Our guest speaker was John Carpenter, from the Department of Astronomy at Caltech. His talk was an interesting twist on what was once a lone subject: The Origin of Solar Systems (notice the plural).
Now that the Kepler mission has provided us with a lot of new planetary systems, the old model of how our solar system was formed has to be tossed. It just didn’t hold up after all the new data was analyzed.
John said: “The common theme to my research over the years has been to understand how stars and planetary systems form. My interest in these topics began in graduate school, where I imaged the large-scale structure of molecular clouds and searched for newly formed star clusters. At Caltech, I have continued this research and expanded into new areas. In particular, I am heavily involved in operating the CARMA millimeter-wave interferometer.”
The CARMA site is about 15 miles from the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (250 miles north of Los Angeles). John also told us that they give tours once a month, so you can check their website for more information.
Oddly enough, our “What’s Up?” presentation (done by club member Mark Melnyk), was about Cygnus (the Swan), which was the area that Kepler imaged to find all these exo-planets.
Additionally, our Chief Observer, Michael Barker, gave a lively presentation on a “meteorite” strike in Nicaragua. The debate raged for a few minutes, because, well the photos don’t really show a meteorite strike. Can you tell why this isn’t a meteorite strike. Its like “Where’s Waldo,” only much easier. It looks like a ordinance crater to me.
All, in all, it was another fun evening of astronomy and hanging out with friends. Please be sure to check our website for meeting times and speaker info at: www.rivastro.org.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +