Next meeting: Feb. 23!


Guest speaker Dr. Joseph Bassi will present his work on Space Weather. Space Weather? There is weather in space? The answer is yes! And just like earth weather, “space weather” can have significant effects on human activity, not only in space, but on earth as well. This talk then will talk about what space weather is, what some of these effects are, a bit about the history of space weather science, and how the US government monitors “space weather.”

Joseph P. (Joe) Bassi is an Assistant Professor of Arts and Sciences at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University/Worldwide Campus. He is also an (online) adjunct lecturer at the National Security Studies Institute, University of Texas/El Paso. Dr Bassi completed his PhD in History of Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara in June 2009. He specialized in the history of modern US science and technology. He was a senior project engineer with the Aerospace Corporation supporting national security space efforts at Vandenberg AFB from 2009-2010. During his PhD program, Dr Bassi was a Guggenheim pre-doctoral fellow in Space History at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. His recent book, “A Scientific Peak: How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science,” recently was selected as one of the best books in atmospheric sciences for 2015 (History category) by Atmospheric Sciences Librarians International.

A retired US Air Force officer with twenty-six years of active duty, he at various points in his military career served as Director of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (Guam), Professor of Strategic Studies at a DOD college, Headquarters US Air Force Action Officer and Program Element Manager, Chief of the Acquisition Meteorology Office at Air Force Space Systems Division, and Assistant Professor of Physics at the USAF Academy. After retirement from active service, Professor Bassi served as a space policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense while working for the Aerospace Corporation.

In addition to the PhD, he has graduate degrees in Meteorology from Penn State, Astrophysics from the University of Colorado, and History from the George Washington University. While at GWU, he was a NASA Space Grant Research Fellow at the Space Policy Institute, Elliot School of International Affairs. He graduated from Manhattan College in 1974 with a BS in Physics (Phi Beta Kappa) and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program.

We’re also going to have a short presentation from one of our members on their current scope work in addition to our main content.

Our meetings are at 7pm at the United Methodist Church. We’re at the Wesley Building. The address for the UMC is 1515 Fredericks Ave, San Luis Obispo. Click here for a map.

General Information on our Meetings and Public Talks:

Our meetings include time for show-and-tell, telescope setup questions, special introductory content for newcomers, socializing time, and in-depth astronomy content for our more experienced members… in short, something for everyone!

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. You do not need to be a CCAS member to attend meetings. Folks are welcome to bring astronomy equipment, books and photos to share with the group. We like to assist in answering questions or help with equipment operation techniques when needed, BUT FIRST, please contact the CCAS to discuss this, as meetings are sometimes already booked solid with topics, or, there may not be anyone at the meeting who is knowledgeable of the item you need help with.

If you have questions about bringing something to a meeting, or wish to ask specific technical questions, or about meetings in general, just let us know.






Remember Jodi Foster in the movie CONTACT? We’ve got the REAL THING!


PUBLIC ASTRONOMY TALK: Are We Alone?

Dr. Jill Tarter
Director, Center for SETI Research
SETI Institute

(This event is over.)

Aliens abound on the movie screens, but in reality we are still trying to find out if we share our universe with other sentient creatures. Intelligence is very difficult to define, and impossible to directly detect over interstellar distances. Therefore, SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is actually an attempt to detect evidence of another distant technology. If we find such evidence, we will infer the existence of intelligent technologists. For the past 50 years, the SETI community has had a very pragmatic definition of intelligence — the ability to build large transmitters! The majority of SETI searches to date have looked for radio signals coming from distant civilizations. We’ve recently begun looking for very short optical pulses as well. As our own technology matures and innovates, we may try other means of searching, and we will certainly improve upon the searches that we are already conducting.

Guiseppi Cocconi and Philip Morrison ended their 1959 seminal paper on SETI with the statement, “The probability of success is difficult to estimate; but if we never search, the chance of success is zero.” This remains true today! At the SETI Institute we are trying to get the whole world actively involved in the search; in addition to donating their spare CPU cycles, we want to enlist Earthlings’ minds and eyes as pattern recognition tools and, for those who are technically proficient, their skills at signal processing and code development to improve and expand the searching we can do.

Jill Tarter is Director, Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Tarter’s work has brought her wide recognition in the scientific community, including two Public Service Medals from NASA. In 2004 Time Magazine named her one of the Time 100 most influential people in the world. Tarter was one of three TED prize-winners in 2009, and was a recipient of the Silicon Valley Women of Influence 2010 Award. In the movie CONTACT, Jodi Foster plays the character of Ellie based upon Jill’s career as a radio astronomer.

http://www.facebook.com/theforumatpoly
http://theforumatpoly.com/talks/jilltarter

This event is sponsored by The Forum, the Cal Poly Astronomical Society, the Central Coast Astronomical Society, and CESaME (the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Math Education).






“Einstein for Everyone” with Guest Speaker Dr. Robert Piccioni


Our next CCAS meeting is Thursday, October 28th, 2010 from 7-9 PM. Guest Speaker Dr. Robert Piccioni, who is an expert on Einstein and cosmology.

Speaker: Dr. Robert Piccioni (pronounced “Pitch-O-knee”)

Talk Title: “Einstein for Everyone”

Click here to download the flyer. (Feel free to post the info for others to view!)

Abstract: How did a young rebel, who seemed doomed to fail, overcome rejection to become the world’s most famous scientist? In plain English, what do his theories mean? And how does Einstein impact our lives through DVDs, GPS, CCD imaging and digital cameras, computers, and smarter energy?

Biography: Robert graduated from Caltech, has a Ph.D. in high-energy physics from Stanford University, and was on the research faculty of Harvard University. He is an expert on Einstein’s theories and cosmology. Robert ran eight high-tech companies and holds patents in medical equipment, microelectronics, and smart energy. Since “retiring”, Robert’s mission is making science accessible. He is “Teacher of the Year” at the Osher Institute and hosts the online radio show “Guide to the Cosmos”. Robert is the author of two books that won national and international competitions for “Best Popular Science Book of the Year”: Everyone’s Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe explores the exciting discoveries of modern astronomy, physics, and cosmology; and Can Life Be Merely An Accident? examines the many exacting requirements for life and how extraordinarily improbable it is that they occurred by random chance.

LOCATION: United Methodist Church at 1515 Fredericks in San Luis Obispo. Click here for a map.

CCAS meetings are free, friendly and informal. Members sometimes share photos and information on all kinds of subjects. Occasionally there are special guest speakers and presentations on events or activities in the area. We also partner with Cuesta College faculty and students, so there can be an interesting variation of discussion topics, sometimes very light in content and sometimes moderately heavy in technical information.

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. You do not need to be a CCAS member to attend meetings. Folks are welcome to bring astronomy equipment, books and photos to share with the group. We like to assist in answering questions or help with equipment operation techniques when needed, BUT we must first be aware of the situation. If you wish to bring a telescope or want to discuss the operation of your telescope, FIRST, please contact the CCAS to discuss this, as meetings are sometimes already booked solid with topics, or, there may not be anyone at the meeting who is knowledgeable of the item you need help with.

If you have questions about bringing something to a meeting, or wish to ask specific technical questions, or about meetings in general, just let us know.






Guest Speaker and Movie Night!


Our next CCAS meeting is Thursday, September 23, 2010 from 7-9 PM. Guest Speaker and Movie Night!

We’ll be watching one of Aurora’s favorite astronomy movies (45 min.) as well as being treated to a short Guest Speaker topic. Popcorn and laughs provided – you bring yourself and a friend.

LOCATION: United Methodist Church at 1515 Fredericks in San Luis Obispo.  Click here for a map.

CCAS meetings are free, friendly and informal. Members sometimes share photos and information on all kinds of subjects. Occasionally there are special guest speakers and presentations on events or activities in the area. We also partner with Cuesta College faculty and students, so there can be an interesting variation of discussion topics, sometimes very light in content and sometimes moderately heavy in technical information.

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. You do not need to be a CCAS member to attend meetings. Folks are welcome to bring astronomy equipment, books and photos to share with the group. We like to assist in answering questions or help with equipment operation techniques when needed, BUT we must first be aware of the situation. If you wish to bring a telescope or want to discuss the operation of your telescope, FIRST, please contact the CCAS to discuss this, as meetings are sometimes already booked solid with topics, or, there may not be anyone at the meeting who is knowledgeable of the item you need help with.

If you have questions about bringing something to a meeting, or wish to ask specific technical questions, or about meetings in general, just let us know.