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Archive for 2010

Catching Shadows: Kepler’s Search for New Worlds

Dr. Natalie BatalhaNovember 17, 2010

Dr. Natalie Batalha (San Jose State University)

Listen (mp3 file, 16.9 MB)

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, launched in March 2009, is a mission designed to survey a slice of the Milky Way Galaxy to identify planets orbiting other stars. Kepler has the advantage that it can find planets as small as Earth in or near the habitable zone of each star. Dr. Batalha introduces the quest for planets elsewhere, describes the techniques used by the Kepler team, and shares some of the mission discoveries to date.

 

Astronomy Workshop held at Yosemite

October 2010 – Thirty-five interpreters from national, regional and state parks, nature centers, and outdoor education centers around the U.S. attended a four-day astronomy interpretation workshop at Yosemite National Park, October 8-11, 2010.

 

The Ultimate Fate of the Solar System (and the Music of the Spheres)

Dr. Gregory LaughlinOctober 20, 2010

Dr. Gregory Laughlin (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Listen (mp3 file, 19.1 MB)

The long-term fate of the planets in our Solar System has intrigued astronomers and mathematicians for over 300 years. Although the planetary orbits are often held up as a model of clockwork regularity, the Solar System is in truth an extremely complex and chaotic system. Dr. Laughlin explains how recent advances in computing technology have finally given us a solution to the problem. He also shows how the delicate gravitational interplay between the planets can be interpreted as a true “music of the spheres”, and auditions the unsettling compositions that can result in the event that the planetary orbits go haywire in the extremely distant future.

 

2009 ASP Annual Report

2009 Annual Report (pdf, 2.3 MB)

 

2010 Bok Award Recipients Announced

June 2010 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), in partnership with the American Astronomical Society (AAS), has presented the annual Priscilla and Bart Bok Awards to two high-school seniors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held May 9 to 14 in San Jose, California.  More »

 

Hearts of Darkness: Black Holes in Space

Dr. Alex FilippenkoMay 19, 2010

Dr. Alex Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley)

Listen (mp3 file, 26.5 MB)

Black holes are regions of space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape! No longer confined to the imaginations of science-fiction writers and theoretical physicists, black holes have recently been discovered in large numbers by observational astronomers. Learn about the remarkable properties of these bizarre objects from one of the finest explainers in the field of astronomy.

 

2010 ASP Award Recipients Announced

April 2010 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) announces the winners of its 2010 awards for excellence in astronomy research and education. Full Press Release.

 

A Scientist Looks at ‘Doomsday 2012′ and the Rise of Cosmophobia

Dr. David MorrisonApril 21, 2010

Dr. David Morrison (NASA Lunar Science Institute & SETI Institute)

Listen (mp3 file, 19.8 MB)

Many people have heard the rumors that the world will end in 2012 — and that some astronomical event or alignment is to blame. Dr. Morrison discusses the public fears and how they have been enflamed by the media. He sets our minds at ease, showing why there is no reason to worry more in 2012 than any other year.

 

2010 Bruce Medal Recipient Announced

March 2010 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific announces that Dr. Gerry Neugebauer has been awarded the 2010 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in astronomy.  More »

 

The Many Mysteries of Antimatter

Dr. Helen QuinnMarch 10, 2010

Dr. Helen Quinn (Stanford University)

Listen (mp3 file, 17.7 MB)

Antimatter is just like matter with all its properties reversed. Scientists think there may have been equal amount of matter and antimatter in the early universe, and yet today we have lots of matter and very little antimatter. How and when that imbalance developed is one of the great mysteries in understanding the underlying properties of the universe. Dr. Quinn, Professor of Physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator and co-author of a popular book on antimatter, discusses the history of our understanding of antimatter and how we use the little bit of antimatter around today to study some of the highest energy processes among the stars and galaxies. (This talk is a bit more technical than our usual lectures, but well worth exploring if you are interested in some of the most exciting frontiers of physics.)