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Most of our events happen at the Chabot Space and Science Center. Get directions here.
Next General Meeting
The history of star maps evolved into several pathways that have relevance for today’s amateur astronomer. Ancient views of the sky had mapping traditions that used both a geocentric orientation (where the stars and constellations were pictured as they were seen from the Earth) and an external orientation (where they were right to left reversed as seen from the outside of a celestial globe carved in marble). The development of the telescope favored a geocentric view, as well as a switch in the celestial grid from a longitude/latitude perspective to one that spoke about right ascension/declination. Many ancient books included volvelles, which were analog computers on paper that attempted to reproduce some of the features of 3-dimensional astrolabes on 2-dimensional pages in a book. These led to our modern planispheres. Early atlases pictured beautiful constellations using mythological and scientific themes that gradually grew to over 100 figures, but these were reduced in number by an international society to 88 constellation areas of the sky, and the images gradually disappeared (although line drawings persist in modern astronomy magazines). Dr. Kanas will trace the history of these and other developments that we take for granted as amateur astronomers.
Nick Kanas has been a member of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers since 1977, serving as a Board member in the early 1980s. He has been an amateur astronomer since childhood. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (London). He has collected antiquarian celestial maps for over 35 years and has given talks on celestial cartography to amateur and professional groups, including the Adler Planetarium; the Lick Observatory; the California Academy of Sciences; and annual meetings of the International Conference on the History of Cartography, the Society for the History of Astronomy, and the Flamsteed Astronomical Society in Greenwich, U.K. He has published articles on celestial cartography in magazines and journals, such as Sky and Telescope, Imago Mundi, and the Journal of the International Map Collectors Society. He has written two celestial map-related books: Solar System Maps: From Antiquity to the Space Age, and Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography, the 3 rd edition of which was published in 2019. He also has published three science fiction novels. As a UCSF Professor of Psychiatry, he was a NASA-funded Principal Investigator studying psychosocial issues involving astronauts and cosmonauts in space. He is the co-author of the textbook Space Psychology and Psychiatry (now in its 2 nd edition), and more recently the author of Humans in Space: The Psychological Hurdles. Both books were given Life Science Book Awards from the International Academy of Astronautics.
[In person events are on hold because of COVID, contact us for possible virtual events, or visit http://www.chabotspace.org for scheduled public virtual telescope viewing events]
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.
Members Only Viewing Nights (MOVN)
[In person events are on hold because of COVID, visit http://www.chabotspace.org for virtual telescope viewing events]
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.
Barcroft High Altitude Star Party
We’re sorry. Because of COVID-19, EAS has cancelled the 2021 Barcroft High-Altitude Star Party. We’ll try again in 2022.
Header photo by EAS member Alan Roche.