Six topics with six different instructors.
Wednesdays, 7 PM, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; July 6
$75. Fee reduction by request to [email protected]
June 1 Star Spectroscopy
An introduction to spectroscopy and RSPEC devices and software for gathering and analyzing star spectra. Followed by a Q&A and discussion with amateur astronomers doing stellar spectroscopy. Our instructor is Tom Field, President of Field Tested Systems LLC, former Contributing Editor to Sky and Telescope Magazine, regular presenter at NEAF conferences.”
June 8 What’s up in the summer sky?
An orientation to the constellations and key stars visible by eye alone 9 PM to after midnight in all directions this summer. Also special sky events and objects viewable in binoculars, like Messier objects, will be included. Our instructor is Tony Faddoul, a graduate student studying architecture, engineering, and management who has given astronomy talks in many forums. Tony is an avid observer and writes monthly columns titled “What’s Up in the Sky?” for Eyepiece, our online magazine. These columns can be viewed on aaa.org under the “Observe/See the Stars & Sky” menus at the top.
June 15 The History of the Telescope (according to Bart)
Bart Fried is the Executive V.P. of the AAA and the Founder of the Antique Telescope Society. He’s also a student of the how the telescope evolved with his own take on it. This is an expansion of an AAA Podcast he gave on the same theme. From the first working telescope to the James Webb Space Telescope, you will learn how much … and how little … this wonderful invention changed and spread. It brought enlightenment and revolution to our understanding of the Universe and its size. It changed humanity itself.
Bart and his scope. Photo by Katherine Troche
June 22 Zodiac Constellations
Presented by Lydia Maria Petrosino, an active member of the AAA and WAA (Westchester) and a student of archeoastronomy – how ancient cultures viewed the sky. A realtor by profession, she gave public lectures in the domed auditorium of the Hayden Planetarium for many years. She has told constellation stories in AAA classes too.
June 29 Evolution and the Tree of Life
Offered as a precursor to a coming course on astrobiology. We consider how molecules could group into simple cells starting the process of life. We explore the fundamentals of modern evolutionary theory and see how a free program, “One Zoom”, diagrams the linking of 2.2 million species. There are parallels between stages in evolution and stages in the cosmos from the Big Bang to today. Our instructor is Natalia Belfiore, biology professor at the University of Bridgeport, CT. She completed her PhD and postdoc work at the University of California and Purdue in the field of ecology. Dr. Belfiore authored dozens of papers on environmental impacts on marine and animal life, including gorillas, worldwide.
NOTE: Class members should acquaint themselves with the evolutionary tree as presented on ONEZOOM.ORG , endorsed and promoted by Richard Dawkins.
Tree of Life
July 6 Global Warming: What We Know and Don’t Know
Few issues generate more public debate; for even fewer is the debate conducted with so much misinformation and irrational exuberance. I will present a dispassionate analysis of what we know and what we don’t know about climate change, clearly distinguishing facts from fictions, and physics certainties from feedback uncertainties. I will begin by exploring the astronomical factors that have driven climate change in the past (solar variability, orbital variations, etc.) and describe how measurements of past climate derived from tree rings and ice cores help inform models for predictions of the future. I will conclude with my analysis of our current state of knowledge.
A faculty member at Columbia University for 45 years, Prof. David J. Helfand is an Inaugural Fellow and past-president of the American Astronomical Society, and is currently Chair of the American Institute of Physics. He is author of “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age”. Dr. Helfand gave an AAA lecture in 2020 on using radioactive isotopes to measure timing of cosmological events, the subject of a coming book.