Upcoming events

    • 18 Jan 2020
    • 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM (PST)
    • Natural History Museum - Balboa Park 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

    With the help of a generous donor, the 2020 SDAA Banquet will once again be held at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park on January 18th.  We’ll have an improved sound system and expanded auction and raffle items to appeal to a wider range of interests.  This should be our best event ever! 

    The evening begins at 5:30 with a cocktail hour on the museums 2nd floor, where you can wander and explore the exhibits while enjoying a selection of drinks and appetizers.  This is the perfect opportunity to visit with fellow members and share our interest in education and citizen science.  A delicious buffet dinner will again be catered by Wild Thyme and starts at 6:00. 

    This year’s guest speaker is Dr. Vishnu Reddy, Associate Professor of planetary sciences at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona.  The presentation will be held in the Nat’s theater, which has a state-of-the-art sound and video system.  The topic is titled Planetary Defense: Surveying the skies for killer asteroids" and should be very interesting and informative (see below for more details on Dr. Reddy’s presentation).

    Our annual banquet isn’t just a great time, it’s also our primary fundraiser.  Last year our outreach program continued to grow and reached new heights.  We hosted more than 100 events which were attended by well over 12,000 people!  An amazing accomplishment with a dedicated group of volunteers.  From elementary school students to seniors, we’ve promoted interest in astronomy throughout the County.  Our Outreach Director, Dave Decker, is always looking for new volunteers to keep up with the increasing demands for more and more star parties.

    With the help of local high school and college students, members Pat Boyce and Scott Dixon have continued using TARO data to contribute to the important research that TESS (and soon ETS) are doing with exo-planets.  This spring our student members, using the Boyce Astro Research Observatory (BARO) at TDS, will begin work with variable stars and speckle interferometry on close binaries. 

    We completed the first phase of our electrical system upgrade at TDS and, with the help of member Dennis Ruckle and donations from Southland Electric, Inc., phase two is well underway.

    We have a lot more to do and your participation and generosity is key to our success!  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

    Here are more details on Dr. Reddy’s presentation:

    Impacts due to near-Earth objects (~90% NEAs and ~10% comets) are one of the natural hazards that can cause the extinction of the human race, but one that can potentially be mitigated if the threat is detected with sufficient lead-time. While the probability of such an event is low, the outcome is so catastrophic that we are well justified in investing a modest effort to minimize this threat. Historically, asteroid impacts have altered the course of evolution on the Earth. The most recent significant event took place 65 million years ago when a 10-km object impacted off the Yucatan Peninsula coast, Mexico, leading to the extinction of dinosaurs and ~75% of all species. This probably provided mammals (including our ancestors) an opportunity to thrive. Within our lifetime, the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL-9) with Jupiter served as reminder to us that asteroid impacts could be a real threat to life on Earth. The probability of such impacts appears to be significantly higher than initial estimates with the recent discovery of at least five asteroid/comets impacts on Jupiter. More recently the Chelyabinsk meteor over Russia, which injured hundreds of people and damaged thousands of buildings, only reinforced the importance of detecting and characterizing small NEAs that pose a greater threat than most large NEAs discovered so far. Following the SL-9 impact, the U.S. Congress-mandated NEO searches have been very successful with over 121,000 NEOs discovered as of November 2019. But NASA will fall short of meeting the 2020 Congressional mandate    of discovering 90% of asteroids larger than 140 meters. NEO Surveillance Mission is a space-based infrared telescope that will help accelerate the discovery of hazardous asteroid and answer the question if Earth will be impacted by an asteroid larger than 140 meters in the next 100 years. The talk will give a historical overview of asteroid impacts and the state of planetary defense today.

Door Prizes - Keep checking back, we'll keep adding them as they come in
Complete List at http://sdaa.org/banquet_2017.htm
                                        • Knightware
                                          • Deep Sky Planner Software
                                        • Replogle Globes Inc.
                                          • 12" Celestial Globe
                                        • F&W Publications
                                          • Sky and Telescope Pocket Atlas
                                          • Lets Go Stargazing Flyer
                                        • Seymour Solar
                                          • Solar Eclipse Viewer
                                          • 9x12 thin film sheet
                                        • Vixen Optics-Starguy
                                          • 7x50 Binoculars
                                        • Kalmbach Astronomy Magazine
                                        • One year Astronomy Magazine

2017 SDAA Banquet Speaker

Dr. Nicholas Galitzki, UCSD Post-Doctoral Scholar in Astrophysics:
Magnetic Fields in Stellar Nurseries: Observations from a Balloon-borne Telescope"

Image result for Dr. Nicholas Galitzki

Polarized thermal emission from dust grains can be used to trace magnetic fields in the stellar nurseries of the Milky Way. The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol) flew from Antarctica in 2010 and 2012 and produced degree scale polarization maps of the Vela C molecular cloud with arcminute resolution. The results have shed insight into the role magnetic fields play in the earliest stages of star formation in our galaxy.

The success of BLASTPol has motivated a next-generation instrument, BLAST-TNG which will have 16 times the mapping speed of BLASTPol, sub-arcminute resolution, and a longer flight time. BLAST-TNG will be able to examine nearby molecular clouds and the diffuse galactic dust polarization spectrum in unprecedented detail. I will describe the scientific motivation behind the instruments as well as the overall architecture and design requirements of balloon-borne telescopes.

About the Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Galitzki began his astronomy career at the California Institute of Technology where he earned his B.S. in astrophysics in 2008. While at Caltech he was involved in two research projects, one with a lunar seismometer developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and another working with a weather monitoring station for the proposed Caltech Cornell Atacama Telescope.

After Caltech, Nicholas took a break for a couple years which included a stint as a line cook at an Italian restaurant in Boulder, CO and time as a K through 9 teacher in Seoul, South Korea. After these adventures he continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his doctorate in astrophysics in 2016. While at UPenn, his research concentrated on the development and launch of a balloon borne telescope from Antarctica and the subsequent analysis of the data from the mission that has revealed new details about the star formation process in our Milky Way.

He has now joined the cosmology group at UC, San Diego on a project that aims to build the next generation of telescopes that will examine in unprecedented detail the polarized signal from the cosmic microwave background.

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