The Orionid meteor shower peaks this week, and the scheduling gods are forcing astronomy buffs to choose between two interesting talks on Wednesday evening. These are the highlights of this week’s astronomy calendar in Seattle.
The Orionid meteor shower peaks in the wee hours of Thursday morning, October 22. Though the Moon is in a waxing gibbous phase, it will set around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, putting it out of the way for the prime meteor-viewing hours. As per usual, it’s best to get away from the city for the best chance to view the most meteors. Space.com has a good primer on the Orionids.
Take a peek at Sky & Telescope magazine’s This Week’s Sky at a Glance for other observing highlights for the week.
The Big Bang and Beyond
The University of Washington Department of Astronomy is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and among the festivities are a series of lectures titled The Big Bang and Beyond: Four Excursions to the Edges of Time and Space. The talks are sponsored by the UW Alumni Association.
The first of these will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 21 in room 120 of Kane Hall on the UW campus in Seattle. UW professor Andy Connolly will give a talk titled Unraveling Our Own Cosmic History. Connolly will discuss how, using the latest technologies, astronomical surveys like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Large Synoptic Sky Survey Review produce some of the deepest optical images ever obtained. These images allow us to look for flashes from the most energetic events in the distant universe and dramatically extend our cosmic reach.
Where to go next
The Seattle Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at that same hour Wednesday, gathering at 7:30 p.m. in room A102 of the Physics/Astronomy Building. Guest speaker Van Kane, who writes about planetary exploration for the Planetary Society and on his own blog, will talk about the five finalists for the next NASA discovery-class mission and what each could tell us about our solar system.
Public night at TAS
The Tacoma Astronomical Society will offer one of its popular public nights at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 24 at the Fort Steilacoom campus of Pierce College. TAS students will put on a special Halloween presentation, and the club will have telescopes out for observing, weather permitting.
Keep an eye on the Seattle Astronomy Calendar for advance notice of upcoming events.