moon bunches up with Mars and Mercury low in the western sky. Mars and Mercury are drawing closer together; they’ll be just 1.3 degrees apart by April 22.

Check This Week’s Sky at a Glance, from Sky & Telescope magazine, for other observing highlights for the week.

Yuri’s Night

LogoYurisNight_WHITEring_TRANSPARENTbackground250x250Yuri’s Night, marking the 54th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space, was last Sunday, but the celebration rolls on at Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington, which will hold a Yuri’s Night World Space Party Saturday, April 18, beginning at 5 p.m.

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