SETI Institute and the Bay Area Science Festival

Nov. 2 Jill Tarter on "Contact: The Reel and the Real"  - Join astronomer Jill Tarter, whose work and life was a key model for the character Jodie Foster plays in the film Contact, for a very special evening of science fiction and cutting-edge science.  We will screen the full-length film about the discovery of intelligent life among the stars, and then hear Dr. Tarter discuss her ongoing work at the SETI Institute to find radio signals from alien civilizations. After her film and the talk, there will be time for questions from the audience.

Nov. 4 - Seth Shostak on a panel on "Hollywood Science"  - Senior astronomer and the host of the Institute's radio program "Big Picture Science", Dr.Seth Shostak, will be part of a panel of producers, directors, and science advisors for television and film, discussing how science fiction can be used (and misused) to educate the public about science ideas.

Nov. 5Bay Area Star Party at Foothill College, Los Altos Hill - Telescopes from the Peninsula Astronomical Society will be set up in the area around the observatory, provided the sky is clear.  Regardless of sky conditions, members from the NASA Lunar Science Institute will be setting up downstairs at the observatory, providing handouts, displaying Moon rocks, and demonstrating Moon Zoo (through which the public can help analyze the images coming back from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.)  Please park in the west end of Parking Lot 3 and walk uphill to the observatory, which is located next to the Krause Center.  Please note that parking costs $2 in quarters.

Nov. 6 -  Andrew Fraknoi on "What Happened to Pluto" - SETI Institute Trustee, Andrew Fraknoi, will speak at 12:30 pm on "Whatever Happened to Pluto: Why It Got Kicked out of the Planet Club, and Why It Had It Coming!" The demotion of Pluto shocked the public and led to angry letters and even protests in some cities.  But the story of how Pluto became a dwarf started back in the year 1800 when a Sicilian astronomer made a dramatic cosmic discovery.  Popular lecturer and frequent radio guest Andrew Fraknoi will fill everyone in on the behind-the-scenes history of Pluto and what really led to its change of status.

Nov. 6Visit the NASA Kepler and SOFIA booths at AT&T Park -Come visit the Kepler and SOFIA exhibits. Visitors can play with the Kepler mission light curve data collection and find out about the latest discoveries of this planet-hunting telescope. At the SOFIA exhibit, experiment with an infrared camera and learn about how this plane was turned into a flying observatory. Visitors can see themselves in infrared, face paint with ice, and "see through" a garbage bag.