Tag archives: space

Space: The Final Frontier
By Kim Crail   |   October 4, 2022

Local astronomy instructor and former NASA scientist Tom Farr will be teaching kids and families all about space. We will be learning about the sun and its eight planets (plus Pluto!), including our own planet Earth. We’ll also cover the leftovers of the solar system such as asteroids, meteors, and comets before traveling beyond our […]

Astronomy on Tap Is On!
By Joanne Calitri   |   September 13, 2022

Tune in you star trekkers, gazers, and galaxy aficionados, Las Cumbres Observatory’s (LCO) Astronomy on Tap is back on the planet every month in a new location: the outside patio at M Special Taproom on State Street. The new venue allows for the Astro on Tap monthlies to be an all-ages event, while still be […]

Summer Triangle Shines from Milky Way
By Scott Craig   |   August 23, 2022

This month’s public viewing of the stars will focus on several exotic Messier objects as the summer Milky Way stretches across the sky from the northeast to the southwest. The free viewing on Friday, August 19, begins at sunset and lasts several hours at the Westmont Observatory. Face coverings are required at the event, which […]

Grant Expands Search for Dark Matter
By Scott Craig   |   August 16, 2022

A Westmont researcher has won a grant to further his search for evidence of the presence of mysterious dark matter. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $200,000 grant to Ben Carlson, Westmont assistant professor of physics, to continue his work on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, a […]

Stellar Night for Stargazers
By Scott Craig   |   June 21, 2022

Though the May gray wiped out last month’s public viewing, officials are counting their lucky stars and hoping for a break from June gloom for the event on Friday, June 17, at the Westmont Observatory. The free gathering, held in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit, begins after sunset and lasts several hours. In […]

New EHT Image of Sagittarius A*
By Joanne Calitri   |   June 7, 2022

Location: Earth. Star-date 75825.4 (May 12, 2022): the long suspected supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is confirmed by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team via millimeter-wave radio telescopes. Prior evidence and other phenomenon of Sgr A* was noted by astronomer Harlow Shapley in 1918, […]

Weird Science: Teens Explore Physics
By Scott Craig   |   May 31, 2022

Nearly 40 local high school students enrolled in an AP physics course visited Westmont on May 16 for a hands-on exploration into how the universe behaves. The event, Understanding Physics from Galaxies to Particles, was led by Ben Carlson, Westmont assistant professor of physics. “We are asking the fundamental questions: What is the universe made […]

Planetary Analogs: Or Where on Earth is Mars?
By Tom Farr   |   May 24, 2022

Now that it’s spring and we’re starting to travel again, our local deserts have become popular nearby attractions. Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and the Mojave Desert are at their best this time of year and you might even catch some wildflowers if they got enough rain. At NASA, in addition to enjoying seasonal wildflowers, we […]

Stargazers to Gather to Use Powerful Keck Telescope 
By Scott Craig   |   April 19, 2022

The Westmont Observatory opens its doors to the public Friday, April 15, beginning at 7 pm and lasting several hours. Face coverings will be required at the event. Westmont hosts a free, public viewing on the third Friday of every month. Along with the college’s powerful Keck Telescope, members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit […]

Montecito Businessman Marty Allen is Down to Earth!
By Richard Mineards   |   April 12, 2022

After soaring into the heavens last week aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket from a spaceport in Van Horn, Texas, the former CEO of California Closets and Party America reached an altitude of 350,000 feet, or about 66 miles, above our planet, flying above the Kármán line, which is defined as the boundary between Earth’s […]

Marty Allen Going Blue
By Richard Mineards   |   March 22, 2022

Montecito resident Marty Allen, often described as an “angel investor,” is going to Heaven! The former CEO of Party America and the California Closet Company is flying on Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin’s upcoming NS-20 flight on March 23 along with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, 28. The mission, the fourth human flight […]

Observatory Opens with Eye to the Sky
By Scott Craig   |   March 17, 2022

The Westmont Observatory opens to the public Friday, March 18, beginning at 7 pm and lasting several hours. Face coverings will be required at the event. Due to the pandemic, this is the first time in two years the observatory has been open to the public.  Westmont hosts a free, public viewing on the third […]

Of Space…
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 11, 2022

“Blasting off” is an expression which, only in recent years, has come to have a very special meaning. We are no longer talking about fireworks or even firearms, but about sending live human beings into what were once called “The Heavens” (as if there were more than one Heaven) but have now been relegated to […]

How Old is That Rock?
By Tom Farr   |   September 14, 2021

On my first geological field trip as a new geology major at Caltech, I was amazed as we drove out into the Mojave Desert on Interstate 15 when my professor, who was driving, would point through the window at a distant rock outcropping and say: “There’s a Miocene (five to 20 million years of age) […]

How We Study Earth and Other Planets from Space
By Tom Farr   |   June 3, 2021

Late the other night my friend Joan called from the Cachuma Lake campground and asked excitedly what the string of lights was that had just tracked across their sky. Was it a UFO? Luckily, I had heard about Elon Musk’s latest launch of about 60 small satellites as part of Starlink, a satellite-based internet. I […]

How Planetary Exploration is Helping Understand Earth a Bit Better
By Tom Farr   |   May 6, 2021

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.”— TS Eliot After surveying our solar system, as well as thousands of others beyond our own, we can now look back at our home planet with a new perspective, that […]

Hundreds of SB Residents Tell Governor: No! on Das Williams for Coastal Commission
By Montecito Journal   |   April 16, 2021

We are deeply dismayed to learn that Das Williams is seeking an appointment to the California Coastal Commission for the Central Coast. A controversial supervisor synonymous with Santa Barbara’s much-contested cannabis ordinance, Williams was barely able to retain his position in 2020 (even with the political and financial muscle of the cannabis industry). Indeed, there […]

Beyond Our Solar System
By Tom Farr   |   April 15, 2021

Twenty years ago, there would have been nothing to write about under this topic. There were no known planets circling stars beyond our own. But in 2009 a revolution happened with NASA’s launch of the Kepler telescope. Within a few years, Kepler had found so many planets that scientists realized that there were more planets […]

Our Solar System: Uranus and Neptune
By Tom Farr   |   March 11, 2021

Uranus and Neptune, the twin ice giants of the solar system, are so far out there that they’ve only been visited once by Voyager 2 in 1986 and 1989. They’re so far away that light from the Sun takes two-and-a half hours to reach Uranus and over four hours to touch Neptune. For those reasons, […]

Our Solar System: Saturn
By Tom Farr   |   February 18, 2021

30 June 2004, 7:30 pm. The VIP room at JPL is quiet as we all watch a thin line trace horizontally across the big screen at the front of the room. It’s the radio signal from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it speeds toward Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) after seven years in transit. JPL invites some […]