Upcoming Events

Events are open to all members and the general public. Sign up for email event updates by registering with Night Sky Network.

Most of our events happen at the Chabot Space and Science Center. Get directions here.

Next General Meeting

Saturday, August 17, 2019
7:30 P.M.
Galileo Room
Chabot Space and Science Center

Our Speaker is Brian Day, NASA Ames

Exploring Planetary Surfaces with NASA’s Solar System Treks

NASA’s Solar System Treks project produces a suite of online, interactive visualization and analysis portals.  These tools enable mission planners, planetary scientists, and engineers to access data products from a wide range of instruments aboard a variety of past and current missions, for a growing number of planetary bodies. Originally planned for mission planning and science, this technology has shown great benefits for public outreach. As new missions are being planned to a variety of planetary bodies, these tools are facilitating the public’s understanding of the missions and engaging the public in the process of identifying and selecting where these missions will land.

There are now seven web portals in the program available to the public. This expanded list includes portals for the Moon, Mars, Vesta, Ceres, and Titan. Icy Moons Trek features seven of Saturn’s smaller icy moons. The latest addition is the new Mercury Trek portal. All of these are unified under a new project home site with supporting content. As web-based toolsets, the portals do not require users to purchase or install any software beyond current standard web browsers.

Using the portals, students and members of the public can conduct their own explorations of planetary surfaces, measuring diameters of craters, creating elevation profiles of peaks and valleys, and plotting traverse paths. The standardized Trek interface provides enhanced 3D visualization and navigation. Standard keyboard gaming controls allow the user to maneuver a first-person visualization of “flying” across planetary surfaces. User-specified bounding boxes can be used to generate STL and/or OBJ files to create physical models of surface features with 3D printers. Users can also create on-the-fly VR experiences by drawing a path across the surface using the browser interface. A QR code is then generated which is read by the user’s smart phone. Placing the phone in an inexpensive set of Google Cardboard-compatible goggles, the user then flies along their specified path in virtual reality.

The presentation will showcase the capabilities of the portals with examples from a number of planetary bodies including the Moon, Mars, Ceres, Mercury, and more.

Dr. Day works at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute where he serves as Lead for Lunar and Planetary Mapping and Modeling. He has participated in various Mars analog field studies in extreme, Mars-like environments here in Earth. He previously served as Education and Public Outreach Lead for the LCROSS and LADEE robotic missions to the Moon. In 2007 he flew on NASA’s Aurigid MAC mission to record debris from Comet Kiess burning up in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

FOR MORE INFO  and to PLAY WITH THE WEB SITE SEE:  TREK.NASA.GOV

A special note from your program director:
 
This meeting will be a historic one for EAS!  It will be the first meeting (but hopefully not the last! < ;^)  ), where Virtual Reality will be part of the program.
 
As Morpheus says in “The Matrix” “This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back… you take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I (in EAS’s case, we) show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
 
To take the red pill, you will need a “Google Cardboard” virtual reality viewer. This will convert your cell phone into a VR device. Google cardboard VR viewers are very inexpensive. They cost about $15 but you can get some for even less than that. Your program director (I love referring to myself in the third person, it makes me feel important < ;^) ) will be bringing a number of them to the meeting but probably not enough for everyone, as we will probably be having about 30 or so attendees. You can borrow one of the ones I bring or buy it from me at my cost but you will probably have more fun and be able to see more VR simulations in 3-D if you get and bring your own.
 
To find out more about “Google Cardboard” and where to get one you can Google it! The “Official” Google Cardboard viewer goes for $15 dollars on amazon.com, but you have a variety of choices with one going for as little as $6.99. For more information about how it works with your cell phone, check out the Wikipedia article about it, the Google article about it, or some other cool videos that show how it works!
 
PS Make sure to check out the Apollo 15 landing!

Special Events


Calstar:
Wednesday, September 25th – Saturday, September 28th (4 nights).
Join dozens of amateur astronomers for this low key astrophotography and observing event at Lake San Antonio, California. Visit the Calstar web site for more information. https://calstar.observers.org/


Telescope Makers Workshop

The Telescope Maker’s Workshop is one of few regularly scheduled such workshops in the world! Every Friday from 7 to 10 PM, amateur telescope makers from the bay area meet at the Chabot Space & Science Center and learn how to grind, shape, polish, and figure mirrors for reflecting telescopes, under the guidance of EAS volunteers. The workshop is free; participants pay only for the mirror blanks and grinding tools, which generally cost between $100-$300, depending on the size of the mirror. All the instruction, grinding grit, testing equipment, and camaraderie is free of charge! For more information, email Richard Ozer at pres@eastbayastro.org, or come by the workshop any Friday to see what it’s all about.


Outreach

EAS sends volunteers to schools, libraries, and anywhere curious aspiring astronomers gather. EAS volunteers bring their own equipment or borrow telescopes. Students, parents, and teachers are always thrilled to look through the telescopes and ask questions. You’ll meet all sorts of interesting people and provide a unique and inspiring experience to kids and parents who may have never looked through a telescope before. Find our next event on the calendar above.

Inquire about and request visits by e-mailing EAS Outreach Coordinator Raymond Howard at outreach@eastbayastro.org. Visit our outreach page to find out about upcoming events.


Members Only Viewing Nights (MOVN)

Once a month, we schedule a Members Only Viewing Night at the Chabot Telescope Deck for both EAS and Chabot members. This is our opportunity to look through Chabot’s historic instruments and research telescope, as well as bring our own equipment to share in a more quiet venue. The schedule for MOVN appears in the event calendar below.


Event Calendar

Header photo by EAS member Alan Roche.