Calendar for the Year
Mt Tam Astronomy Program
June 4, 2022: Gravitational Waves: The Discovery that Won the Nobel Prize
On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) received the first confirmed gravitational wave signals. Now known as GW150914, the event represents the coalescence of two distant black holes that were previously in mutual orbit. LIGO's exciting discovery provides direct evidence of what is arguably the last major unconfirmed prediction of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and has launched the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy. This talk will present an introduction to LIGO, gravitational waves and black holes. It will also discuss the gravitational wave detection results reported to date from LIGO and Virgo.
July 9, 2022: Exploring Caves on the Moon and Mars
Caves have been discovered on the Moon and Mars. Caves on the Moon might contain ice, while caves on Mars might also harbor life. This talk will discuss how robots and humans could soon explore these mysterious underground alien worlds..
September 3, 2022: There is no Planet B
We have entered the era of New Space, when private interests have been given the green light and are finally making headway into the commercialization of the final frontier. It's already past the time for tough questions. Will mining asteroids really save the Earth? Can humans avoid extinction by moving our civilization to Earth-orbiting space colonies or terraforming and colonizing Mars? What about the hype over space tourism, or the tens of thousands of internet satellites planned for low Earth orbit? Is any of it even realistic? The speaker will give us her take on the recent developments in space exploration and what it means for all of humanity, now and into the future.
October 1, 2022: An Astronomical Perspective on Globular Clusters, Planet Earth, and the Climate Crisis
Globular clusters have been providing insight into the structure of the Milky Way and the
May 14, 2022: Celebrating 175 years of Neptune: A Story from its Discovery to the Present
Neptune was discovered on 24 Sep. 1846, i.e., ~175 years ago. Since its discovery we have a learned much about the planet itself, its moons and ring system. This talk will present the story of Neptune, from its discovery to the present, using data at visible, near- and mid-infrared, and radio data.