Free Public Talk on Doing Astronomy at 40,000 Feet, March 6 at Foothill College

Wednesday, March 06 2013 - 7:00 pm, PST

Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA.

Foothill College is just off the El Monte Road exit from Freeway 280 in Los Altos.  For directions and parking information, see: http://www.foothill.edu/news/transportation.php
For a campus map, see: http://www.foothill.edu/news/maps.php

On Wednesday, Mar. 6th, 2013, at 7 pm, Dr. Dana Backman (of the SETI Institute and Santa Clara University) will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on: 

Astronomy from the Stratosphere: NASA's SOFIA Mission

in the Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA.

Why would NASA buy a used passenger airliner, cut a 10' x 10' hole in the fuselage, add a roll-back door, and install a 17-ton telescope inside?  In his lecture, open to the public, Dr. Backman will introduce you to the engineering marvel and international scientific facility called SOFIA -- the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. This remarkable airborne telescope began scientific research flights in 2010 and is already returning exciting discoveries about the birth of stars, interstellar chemistry, the atmospheres of giant planets, the environment around supermassive black holes, and other branches of astronomy.

Dana Backman is the Director of Education and Public Outreach for the SOFIA project at NASA’s Ames Research Center and an Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University and the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.  Before joining the SOFIA team, he was professor of physics and astronomy at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.  He is coauthor of three college-level astronomy textbooks and a frequent public speaker on astronomy and SOFIA.   His research specialty is infrared astronomy (the study of the universe by collecting heat rays) – exactly the kind of work that the SOFIA telescope is designed to do.

Foothill College is just off the El Monte Road exit from Freeway 280 in Los Altos.  For directions and parking information, see: http://www.foothill.edu/news/transportation.php
For a campus map, see: http://www.foothill.edu/news/maps.php

The lecture is co-sponsored by:
* NASA Ames Research Center
* The Foothill College Astronomy Program
* The SETI Institute
* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

We expect large crowds, so please arrive a little bit early to find parking.  Having exact change or bills for the $3 parking fee helps speed up the line.

Past Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are now available in MP3 format at:
http://astrosociety.org/silicon-valley-astronomy-lectures/