17 July 2012

Get Involved: Star Parties and Astronomy Lectures

Wherever you live, there are always good astronomy events happening in your town. The Night Sky Network is the first resource you should check for the latest events anywhere in the world.

Every weekend, the observatories and science museums in the San Francisco Bay Area open up for public viewing, such as the Chabot Space and Science Center and Foothill College Observatory.

Lecture: In the San Francisco area, I always encourage people to visit the monthly meetings of my astronomy club, the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA). Every month we have some of the best astronomy speakers present their latest ideas, and this month is no exception, with a science history talk presented by John Dillon entitle "Galileo Reconsidered" on Wednesday July 18th. Click here for more details.

Lecture & Star Party: Once a month at the top of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, high above the thick fog of a San Francisco summer's night, you can find a wonderful Saturday night event featuring a lecture in the Mountain Theater, and stargazing with the SFAA afterwards. This Saturday, July 21st, features Dr. David J. Des Marais from the NASA-Ames Research Center. The tile of his talk is “Astrobiology Investigates Life in the Context of Space.” Click here for more details.

I hope you can join us for an upcoming event.


Anonymous said...


I live in SF and I am going to try and view the Delta Aquarid meteors this weekend.

Where are some places I should go to get the optimum view & what time is the peak (PST)?


The Urban Astronomer said...

Hello Anonymous - for any meteor shower, the darker the sky, the more meteors you will see. With a bright moon in store this weekend, you want to view the meteors when the moon has set. And for any meteor shower, late night and early morning is always better than evening.

The net of this is that the best viewing Saturday night (going into Sunday morning) will be after 1:30 am, when the moon sets, until 5:00 am when the first light of day begins to break.

And in the Bay Area, you can find skies in high locations such as Marin County in the hills, along the Peninsula along Skyline, and in the East Bay mountains around Mt. Diablo. And of course, far north in Napa and Sonoma you can find dark skies.

Good luck!

-- Paul

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul!

I went to my lookout spot at Redwood City last night around 2-2:30 AM and was able to see a bunch of meteors while I was there!

Some short and feint, a few really bright and long ones as well.

Can you still be able to see meteors this evening or will it not be as abundant as last night?

And about what time, after 1:30 AM?


The Urban Astronomer said...

hi Anon - I'm glad to hear you saw some good meteors. Here in San Francisco, fog and clouds obscured my view.

This particular meteor shower lasts longer than most, so you should be able to see more tonight. However, Moonset is an hour later so it will be quite late before the skies are fully dark.

Best of luck with that!

-- Paul