The 2019 SDAA banquet looks to be something really special. With the help of a generous donor, we’ll be hosting the event on Saturday, January 19th, at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. The new venue seems to be a perfect fit for SDAA as we move forward with our primary goals of education and citizen science, which line up closely with those of “The Nat.”
The evening begins at 5:00 with a cocktail hour on the 2nd floor, where you can wander and explore the exhibits while enjoying a selection of Artisan Cheeses, Seasonal Fruit and Freshly Baked Sliced Breads & Gourmet Crackers.
Dinner starts at 6:00, and will be a buffet featuring:
- · Oven Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast
- · Spice Rubbed Grilled Tri Tip
- · Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
- · Roasted Squash Trio
- · Salad and Freshly Baked Focaccia
- · Brown Butter Gnocchi and roasted butternut squash (vegetarian)
- · Crème Brulee Tartlet,
- · Mexican Chocolate Mousse Shot
- · New York Cheesecake Mousse Shot
Our guest speaker is Dr. Stella Kafka, Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and the evening’s topic will be “Citizen Astronomy in the Era of Large Surveys.” As always, we’ll cap off the evening with a raffle and auction, with plenty of astronomy related gear available.
Dr. Kafka is an engaging speaker who has an outstanding scientific reputation and research track record. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Athens, in Greece, she moved to Indiana University, where she earned a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Astronomy, with a double minor in Physics and Geophysical Sciences.
After completing her Ph.D., Stella held a series of prestigious postdoctoral positions and fellowships, first at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile (CTIO, where she received the National Optical Astronomy Observatory Excellence Award), then at Caltech, and finally as a NASA Astrobiology Institute Fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. She has extensive experience gathering, reducing, and analyzing photometric and spectroscopic data; has helped commission two different instruments at the WIYN Observatory in Arizona; and written a data-reduction manual along with more than 40 refereed papers. As a member of the “Stellar Populations” working group for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST, the large professional facility that will image the whole sky every few nights starting around 2020), she contributed to the LSST science book.
Our annual banquet is not just a great time to visit with fellow members, but it’s also our primary fundraiser. This past year we’ve continued to expand our outreach to students from elementary school to college. Using TARO we’ve contributed to the important research TESS is doing with exo-planets. We completed the first phase of our electrical system upgrade and the Cruzen Observatory is nearing completion. We’d like to continue our progress and your participation is critical to our continued success.
We’ve had to raise the price to $70, but we think that’s a great value and are looking forward to seeing you there. If for some reason you can’t attend, please consider making a donation to keep SDAA moving forward!
Wishing you clear skies,
SDAA Board of Directors