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, May 21st, 2022
Our meeting begins promptly at 7:00 P.M.

Meetings are held in Virtual Space

Our guest speaker for the evening is Dr. Ruslan Belikov, NASA Ames Research Center
 
Direct Imaging of Exoplanets

The exoplanets field has been revolutionizing astronomy over the past 20+ years and shows no signs of stopping. The next big wave of exoplanet science may come from direct imaging of exoplanets. Several non-habitable exoplanets have already been imaged from the ground and NASA’s next two flagship missions (Roman Space Telescope and the tentatively called “LuvEx” mission) will directly image many more, as well as take their spectra.

One of the “holy grail” goals of the field is the detection and characterization of “Earth 2.0”, i.e. a rocky planet beyond the Solar System with an atmosphere capable of supporting life, and perhaps showing signs of life. The driving goal of the LuvEx mission mentioned above is to detect and characterize 25 such planets. While this mission is being developed (launch is scheduled for the first half of 2040s), several other instruments and projects will be bringing us closer to the goal of directly imaging Earth 2.0. This includes the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) on the ground, which are expected to directly image nearby potentially habitable planet late this decade in thermal infrared light, and the Roman Space Telescope, which will directly image large planets. In addition, the Roman Space Telescope will carry an experimental technology we developed called “Multi-Star Wavefront Control” (MSWC) to directly image planets in binary star systems, such as Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to the Sun. The Alpha Centauri system is so unusually close to the Sun that Roman may be sensitive to large potentially habitable planets around one of the Sun-like stars in that system (if such planets exist there).

The NASA Exoplanet Technologies lab is among several groups advancing the technology to make this exciting science possible. In particular, we have developed the MSWC method mentioned above to directly image planets in binary star systems, and several other methods to advance the direct imaging capabilities of future direct imaging missions. I will describe the current challenges and opportunities in this exciting field, as well as the work we are doing to enable an exciting future of discovery and finding life beyond the Solar System.

Bio: Ruslan Belikov holds a BSE from Princeton, a Ph.D. from Stanford, and has over a decade of experience in developing technologies and mission concepts to directly image exoplanets, especially potentially habitable ones. He is currently leading the Exoplanet Technologies research group at NASA Ames, which has demonstrated several state of the art milestones in high contrast imaging. In addition, Belikov and his team have been pioneering and advancing technologies to suppress starlight in multi-star systems such as Alpha Centauri to enable direct imaging of exoplanets there. Belikov has also been developing a small space telescope mission to directly image planets around Alpha Centauri. This work has been covered or mentioned by many media outlets including the Scientific American, NYtimes, Huffington Post, and others. Belikov has also contributed to several space telescope mission studies, including Roman, HabEx, LUVOIR, and served on the NASA Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) executive committee, as well as on the Astrophysics 2020 decadal survey panel on Electromagnetic Observations from Space. In addition, Ruslan is an amateur astronomer who enjoys visual observing as well as astrophotography with his 10” Meade LX200 telescope, especially lucky imaging of planets.

 
This talk will be available live and publicly at:
EAS Members will get a private Zoom invitation by Email

Telescope Makers’ Workship

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

In person events are more limited because of COVID, but are being scheduled for schools and other community institutions. Contact us also 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.

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)

[In person events are more limited than in the past because of COVID, visit http://www.chabotspace.org for virtual telescope viewing events]

Once a quarter, 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 will appear in the event calendar below.


Barcroft High Altitude Star Party

Reservations for the Eastbay Astronomical Society’s Barcroft High-Altitude Star Party are now open to members of both the EAS and Tri-Valley Stargazer’s clubs. This year’s event will be held from Saturday August 27 through Friday September 2nd (with departure by noon of Friday September 2nd). That’s six nights.

Before sending payments for reservations ($65 per night, per person), even if you’ve been there before, please contact Don Saito FIRST (barcroft@eastbayastro.org) to ensure the dates you wish to attend are available. You will also be asked to read the Barcroft Writeup, as it provides the information you’ll need to have a safe, comfortable stay, and what is expected of guests to this University of California research facility.

You must also review and sign the White Mountains Research Center COVID Terms and Conditions.  You can scan and email the signed copy to barcroft@eastbayastro.org. You may also mail the signed document to EAS, PO Box 18635, Oakland, CA, 94619-0635

So, four steps to apply:

1.  Email photo evidence of Covid-19 vaccination/booster to barcroft@eastbatastro.org

2.  Attest in writing/email that you read the current Barcroft Writeup and COVID Terms.

3.  Email Don Saito at the above address to check reservation availability and make reservation.

4.  Pay the number of days reserved via PayPal or check/snailmail.

Space at Barcroft is limited to a maximum of 12 people per day, so to ensure you get the days you want, make your reservations early.

Barcroft is one the premier amateur astronomy view sites in the world, and it’s slightly less than a day’s drive from the Bay Area to its location in the White Mountains.


 

Nights reserved
Dates reserved (list by range)




Spring Calstar

Spring Calstar is schedule for April 28 – May 1st at Lake San Antonio. For more information visit https://calstar.observers.org/


GSSP 2022

The 2022 Golden State Star Party is accepting registrations. This year’s event will once again be held at Frosty Acres Ranch in Adin, CA. The dates this year are June 29 – July 3rd (four nights). For more information visit http://goldenstatestarparty.org


Event Calendar

Header photo by EAS member Alan Roche.