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The next PAS meeting is Friday July 11, 2014

7:30 pm, Room 5015, Foothill College

Featuring Dr. Richard McCray, UC Berkeley

"Supernova 1987A"

"Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud is the brightest supernova to be observed since SN1604 (Kepler).  Observations taken with almost every type of telescope, on the ground and in space, have yielded a rich story of the evolution of the explosion debris and its interaction with its circumstellar environment.  It is a unique laboratory of almost all kinds of physics, at temperatures ranging from 109 K to 20 K and densities ranging from 1015 to 10-23 g cm-3.  After a brief review of the physics of SN1987A, I’ll describe what we are learning from our recent observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and the newly commissioned Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA).  I’ll conclude with a summary of the outstanding mysteries of SN1987A and the prospects for unraveling them."

Richard McCray received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UCLA in 1967. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech (1967-68) and an Assistant Professor at the Harvard College Observatory (1968-71). In 1971, he moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he became George Gamow Distinguished Professor of Astrophysics, Emeritus. In 2013 he moved to Berkeley, where he is a Visiting Scholar in the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department.

In 1983 Prof. McCray was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and in 1990 he received the Dannie S. Heinemann Prize for Astrophysics of the American Physical Society. In 1989 he was elected to National Academy of Sciences. In 2002 he was awarded the National Science Foundation Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Prof. McCray's research is in the theory and observations of the dynamics of the interstellar gas and cosmic X-ray sources, supernovae and supernova remnants. For the past 27 years, he has been deeply engaged in the study of the evolution of Supernova 1987A, through both theoretical modeling and observations with major observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Very Large Telescope and, most recently, the Atacama Large Millimeter array.


Next Speaker:  Dr. Brad Bailey of NASA Ames on August 8, speaking on "Astrobiology in the Solar System".

 Location: Foothill College room 5015, next to Parking Lot 5
Bring $3 for a parking permit



The Peninsula Astronomical Society is a group of some 200 Bay Area astronomy enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. Some members are professionally trained in astronomy, others are just starting and have never looked through a telescope before. One thing that we all have in common is an interest in the sky.

The PAS holds meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 pm on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA (between San Jose and Palo Alto).  The meetings are usually held in Room 5015, next to Parking Lot 5 (see map). Each meeting features a speaker (or speakers) bringing us up to date on different topics in astronomy. The public is welcome to attend these meetings; there is no charge to attend.  Note, however, that there is a $3 charge for parking - visitor parking permits are available from the machines in the parking lots.  Please do not park in spaces marked "Staff" - you will be ticketed!

As part of its commitment to bringing astronomy to the public, the Peninsula Astronomical Society operates the Foothill College Observatory (click here for more information). The Observatory is staffed by members of the society who volunteer to conduct the regularly scheduled public programs.

In addition to operating the Foothill Observatory, the PAS has its own observatory in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. This location has AC power and room for members to set up their own telescopes at our monthly star parties. This site is also the home of the society's 12" telescope, available for member use after a checkout.

For informaton about membership in the PAS, click here.



PAS Logo clothing and other cool items are available at Cafe Press - click on the T-shirt:

   Join the Peninsula Astronomical Society



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