Program Meeting

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

Program meetings may also be held via Zoom, or as hybrid in-person/Zoom meetings. You can register in advance for the next Zoom 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.

April 20, 2022 Program Meeting

Speaker: Kalind Carpenter Topic: Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS) Kalind is a Robotics Engineer in the robotic Vehicles and Manipulators group (347B) at JPL. The lab he works in focuses on rapid technology development and end effectors specifically tailored to gripping and mobility. Current work includes Principal Investigator of the Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS), an adaptable mobility capability aimed to traverse through the plume vent crevasses on Enceladus…

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Future Program Meeting

Speaker: Allan Rahill Topic: Weather Forecasts. Postponed from March 2022. Future date TBD. The program meeting speaker is Allan Rahill, a meteorologist who will discuss the weather forecasts behind many of the forecast tools we amateurs use. In 2000, Allan Rahill, a meteorologist at the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) and amateur astronomer, created a forecast processing step that took data from CMC’s Global Element Multi-scale (GEM) forecast model…

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March 16, 2022 Program Meeting

Speaker: Mike Bertin Topic: Galileo’s Finger: The Birth and Death of Galileo History of the famous “Father of Modern Science” with obscure details most amateurs are not familiar with. Mike Bertin is a senior docent at Palomar Observatory and has spoken on Galileo, Palomar Observatory, and George Hale in numerous venues. He holds a BS in Physics from M.I.T and a PhD in nuclear physics from Rutgers. You…

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January 19, 2022 Program Meeting

Speaker: Zoltan Levay Topic: Creating the Pillars: Visualizing Hubble’s Colorful Universe Zoltan G. (Zolt) Levay was Imaging Group Lead in the Office of Public Outreach at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. Since 1993 he was primarily responsible for producing publicly accessible images from Hubble Space Telescope data to illustrate Hubble’s science discoveries. He is a member of the Hubble Heritage Team, a grant-funded program within STScI…

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November 17, 2021 Program Meeting

Topic: SDAA Elections and Gadget Night Bring your astronomy-related or imaging garage-built objects, tools, ideas, new hardware, software to share with SDAA on our traditional Gadget Night – only this year via ZOOM. This includes astro-images, views of your home or TDS observatories, videos of telescope equipment, software and neat techniques. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, program meetings are currently being held via Zoom. You can register in…

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October 20, 2021 Program Meeting

Speaker: Cecilia Sanders, California Institute of Technology Topic: You’ll Know It When You See It:  Defining, Describing and Detecting Life in the Universe SDAA’s October speaker is Caltech graduate student Cecilia Sanders, a Ph.D. candidate in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.  She will give a presentation titled “You’ll Know It When You See It:  Defining, Describing and Detecting Life in the Universe.” Her descriptions of what evidence…

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September 15, 2021 Program Meeting

Speaker: Dr. David A. Williams, Arizona State University Topic: The Psyche Mission Our September speaker is Dr. David A. Williams, Ph.D., Research Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and the Co-Investigator and Deputy Imager lead for the NASA Psyche Mission. Dr. Williams is the Director of the Ronald Greeley Center for Planetary Studies, the NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility at ASU. He is…

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August 18, 2021 Program Meeting

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…

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July 21, 2021 Program Meeting

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…

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