Cosmic Thunder & Lightning

In October 2017, Earthlings detected gravitational waves, or ripples in the fabric of spacetime, from the violent merger of two ultra-dense neutron stars. This triggered nearly every big telescope to point in the direction of the source, which was subsequently seen in colors across the electromagnetic spectrum. This was the first detection of both gravitational waves and light — the “thunder" and the “lightning" — from the same event. In addition to providing a powerful test of our best theory of gravity, the signals showed that debris spit out in the stellar collision assembled into heavy elements, such as gold and platinum, providing an explanation for the cosmic origin of these special materials.
Our speaker, Dr. Dan Kasen, is Associate Professor of Physics and of Astronomy at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Daniel Kasen

WHAT: Thunder & Lightning: Gravitational Waves & Cosmic Gold from Merging Neutron Stars
WHO: Dr. Daniel Kasen, Assoc. Professor of Physics & Astronomy, UC Berkeley
WHERE: Cushing "Mountain" Amphitheater, Pan Toll Road at Ridgecrest Blvd, Mt. Tamalpais State Park
Map: []
WHEN: 2018-10-13 — 7:00pm, Saturday, October 13, 2018
HOW: Mt. Tamalpais State Park closes at sunset; on October 13th, that's ~ 6:35pm. Only vehicles with an Astronomy Program parking pass will be admitted thereafter:
  •    Print a FREE Astro Program parking pass at this Eventbrite website.
  •    After sunset, vehicles lacking a parking pass may be cited.
  •    Vehicles can exit the Park until 10:30pm; after that, remaining vehicles may be cited.
This event is presented, admission-free, by Wonderfest, the Friends of Mt. Tam, the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, and Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Optional sky tour and telescope viewing will follow.
Bring a flashlight and — even though mountaintop weather (above the fog) is often warmer than down at sea level — wear warm clothes in layers. If rain or wildfire threatens, call 415-455-5370 after 4pm on event day.