August 11, 2017

8:00 p.m.

Astronomy Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Andreas Burkert, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Lecture Information

"Comets: fascinating, life sparking vagabonds of the Solar System"

Dr. Andreas Burkert is a full professor and chair in Computational Astrophysics at the University of Munich.
The International Astronomical Union named the minor planet 267003 Burkert after him. He is a Max-Planck-Fellow at the MPI for extraterrestrial Physics at Garching and Higgs Fellow. From 2011 till 2014 he was the President of the German Astronomical Society, and Chairman of the German Astrophysics Board of Directors. Dr. Burkert is the Vice Coordinator of the Excellence Cluster “Origin and Structure of the Universe” and Coordinator of the DFG Priority Program “Physics of the Interstellar Medium”.
His research focuses on dynamical processes in the Universe, including the formation and evolution of galaxies and the formation of stars and stellar clusters.

In November 2014 a small robotic lander, Philae, that accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft landed for the first time on a comet, revealing a fascinating and strange world. Comets are the basic building blocks of planetary systems. They roam the outmost, dark parts of the Solar System. How they got there is not well understood. Once in a while they experience a fatal encounter with a massive object of the Milky Way passing by and are deflected onto a fatal infall orbit that brings them close to the Sun and our Earth. For a few weeks they an be seen crossing the dark night sky with a prominent tail that can cover millions of miles before they disappear again, moving back into the cold, dark outskirts of the Solar System. We will explore that fascinating world of comets and discuss their importance for mankind and the origin of life on Earth.

Program Information

7:00 p.m. Doors Open Brief Telescope Visits
8:00 p.m. Science Talk, Lecture Hall History Talk, Great Refractor
9:00 p.m. Science Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
10:00 p.m.    History Talk (repeated), Great Refractor     Telescope Viewings
12:30 a.m.    Doors Close


Driving to Lick Observatory
Please allow a one-hour drive from San Jose. The road is good, but windy. The event typically lasts between 4 and 6 hours; prepare to drive home late in the evening. There are no automative services or gas stations for 20 miles, so please plan ahead. See more information on driving directions and parking here.

Recommended Attire
Casual, comfortable clothing and walking shoes. A sweater or light coat is recommended.

Please be careful when walking around in the dark outside; bringing a flashlight is recommended. Children under age 8 are not allowed at this event, and it may be unsuitable for children under the age of 12 due to late hours.

The large telescopes will be available for viewing as soon as the sky is dark. Telescopes will remain open until every guest has had an opportunity to see through both the 36-inch Great Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope.

In order to view through the telescopes, guests will receive a numbered pass at the door. Guests with the lowest telescope numbers are admitted to the telescopes first - so we recommend getting to the observatory early! Please note: Due to historic construction of the telescope domes, the 36-inch Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time.

Volunteer amateur astronomers also set up ground telescopes in the back parking so guests can view additional cosmic objects.

Gift Shop
Lick Observatory souvenirs and astronomy merchandise will be available for purchase between 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. You can also visit our Gift Shop online 24/7.

Snacks and beverages will be available near the Nickel Telescope. Vending machines and fountain water are also available.

We strive to make your visit as complete and meaningful as possible. Please let us know if you will need special assistance (for example, if you will have difficulty climbing stairs), so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Map Lick Observatory

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