BayCon 2023

Public talks

BayCon 2023

Tags: JWST, Fermi Paradox, Eclipse, Astronomy

Time: 01 - 04 July 2023 -

Location: Santa Clara, CA

BayCon is a convention about science fiction, science, writing, and more.  It will take place July 1-4.

Astronomer and SETI Institute Trustee Andrew Fraknoi will be speaking on the first images and results from the James Webb Space Telescope, Fermi's Paradox (Where are the Alien Visitors?) and the Upcoming Eclipses of the Sun (Oct. 2023 and Apr. 2024) that will be visible in the U.S.  He will also be signing copies of his children's book "When the Sun Goes Dark" in the exhibit area.

Andrew Fraknoi's scheduled talks are:

July 1, 2:30 - 4:00 pm pdt
The James Webb Space Telescope
The early images from the James Webb Space Telescope have been applauded by scientists, the media, and the public.  But there is far more to our expectations from this remarkable space instrument than just pretty pictures.  In this introductory talk, astronomer and educator Andrew Fraknoi explains what makes the Webb a truly pioneering instrument and what the early images actually show.  In the process, he discusses how the Webb observes an "invisible universe" of infrared rays, and what astronomers are hoping to learn from it about "cosmic evolution" -- the birth and death of stars, planets, and galaxies.  No background in science is required to understand this program.

July 2, 2:30 - 4:00 pm pdt
Scientists Who Write Science Fiction
With J.L. Doty, G. David Nordley, Edward Kukla and Andrew Fraknoi

July 3, 10:00 - 11:30 am pdt
The Fermi Paradox
At a lunch with colleagues in 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi, after discussions about recent UFO reports and space travel, asked the simple but deep question "So where is everybody?"  In other words, if our Galaxy is old, planets and life occur everywhere, and we are just starting out in our understanding of possible technology, why have we not had more alien visitors to Earth.  The panel will discuss some possible answers to the paradox in science and science fiction and take comments and questions from the audience.

The panel includes Catherynne Valente, G. David Nordley, Andrew Fraknoi and Vanessa MacLaren-Wray

July 3, 2:30 - 4:00 pm pdt
The Eclipse Double-Header Coming to North America
Two eclipses of the Sun are coming to North America during the 2023-24 school year – an annular ("ring of fire") eclipse Oct. 14, 2023 and a total eclipse Apr. 8, 2024.  People in two long and narrow paths will have the full eclipse experience each time. Everyone else (an estimated 500 million people, including all of us in the Bay Area) will see a nice partial eclipse, where the Moon covers a good part of the Sun. This illutated talk will describe why eclipses happen (and why they are total only on Earth), what scientists learn during eclipses, exactly when and where the eclipses of 2023 and 2024 will be best visible, and how to observe the eclipses and the Sun safely.   

Note: This is an in-person event. Registration is required to participate.