Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek announced September 19 that a coalition of the world’s leading space science and astronomical institutions based in Pasadena are partnering to produce Astronomy Week, October 16-22, 2016. The week-long series of public events, open houses, lectures and other activities celebrates Pasadena’s rich history as an innovative “City of Astronomy” and an international leader for telescopic celestial discovery and robotic space science.
Eight Pasadena-based scientific institutions and organizations have partnered to form the week-long “City of Astronomy” which culminates with the first Pasadena Astronomy Festival, 2-8 p.m., Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green Street.
“We have an unprecedented level of astronomy efforts and space science organizations here that have been woven into the fabric of our Pasadena community for decades,” Mayor Tornek said. “Astronomy Week brings them together for the first time to show our community, and the world, that Pasadena is the center of the universe for more than the Rose Parade.”
The premier institutions involved include Caltech, www.caltech.edu; Carnegie Observatories, www.obs.carnegiescience.edu; Giant Magellan Telescope, www.gmto.org; IPAC, www.ipac.caltech.edu; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, www.jpl.nasa.gov; Mt. Wilson Observatory, www.mtwilson.edu; The Planetary Society, www.planetary.org and Thirty Meter Telescope, www.tmt.org. These world-renowned institutions are collaborating together for the first time to promote greater public awareness about Pasadena’s storied history in the field of astronomy.
City of Astronomy events and activities will be posted at www.cityofastronomy.org. For social media platforms, tag and curate data via the #cityofastronomy and #Pasadena hashtags. The event coincides with Innovate Pasadena’s third annual Connect Week, www.connectpasadena.com, where cutting-edge minds and emerging talents in the fields of design, start-up entrepreneurship, science, technology and now, astronomy, converge for a week of inspiration and sharing.
City of Astronomy events include:
- Carnegie Observatories Open House, 2-5 p.m., Sunday October 16, at its Pasadena campus, 813 Santa Barbara Street. Meet Carnegie astronomers who will share their latest discoveries; explore the historic library and see photographic plates from its archives; learn how new scientific instruments are built in the famous machine shop and get updates on Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and the latest news on the Giant Magellan Telescope.
- “Astronomy on Tap” 7:30 p.m., October 17-19, hosted by the Caltech Astronomy Outreach Office. Events occur in a bar (open only to 21 and older) with two, 10- to 15-minute talks on general astronomy/astrophysics. During intermission, scientists interact with attendees and, at end, there is an astronomy pop quiz, with cool astrophysics and NASA prizes! Host bar, Der Wolfskopf, 72 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Old Pasadena, www.derwolfskopf.com, offers attendees special prices on variety of food and drink during event.
- Mt. Wilson Observatory hosts a special Public Night, Wednesday October 19. This will be a ticketed, but free, event. For safety reasons, all visitors must be 12 or older, and visitors 12 to 18 must be accompanied by adult, no exceptions. All visitors will be responsible for their own transportation to the observatory. For more info, email MtWilsonAstronomyNight@gmail.com.
- Public Talk on Pluto and the Mysterious Exoplanets at 6 p.m., Thursday October 20, hosted by City of Astronomy partner, American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS). DPS, https://dps.aas.org, is holding its annual meeting at the Pasadena Convention Center during Astronomy Week and offers a rare, free public talk at the Convention Center with some of its best exoplanet experts, Alan Stern and Giovanni Tinetti. Be sure to come early to enjoy an exhibit hall filled with info displays by astronomy institutions from around the world; a Space Art exhibition, and a “Star Party” with telescopes available for public viewing outside the Convention Center.
- See the Planetary Society’s CEO, Bill Nye, http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/bill-nye.html, publicly present the organization’s prestigious “Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science” to the winner during the DPS public events on October 20. The Cosmos Award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the Planetary Society in recognition of the recipient’s efforts for outstanding and engaging space science communications.
- Pasadena Astronomy Festival, 2-8 p.m., Saturday October 22, at the Convention Center with free family fun astronomy activities including an inflatable, digital planetarium, special telescopes for both daytime and nighttime viewing and the opportunity to finally ask an astronomer your questions about how the Universe was formed, what are black holes, and whatever happened to little E.T.?