Friends of Palomar Observatory Events for Members


KEEP WATCHING THIS PAGE FOR MORE 2013 EVENT DETAILS.
To make a reservation for this event, send an email to sbf@astro.caltech.edu or CALL 760-742-2131 today. Maps and special parking instructions will be sent out to you.


OCTOBER 2013

Saturday OCTOBER 26, 2013 7:00pm

PALOMAR OBSERVATORY OUTREACH CENTER

GUEST SPEAKER DR. WILLIAM WELSH

William (Bill) Welsh is a Professor of Astronomy at San Diego State University, and a member of NASA's Kepler Mission. He has been very involved in the study of circumbinary planets, and led the discovery of two planets, Kepler-34 and Kepler-35.

NASA's Kepler Mission: Discovering Strange New Worlds

Over the past two decades hundreds of new planets have been discovered, but nearly all of these "exoplanets" are giant, Jupiter-size planets. Earth-like planets are much smaller and very much harder to find. NASA's Kepler Mission, launched in March 2009, has a precision 100x better than ground-based planet searches and is the first telescope capable of detecting Earth-size planets orbiting a star like the Sun. In this talk I will present the results of Kepler's search for terrestrial planets, and will also highlight some of the strange and wonderful discoveries Kepler has made. In particular, I will discuss a new class of planets Kepler has found, the "circumbinary planets". These are planets orbiting around a pair of stars, and have two suns in their sky.



PREVIOUS EVENTS THIS YEAR

Saturday May 11, 2013 7:00pm - 10:00pm

DAVID LEVITAN Caltech Astronomer

The search for AM CVn systems with the Palomar Transient Factory

Among the most exotic "stars" known are the AM CVn systems - ultra-compact binaries with orbital periods less than an hour. Their extremely short orbital periods make them strong Galactic sources of gravitational waves, but no one has yet understood how many of them exist in the Galaxy. I will describe these systems and why understanding their population is essential, and show how we use the Palomar and Keck telescopes to find new systems and by doing so, better determine their population.


JUNE 2013

Saturday JUNE 15, 2013

SOLAR OBSERVING Noon - 5:00pm

GUEST SPEAKER JIM LAFFERTY AT 2:00pm

"Observing and Imaging Our Sun"

For this presentation, Jim will walk us through the basics of observing and imaging our sun with both hydrogen alpha and white light filtered telescopes. We will discuss the solar features you can expect to see through the eyepiece and some basic info on the best ways to image the sun. Some details on the most common equipment and software will also be discussed.

Jim Lafferty hails from Redlands, in Southern California, and has been an amateur astronomer for 35 years. After many years of visual observing, he took on nighttime deep sky imaging. In 2010, he got the solar "bug" and turned from the "dark side" to the adventure that is imaging our sun. Observing and imaging our nearest star in both traditional "white light" and in the specific band of hydrogen alpha, Jim's work has been featured in Sky and Telescope Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, the UK's "The Astronomer", Amateur Astronomy Magazine, NASA's APOD, Space.com, Yahoo News, numerous blogs and online astronomy sites, and in High School Physics Textbooks. Jim also participates in various public outreach events, as well as giving presentations on the sun in the classroom. He is the author and publisher of the full color hardcover book "Imaging Our Sun" (2012). You can get more information on solar imaging and see more of Jim's work at his website at: http://scopetrader.com/jimlafferty.


JULY 2013

Saturday JULY 13, 2013 7:00pm - 10:00pm

PALOMAR OBSERVATORY OUTREACH CENTER

GUEST SPEAKER DR. DOUG LEONARD AT 7:00pm

Picture by "Kelly Calligan / Daily Aztec"

Are Supernovae Round?

Roughly once per century in a typical galaxy, a massive star ends its life in a spectacular explosion called a supernova. The physical process by which these stars explode, however, remains a mystery. Conventional wisdom holds that a spherically symmetric mechanism is at work, one that expels the ejecta equally in all directions. Using recent evidence derived from a novel observational technique employed at the world's largest optical telescopes (including the Hale), I will argue that the innermost regions of these stellar explosions are, in fact, severely distorted, the result of an explosion mechanism that is strongly non-spherical in nature.

Douglas Leonard is Associate Professor of Astronomy at San Diego State University, having previously served as National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology and, prior to that, as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Five College Astronomy Department in Amherst, MA. Dr. Leonard received his B.A. in astronomy from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.S., and Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley. His publications include over 50 articles in the technical literature. A passionate science educator, his latest endeavors include work on several BBC/Horizon videos on black holes, cosmology, and the deaths of stars (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx5210jP7yY) .

AUGUST 2013

Saturday AUGUST 24, 2013 6:00pm - 7:30pm

THE NEW PALOMAR COLLEGE PLANETARIUM

Palomar College is hosting a special Planetarium Show for The Friends of Palomar Members

The Sky Tonight Presentation & Undiscovered Worlds -- A Full Dome Presentation

SEPTEMBER 2013

Saturday SEPTEMBER 21, 2013 7:00pm - 10:00pm

PALOMAR OBSERVATORY OUTREACH CENTER

GUEST SPEAKER DR. JEFF COOKE AT 7:00pm

"Super" supernovae and the quest for the first stars

Very massive stars end their short lives in extremely violent and luminous supernova explosions that can be seen out to great distances. Using a new method, our team has discovered supernovae out to distances much farther than has been previously possible - distances that equate to explosions that occurred 10-12 billion years ago. Several of our discoveries are 10-100 times more luminous than normal supernovae and belong to a rare class of "super-luminous" supernovae. Interestingly, two of these "super-luminous" supernovae may be the first bona-fide examples of a long-theorized third type of supernova explosion believed to have been more common in the early Universe. New surveys now underway will allow us to detect these "super" events all the way back to when the first stars formed after the Big Bang. I will show how we are hot on the trail to discover the deaths of these first stars.

Jeff Cooke is a Research Fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. Previously, he was a McCue Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Irvine and a Postdoctoral Scholar at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Dr. Cooke received his B.S. in Astronomy at San Diego State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of California, San Diego. His work spans a broad range of topics from galaxy formation and evolution, to quasar absorption-line systems, to supernovae. He holds the record for the most distant supernova, a record he continues to break. (http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~jcooke/)

Meet at the Palomar Observatory Outreach Center at 7:00pm for our guest speaker. There will be a Star Party at the Outreach Center with a variety of telescopes following the talk.



See the prior years events.

  • 2012 Events
  • 2011 Events
  • 2010 Events
  • 2008 Events
  • 2007 Events
  • 2006 Events
  • 2005 Events

     

    Return to the Friends of Palomar Observatory main page

    Palomar Observatory Home Page

    Caltech Astronomy





  •