Dr. Vardha N. Bennert completed her PhD in 2005 on the astrophysics of "active galaxies" at the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany. She moved to the US for a postdoctoral researcher position at the University of California, first in Riverside, then in Santa Barbara. Since 2011, Dr. Bennert is a professor at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Dr. Bennert’s research interests focus on the central region of active galaxies, in particular the massive black hole and its relation to the host galaxy. Her research makes use of some of the biggest optical and near-infrared telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope, the Keck Telescopes, the Gemini North Telescope as well as the 3m Shane Telescope of Lick observatory. In her free time, she loves to explore the outdoors of California, and is also on an inward journey, integrating meditation into her everyday life.
|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.
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.
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.
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