Tag archives: space

Life Emerged Just Once?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 11, 2024

Star Trek is my religion. I grew up imagining a future of contact with alien beings who we could learn from. Back in 1950 physicist Enrico Fermi asked, “But where is everybody?”  If our galaxy is teeming with planets and our planet is nothing special, why haven’t we encountered any evidence of aliens? We have […]

Breaking into the Vault of Heaven (O.M.G.)
By Jeff Wing   |   May 28, 2024

The human race can just get over itself now. On the other hand we are the exalted inventors of the Lunar Lander and Franco-American Spaghetti-Os™. This is the tormenting dichotomy of our species. We’re complicated, embarrassed, self-regarding busybodies who have daubed the whole of our vast canvas with the overexcited brushstrokes of a sugared-up preschooler, […]

Las Cumbres Observatory 19th Anniversary Announced
By Joanne A Calitri   |   April 30, 2024

Attention all space cowboys and star-trekking galaxy women!  On Star Date 77800.4, Thursday, May 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) is inviting the public to its 10-year anniversary celebration at its main headquarters in Goleta. The event commemorates ten years of operating their global telescope network. This is a great opportunity […]

Stargazers to See Red Giant
By Scott Craig   |   April 23, 2024

Less than two weeks after everyone’s attention was focused on the solar eclipse, the Westmont Observatory focuses on lunar craters and a red giant Friday, April 19, beginning after sunset at 7:30 pm and lasting several hours. The observatory, home to the powerful Keck Telescope, opens to the public every third Friday of the month […]

Viewing Features Jupiter, Orion Nebula
By Scott Craig   |   March 19, 2024

Jupiter and the Great Orion Nebula, M42, will be part of this month’s free stargazing event Friday, March 15, beginning about 6 pm and lasting several hours at the Westmont Observatory. Along with Westmont’s powerful Keck Telescope, members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Society bring their own telescopes to share with the public. Views of […]

Winter Stargazing at the ‘Mont
By Scott Craig   |   December 19, 2023

Bundle up and head to the Westmont Observatory, which opens to the public for its free, monthly Stargazing event Friday, December 15, beginning at sunset and lasting several hours. Saturn and many other celestial delights will be targeted by Westmont’s powerful Keck Telescope and the other scopes owned by members of the Santa Barbara Astronomical […]

Gas Giants Headline Star Party
By Scott Craig   |   October 24, 2023

On the heels of Saturday’s annual solar eclipse, the Westmont Observatory opens to the public with the two gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, making an appearance in the night sky Friday, October 20, beginning at sunset and lasting several hours. This month’s free stargazing event features the college’s powerful Keck Telescope, a computer-controlled 24-inch reflector, […]

Moon Glance
By Richard Mineards   |   August 15, 2023

The lunar-tics were out in force when bubbly Brenda Blalock hosted a two-hour trip aboard the 70-foot cruiser Azure Seas to catch the rare SuperMoon, when the planet is at its nearest point to Earth due to its elliptical orbit, creating an awe-inspiring sight. Thirty friends turned out for the fun coastal fête launching from […]

Stargazing Features Great Nebula
By Scott Craig   |   February 21, 2023

This month’s Stargazing at the Westmont Observatory features a diverse celestial menu of planets, Messier objects, open clusters, and double stars on Friday, Feb. 17, beginning about 6 pm and lasting for several hours. The observatory, home of the powerful Keck Telescope, is open to the public every third Friday of the month and held […]

A Comet Occurrence 50,000 Years in the Making
By Joanne A Calitri   |   February 7, 2023

Get your popcorn and astronaut ice cream ready for some rare astral entertainment. The famous Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF – at its peak February 1 and 2 – can be viewed at NNE, 23 to 40 degrees above the horizon, from 9 pm to sunrise, with amateur telescopes and possibly your 10x binoculars. The significance […]

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 A 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 A 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 […]