The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures PodcastsAuthor: Foothill College
13 Nov 2018

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Podcasts

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Public lectures by noted astronomers on new developments in our exploration of the universe. These lectures are recorded at Foothill College near San Francisco.

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    Will the 21st Century be the Time We Discover Life Beyond Earth?

    In 2004, Craig Venter & Daniel Cohen suggested that if the 20th Century was the century of physics, the 21st Century will be the century of biology on our planet. Jill Tarter believes that their idea will be extended beyond the surface of our world and that we may soon have the first opportunity to study biology that developed on other worlds. She talks about her vision of the future of understanding life on Earth and beyond our planet. And she discusses projects that are underway and are planned to learn more about the possibility of intelligent life among the stars. Recorded October 11, 2017.

  • Posted on 11 Oct 2017

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    The ‘All-American’ Eclipse of the Sun this August

    On August 21, 2017, there will be a rare eclipse of the Sun visible throughout the U.S. and North America. People in a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will see a spectacular total eclipse, while everyone else will see a nice partial eclipse. Andrew Fraknoi, Foothill College, describes how eclipses work, why they are one of nature’s most spectacular sights, and exactly when and where the eclipse of 2017 will be best visible. He also provides practical tips for how to observe the eclipse and the Sun safely and what experts are worried about for this first U.S. eclipse of the Internet Age. Recorded May 24, 2017.

  • Posted on 28 Jun 2017

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    The Monster Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way Galaxy

    By measuring the rapid orbits of the stars near the center of our galaxy, Dr. Andrea Ghez, UCLA, and her colleagues have moved the case for a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way from a possibility to a certainty. She reports on her pioneering observations and discusses some of the surprising results this work has led to. Recorded January 25, 2017.

  • Posted on 20 Mar 2017

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    Space-time Symphony: Gravitational Waves from Merging Black Holes

    Gravitational waves are predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. They travel at the speed of light, but are much harder to detect than light waves. On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) received the first direct gravitational wave signals. The event that produced them was the merger of two distant and massive black holes that were in mutual orbit. Prof. Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State University, presents an introduction to LIGO, to gravitational waves and how they were detected, and to the kinds of black holes that “make waves.” Recorded November 2, 2016.

  • Posted on 20 Mar 2017

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    The Science and Non-science of Star Wars

    In this wide-ranging, humorous talk, Seth Shostak, SETI Institute, takes a look at Star Wars and other science fiction films from the point of view of a skeptical scientist, tells stories about the movies he has been asked to advise, and muses about aliens from space and how we might make contact with them. Recorded October 12, 2017.

  • Posted on 20 Mar 2017

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