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Most of our events happen at the Chabot Space and Science Center. Get directions here.
Next General Meeting
Our Speaker is Eric Nielsen, Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University
What are Brown Dwarfs?
Giant planets can be as large as 13 times the mass of Jupiter, while the lowest mass stars are about 80 times the mass of Jupiter. In between are objects called “brown dwarfs”, too massive to be called planets, but not massive enough to burn hydrogen and shine like stars. Since 1994, a few thousand brown dwarfs have been observed in close to us in the galaxy. But what are they? Are they more like half-pint cousins of stars, or more like overgrown planets? This lecture will explain how we observe and study brown dwarfs, and what we have learned about them. It will describe clues to their nature from their composition and their evolution over time, and the insights these new objects give us into how stars and planets are born.
Eric Nielsen is a Research Scientist in the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University. He obtained his PhD in Astronomy at the University of Arizona, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the SETI Institute. His research interests include searches for exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and the demographics of giant planets. He has worked on number of planet-hunting surveys, trying to directly image giant planets around young nearby stars, including the ongoing Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) using the Gemini-South Telescope in Chile. This work includes the discovery of 51 Eridani b, a planet two-and-a-half times more massive than Jupiter. Nielsen is working to apply lessons learned from these ground-based surveys to future space-based missions that will image planets similar to Jupiter and Earth orbiting distant stars.
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 email@example.com, or come by the workshop any Friday to see what it’s all about.
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)
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.
Header photo by EAS member Alan Roche.