Our 29th Season on the Mountain
Apr 29: US Solar Eclipse of August ’17
A total solar eclipse, when the Moon fully covers the bright disk of the Sun and reveals the breathtaking solar corona, is one of nature’s most magnificent spectacles; it's truly an awe-inspiring experience that moves some people to tears. On August 21, 2017, for the first time in 38 years, the very narrow path of a total solar eclipse falls on the continental United States. Come learn about total solar eclipses and how to view this one!
Speaker Alex Filippenko is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers, and was voted UC Berkeley's "Best Professor" a record nine times. He appears frequently on TV documentaries and is addicted to observing total solar eclipses throughout the globe, having seen 15 so far!
May 27: Popular Myths of Astronomy
Much of what we think we know about space comes from film and television, but Hollywood's job is more often to entertain than to educate.
In this fun, informative, and FREE presentation, Prof. Thomas Targett of Sonoma State University will sort fact from fiction, taking a tour through the worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, and much more.
Jun 17: Gravity
MOVIE NIGHT: Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as NASA astronauts stranded in orbit. This tense film earned 7 Oscars at the 2014 Academy Awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron.
Jul 1: Heavenly Vision
Galileo Galilei developed a new method for reliably comprehending the world — and the entire cosmos — around us. Accordingly, Galileo has been called the father of modern science. Astronomer Alan Agrawal will show us how Galileo's celestial observations dramatically changed our understanding of the universe and of our place in it.
Dr. Alan Agrawal is a physician who specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases in the field of rheumatology. He is also an avid amateur astronomer and independent historian on the development of the telescope.
Jul 29: Seeing the Beginning
Do you ever wish we could look back in time? We can, by studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which reveals the fiery early universe when it was only 0.003% of its present age. This presentation will show how studying the CMB allows us to learn about the origin, composition, and ultimate fate of the universe.
Dr. Blake Sherwin is NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He has also just earned the title of University Lecturer in Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University in England.
Aug 26: The Search for Life Beyond Earth
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. However, the only place in this vast cosmos that is known to host life is our own planet. But now, science has revealed that several planetary bodies in our solar system have the potential to host primitive forms of life. This talk will describe why and how NASA plans to search for life on Mars and the icy ocean moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
Our speaker, Dr. Carol Stoker, is staff planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. She has led field experiments in the Arctic, the Antarctic, underwater, and in the deserts of the US southwest. Most recently, she has helped to develop robotic systems to search for life on other planets.
Sep 23: Life in the Goldilocks Zone
Discoveries by NASA's Kepler Mission suggest there are billions of potentially habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. What has the study of planets within and beyond the Solar System taught us about our own planet Earth? We'll explore this question and learn what's next in the search for life beyond the Solar System.
Our speaker, Natalie Batalha, is an astrophysicist at NASA's Ames Research Center. She contributed crucially to the remarkable success of the Kepler Mission. Accordingly, in 2017, Dr. Batalha was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people on Earth!
Oct 28: Watching the Universe Grow Up
Cosmologists have now come to a detailed understanding of what our Universe was like as a child (400,000 years after the Big Bang) and what it is like as an adult (13.8 billion years later). But what was our Universe like as a teenager, when the very first stars and galaxies formed? Our speaker, Dr. Adrian Liu, will describe current efforts to use radio telescopes to make pictures of the teenage Universe. He will present a “sneak preview” of breakthrough results that will enlighten and excite us in the next few years.
Adrian Liu is a Hubble Fellow in the Astronomy Department of the University of California, Berkeley. In August 2018, he will become Assistant Professor of Physics at McGill University and at the McGill Space Institute.