Recap of This Month Riverside Astronomical Society Meeting.

Whew! I am glad this one is over.  Everything seemed to be going well when, you know, Murphy’s Law struck…big time.

The kind people at La Sierra University let us use the facilities at Cossentine Hall to hold our meeting (Thank you very much).  They also let us use their AV equipment so we don’t have to bring our own.  We even rent one of their buildings for our holiday party.

 

But this weekend, nothing worked.  It was a AV geeks worst nightmare.  We had the poor security guard open almost every room in the place to find a working projector.  It seems that the IT staff have been doing last minute upgrades before the semester started.  Unfortunately, we did have all the right cables to make anything work.

While I was delaying the inevitable, and our guest speaker started looking very apprehensive, a miracle occurred!  We pushed the right button and everything was fine.

Then it was time for the main events.

Diane Childs gave a great “What’s Up,” presentation on the Hercules Cluster.

Anahita Alavi

Our guest speaker, Anahita Alavi, Department of Physics and Astronomy, U. C. Riverside, then gave her presentation on “Using the Hubble Space Telescope and Mother Nature’s Telescope (Gravitational Lenses) to Find the Faintest Galaxies in the Universe.”

It seems that there are a lot of dwarf galaxies roaming about the Universe.  The Milky Way as about 20 (that we can see) orbiting the galaxy.  There may be more, but these objects are soooooo faint that scientists are using gravitational lensing to look even deeper into space than the Hubble can.

Although the data is not refined as they would like it to be, it does set up the James Webb telescope on where to look when it is fully operational (hopefully in 2018).

In the end it was another great meeting.  Please remember that if you are in the area, or just passing through, and need your monthly astronomy fix, everyone is welcome to come and enjoy free of charge.  Heck we even provide snacks!

You can find out about the next general meeting, star parties, and outreach locations on our website.

– 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 +

Norman

RAS General Meeting Recap.

This month’s speaker for the RAS, was Heather A. Knutson.  She is an assistant professor in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology.  She is working onthe physics and chemistry of exoplanetary atmospheres, planet formation and migration, and the search for new low-mass eclipsing planetary systems.

As usual, our meetings are held at Cossentine Hall at La Sierra University.

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Dr. Knutson spoke about her research into smaller exoplanets.  Most of the exoplanets are large, like Jupiter large.  She is trying to find Earth analogous planets.

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She also spoke about some of the planets that have been discovered.

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One particular planet has 6,000 mph winds and liquid rock for clouds!  Trust me, the science works, it just seems odd.

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She also explained that instead of looking at large suns for Earth sized planets, they are starting to look as smaller suns.  It makes perfect sense.  If you can’t make the planet larger to detect, look at smaller suns and the planet gets bigger by default.

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It was also interesting to note that Kepler imaged a very, very tiny part of our galaxy.  That spot with the red arrow is as much as we have looked at to date.  There are a lot of other exoplanet missions planned, but the galaxy, and the universe, are really big.  Lots more data to come.

Remember, everyone is welcome at the meetings and you can find out about the topics by visiting http://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 +

Norman