Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Schmoozing with Mars 7.23.18

Hello again Science fans,

As we journey around the sun, our orbit is not a perfect circle. Nor are the orbits of any of the other planets. They are all somewhat elliptical. As a result, depending on where we are in our orbit relative to other planets, sometimes we get closer to them than other times. Now is one of those times.

On July 31, Earth will be closer to Mars than it has been in over a decade, less than 36 million miles. Get a great view of the Red Planet by attending one of the viewing parties being held by many of the local Astronomy Clubs. Events are also planned at  Chabot Space and Science Center. While July 31 is THE day, given the distances involved, any day near the end of July will work.

There are  eclipses and meteor showers coming up this summer too. The “Great American Eclipse” last August was fantastic, but the one this year will be of much longer. Unfortunately for us it won’t be visible in the US.

There are lots of astronomy-related talks and events happening around the area and here are three picks:

  1. 10 Years of Cosmic Fireworks with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope – Tuesday 7:30 PM at SLAC in Menlo Park
  2. Astronomy Talk: Flares and Fireworks from Black Holes – Saturday 7:30 PM in San Jose
  3. Movie Night on Mt. Tam: ‘Apollo 13’ – Saturday 7:30 PM in Mill Valley

If you’ve been a long time reader of the Schmooze, you know we’re big fans of Discover Street Tours. Robin Marks offers walking tours of San Francisco with a science flavor. She’s doing a rare  open-to-the-public tour next Saturday. If you look at the picture that accompanies the listing, you’ll see me being shown a fault! Schmooze readers get a discount (see the link for details).

Do you have a 9th – 11th grader (during Spring 2018) at home who is in the top 10% of their school academic score ranking? Are they interested in science and/or engineering? Take a look at the  Young Elite Award competition. Application deadline is August 1.

Science is always evolving as new discoveries shed new light on things we took for granted. Here’s a study that changes our  understanding of human history!

Do you like California wines? You might be surprised to  find what’s in them!

Have a great week in Science!

Bob Siederer

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