San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA) sponsors speakers on a wide range of astronomy topics on the third Wednesday of every month at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitors Center. The Program meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Each attendee receives one free door prize ticket. After announcements and a small amount of business, the audience is treated to the featured presentation. At the close of the meeting the door prizes are presented. The event is open to the public. The Mission Trails Regional Park Visitors Center is at One Fr. Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego CA 92119. Call the park at 619-668-3281 for more information or visit http://www.mtrp.org.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, program meetings are currently being held via Zoom. You can register in advance for the next meeting at the following link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Please contact Dave Wood if you have an questions, comments, or ideas for the Program Meetings.
Meetings since July 2020 are being archived on the SDAA YouTube page.
Speaker: Dr. Julie Castillo-Rogez, JPL planetary scientist Topic: NASA Near Earth Object Missions
Our August speaker is Dr. Julie Castillo-Rogez, a JPL planetary scientist specializing in water-rich objects from a modeling and experimental perspectives applied to the formulation, design, and planning of planetary missions. She is the principal science investigator at JPL for the NEA Scout mission.
Talk summary: NASA Near Earth Object Missions ongoing and in development and NEA Scout, a planned …
Speaker: Steve Murray – NASA Solar System Ambassador Topic: New Concepts in Astrobiology (Biosignature and Tech Signature Methods)
Abstract: Dr. Murray discusses new techniques for finding signatures of exoplanet life
An SDAA member and popular speaker, Steve Murray, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, has been a space enthusiast since the Apollo era, and counted several Space Shuttle astronauts as friends during his years flying in Navy fighters. His interests in …
Speaker: Dr. Sue Smrekar – JPL Rocky Planet Geoscientist Topic: Venus: Earth’s Evil Twin or Just Misunderstood?
Abstract: Venus is becoming more attractive to scientists as technology improves for sending spacecraft to survive orbit and even descend to the surface. From orbiters to balloons, we will talk about the great science that can be done, how we can do it and what we hope to learn.
You can register in …
Speaker: Dr. Michael Ressler – Project Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope
Topic: James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope will continue to revolutionize our study of the cosmos. Slated for launch in late 2021, Webb will look deeper than either the Hubble or Spitzer Space Telescopes at infrared wavelengths. This talk will describe Webb as a whole, with a focus on the Mid-Infrared Instrument —— a partnership between …
Speakers: Dr. Xiaohui Fan, Dr. Jinyi Yang, Dr. Feige Wang
Topic: The Earliest Supermassive Black Holes in the Universe
A trio of astronomers from the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory present new results: Regents’ Professor Xiaohui Fan “Discovery of the brightest quasar in the early universe”, Strittmatter Fellow Dr. Jinyi Yang “Pōniuāʻena”, the first known billion solar mass black hole at reionization”, and NASA Hubble Fellow Dr. Feige Wang …
Speaker: Dr. Daniel Apai – Steward Observatory
Topic: Exoplanets / Astrobiology
Dr. Daniel Apai is a recent recipient of NASA’s ICAR Astrobiology grant. This is an inaugural effort focusing on the challenging questions in astrobiology.
Daniel’s research focuses on exoplanets, with a particular emphasis on habitable planets and planetary systems. Heleads large programs to understand the formation of habitable planetary systems EOS, search for giant and earth-likeexoplanets Scorpion Survey, Project …
Speaker: Jimmy Lilly – Steward Observatory
Topic: Identifying Prestellar Cores in Molecular Clouds
Jimmy Lilly was a 2019-2020 Lucas Scholarship recipient and majored in Astronomy / Physics. He graduated in May 2020. He works with Yancy Shirley from the Department of Astronomy on “Characterizing Physical Properties Associated with Hierarchical Structure in Star-Forming Regions.”
Speaker: Maria Galloway-Sprietsma – Steward Observatory
Topic: Pulsar Timing
Maria Galloway-Sprietsma is a Lucas Scholarship recipient 2020-2021. She is working with Dr. Yancy Shirley, Steward Observatory on a study of deuterated ammonia (NH2D) in star-forming region Cepheus L1251. They hope to explore the possibilities of using deuterated ammonia as a dense gas tracer, and believe that it can tell them more about the chemical and structural evolution of the gaseous …
Dr. Alex Ji: The First Stars
Dr. Alex Ji is a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Observatories. Alex is a near-field cosmologist, studying nearby stars and galaxies to understand the first stars and galaxies, the origin of the elements, and the history of the Milky Way. Alex’s main lockdown activity has been eating Trader Joe’s snacks.