January 9, 2015
Highlights This Month
of Comet Lovejoy
The Continuing Saga of the Rosetta Mission at Comet 68P
to the public!
site is Wildwood School, 11811 W Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles,
The entrance is on Mississippi Avenue, one block north of Olympic
(at the back of the building) at the intersection of Mississippi
Avenue is between Barrington Avenue (to the east) and Bundy Boulevard
(to the west). The parking garage is on the SE side of that intersection.
Please request to be
added to our e-mail list or check this web site before the
here to see a map.
large is the observable universe? How do we measure its scale? Tim
Thompson (retired from NASA/JPL)
gave a talk on this expansive subject at our meeting in Novemer 2014.
guest speaker in October 2014 was Sami
Asmar, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. He described how radio signals between spacecraft
on solar system missions allow us to remotely investigate the interiors
of planets and satellites. Also discussed were the interiors of the
moon, Vesta, and the icy satellites of the outer planets, and the latest
space breakthroughs from Mars
Curiosity and ESA's Rosetta.
guest speaker in September 2014 was Steve Levin of JPL.
Dr. Levin is Project Scientist for NASA's Juno
Mission to Jupiter. Juno's experiments will tell us about the interior
structure of the gas giant. Dr. Levin also works on GAVRT,
a radio telescope that can be operated remotely by students and non-professionals.
June 2014, Roger
Caltech spoke about the major news story creating waves in the astronomy
world lately - the possible detection of gravity waves from the Big
In May 2014, Chris Bang explained how his company is
pursuing plans do do space exploration with unmanned flying vehicles,
which might one day be used to explore Mars and other planets or moons
with an atmosphere.
March, 2014, Fabio Altenbach discussed the bizarre
notions of distance and space in modern cosmology, in a way that harkens
back to some of our ancient cosmic concepts.
November 2013, Phil Korngut (Caltech/JPL) showcased
recent research - including his own -on measuring the Cosmic Background
Radiation, the relic energy from the Big Bang. He traced the progress
of our understanding, and explained how he is pushing forward on a new
frontier - the near infrared signals from the early universe.
October 2013, Tim Thompson gave a talk about the history
of photography. (Tim
Thompson received his degrees in physics from California State University
at Los Angeles; B.S. in 1978 and M.S. in 1987. He joined the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory technical staff in January 1981, and retired from JPL in
August 2013, Josh Simon, an astronomer at the Carnegie
Institution, gave an introduction to stars, including the Sun, and described
how they are responsible for producing nearly all of the chemical elements
in the universe today. Current theories, though, predict that the first
stars, which formed 13 billion years ago, may have been very different
from those being born now. He explained how the amount of heavy elements
in a star can serve as a clock indicating its time of birth, and then
described the results of recent searches for primeval stars in both
the Milky Way and nearby dwarf galaxies. Dr. Simon has made fundamental
contributions to the study of stars and galaxies in the early universe.
He has found some of the "darkest" galaxies in the universe,
so his work relates to dark matter.
In July 2013, Thor Dockweiler gave an update about
the coming comet ISON.
Reinhard Kargl presented picturs of our Mount Pinos
expedition and gave a talk about the Chinese space program and the success
of China's manned flight in June 2013.
In May 2013,
Tim Thompson spoke about our deepest images of the
cosmos: The Hubble Deep Fields. One of the Hubble Space Telescope's
"greatest hits" was an image aimed at nothing in particular
-- just a typical slice of the sky.
In April 2013,
Dr. David Meier
of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave a talk entitled 'Black Holes:
Nature's Ultimate Engines'. Dr. Meier has just written
an expansive book on black holes.
In March 2013,
Jed Laderman talked about the recent Russian meteorite
impact near Chelyabinsk, and we reviewed video footage of the event.
2013, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, Curator for Aerospace Science
at the California Science Center, talked about the challenges and plans
associated with bringing Space Shuttle Endeavor to Los Angeles.
In December 2012, Jeremy
Amarant gave a presentation of how various civilizations around
the world related to the same night sky in different ways.
In November 2012, former
"Telecsope in Education" 24-inch telescope operator and Astronomy
historian, Matthew B. Ota told the story of Edwin Emerson
Barnard, a 19th Century Astronomer who pioneered astrophotography. Barnard
came out of a destitute childhood in Civil War ravaged Tennessee to
become one of the most celebrated and respected astronomers of his time.
The lecture featured over 88 photographs of Barnard from childhood to
adulthood, including the telescopes he used, the observatories he worked
at, family photographs and his astrophotography.
In July, Jed
Laderman gave a talk entitled "Bad Science Meets The Equator",
about his recent trip to Central America and the pseudo-science presented
to tourists there.
In May 2012,
Steve Vance of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave a
talk about Jupiter's moon, Europa, and theories about the composition
of its oceans. Also discussed was the possibility of future missions
to the icy moon.
How thick is the ice on this strange world, and what could be underneath
it? What's the latest news about this exotic world?
In April 2012,
Mona Delitsky talked about "New Chemistry on Titan".
In March 2012,
Ventimiglia gave a talk about the transits of Venus.
2012, Tim Thompson (personal
home page) gave a talk entitled "Planetary Aspects of Global
In January 2012,
Mike Simmons spoke about Astronomers
Without Borders, a non-profit organization he founded, and his many
travels, during which he attempts to spread donated astronomical instruments
and skills around the world.
In December 2011, Bade Uzgil from Caltech and the University
of Pennsylvania spoke about: "Intensity
Mapping during the Epoch of Reionization: A new approach to study the
large but faint population of galaxies in the early Universe".
In October 2011,
scientist Tim Thompson (JPL, Mount Wilson Observatory)
gave a talk on exoplantets and The
In July 2011, science
journalist Reinhard Kargl discussed his recent
flight on NASA's new airborne observatory, SOFIA.
He gave an overview of how this complex aircraft and telescope works,
and what astronomers will experience while observing on it.
June 2011, Club President Thor Dockweiler gave various
updates, and science journalist and board member Reinhard Kargl
spoke about SOFIA
and his personal visit to the new
airborne infrared telescope.
In April 2011, Jed Laderman presented: "Bohr &
Einstein - The Quantum, Space Time, & Reality", Club President
Thor Dockweiler gave a presentation about obersations
of Mercury and the MESSENGER spacecraft, and journalist Reinhard
Kargl gave a presentation about a social media event at NASA/JPL.
In March 2011:
Dave Jurasevich, Superintendent of the
Mount Wilson Observatory explained how he discovered the Soap Bubble
Nebula, a "new" planetary nebula which was recently featured
as the cover story of Sky
and Telescope magazine.
Furlanetto spoke about the earliest stages of our universe
and about building novel detectors to pick up signals from the "Cosmic
In January 2011
Jed Laderman gave a talk entitled “When Science
Was New - Copenhagen: From Tycho’s Nose to Bohr’s Quantum”.
(Denmark served as a center of freedom in Europe and a center of the
burgeoning fields of science. Influential astronomy and physics were
conducted by many, including Tycho Brahe a few centuries ago, and Niels
Bohr in the most recent century).
Dockweiler presented: “Comet Hartley”
2010, we hoste internationally recognized astrophotographer
who presented his images of the night sky above U.S. National
2010, Jed Laderman and Robert Lozano
gave presentations about the summer sky and Saturn's moon Titan.
In October 2010,
Tim Thompson spoke on the nature of our galaxy.
2010, physicist and author Robert
Piccioni gave a talk on Einstein and cosmology. In August
2010, Thor Dockweiler gave a talk about Galileo Galilei
and his discoveries.
At our June
2010 meeting, Stuart Taylor spoke on "Observing
Planet Destruction: Fast Bangs or Slow Whimpers?"
In May 2010,
presented "A Living History of the Universe".
In April 2010,
Dr. Ben Zuckerman of UCLA discussed exciting new discoveries
regarding planets and planet-forming disks around other stars.
In March 2010,
Dr. Steve Levin spoke about the Juno
Mission to Jupiter.
2010, Jed Laderman reported from his recent trip to
Iceland and put the volcanic activity on the island in perspective to
volancoes on other celestial bodies in our solar system.
In January 2010,
Tim Thompson of JPL talked about Globular Clusters.