09 October 2011

Get Involved: Star Parties and Astronomy Lectures

There are many ways to get involved with astronomy. No matter where you live, you can find local clubs and events using the Night Sky Network website. Just about anywhere you go, you'll find a friendly astronomy club ready to welcome a new guest or member.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a wealth of resources. As a member of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA), I always recommend the monthly lectures at the Randall Museum in the City, open at no charge to the public (next lecture on October 19th). The California Academy of Sciences has an excellent lecture series, the Benjamin Dean Lecture Series, focused on astronomy topics (next lecture on October 17th). And in the greater bay area, you'll find things happening at The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, Foothill College (lead by award-winning Professor Andrew Fraknoi) in Los Altos Hills, and more.

I take part in a few specific events. One of my favorite places to show off the night sky is at the weekly NightLife event at the Cal Academy in Golden Gate Park, every Thursday night. When the skies are clear, I can be found on the Living Roof showing off the skies with a trusty laser pointer, alongside Academy staff with telescopes pointing at the Moon, Jupiter, or other objects of interest. It is an excellent place to have fun and learn some new things about the night sky.

On November 5th, I'll be working with Tucker Hiatt of Wonderfest during the Bay Area Science Festival with a star party on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County. We're calling the event "Nekkid-Eye Nightscape," and it will follow a lecture called The Milky Way as Dark Matter Laboratory. Tucker and I will give an introduction to the night sky, showcasing the best and the brightest objects in the Autumn Sky. After the lectures, the SFAA will be there with wonderful telescopes to show off the night sky up-close and personal.

I hope to see you at an event sometime soon!

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