Mt. Tamalpais State Park
Explore the Wonders of the Universe

our 24th season on the mountain

April 21 8:30pmDr. Alex Filippenko, UC Bekeley Dept of Astronomy
“The May 2020 Annular Solar Eclipse, the June 2020 Transit of Venus, and the Search for Transiting Exoplanets”
Be prepared to observe two exciting upcoming celestial events and learn their connection to the search for planets orbiting other stars.
May 26 8:30pmDr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer Seti Institute
“What Happens if We Find ET?”
Searches for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials are getting better as technology improves. So a signal might be discovered in your lifetime. But then what? Would you be told, and would it be dangerous?
June 23 8:30pmDr. Michael Kuhlen, UC BerkeleyTheoretical Astrophysics Center – Co-sponsored by Wonderfest

“The Milky Way as a Dark Matter Laboratory”
Over the next decade, a combination of astronomical observations and particle physics experiments hold great promise to finally shed light on the nature of dark matter.

July 21 8:30pmDr. David J. Des Marais, NASA-Ames Research Center
“Astrobiology Investigates Life in the Context of Space”
How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist beyond Earth? What is our future, here and beyond? Research and space exploration effectively pursue these questions in inspiring ways.
August 18 8:30pmRansom W. Stephens, Ph.D.
“The Reality Interface”
Every emotion, memory, concept-however abstract or concrete, everything you know is derived from your five senses. Learn how the brain processes sensory data and affects your perceptions of reality.
Sept 22 7:30pmKrisstina Wilmoth, NASA-Ames Research Center
“Sustainability Base”
NASA is using lessons and innovations from space exploration to build the government’s greenest building on Earth. Sustainability Base will be an evolving exemplar for the future of buildings.
Oct 20 7:00pmDr. Chris McKay NASA-Ames Research Center
“MSL and the search for organics on Mars”
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory will arrive on the red planet in August. How can the mission’s rover, Curiosity, with unprecedented research tools to study the early environmental history of Mars, contribute to the search for evidence of life on Mars

The 2020 series of astronomy programs on Mt Tam ended with our program on Oct 20. But we have one more chance to
enjoy the mountain this year. We will be participating in the Second Annual Bay Area Science Fair, a week
long celebration of science with events at hundreds of venues Oct 26 through Nov 4 organized by UCSF. Check
it out at and do some hands-on science. Last year we were rained out, but we will try again. This program is co-sponsored by your State Park, Wonderfest, Mount Tam Interpretive Association and San Francisco Amateurs.

Nov 3 Dr. Kevin Zahnle, NASA-Ames Research Center
7:00pm “When Worlds Collide & A View of the Heavens”

Planetologist Dr. Zahnle reminds us that the famous K/T extinction event (death knell of the dinosaurs) shows that, even today, the collision of Earth with a small world gone astray can refresh the face of our planet. Impacts were much larger and more frequent on the early Earth. In all likelihood, impacts posed the greatest challenge to the survival of early life; and they remain a major threat, today.

And of course the perfect ending to the evening is viewing through the telescopes provided by the San Francisco Amateur
Astronomers in the Rock Springs Park Lot. These dedicated volunteers are a treasure trove of information which they
willingly share. What a great way to give the youngsters in your life a truly stellar experience!

Dress warmly, bring a flashlight and car pool. If weather is questionable on the day of the program, call the hotline 415-455-5370 for any updates. If there are changes the tape is changed around 3:00pm.
Thanks for telling others about this program.

At our Oct program a kid’s Giants baseball cap was left. Let me know if you know who is missing it. Now is not the time to be without Giants gear! And if you are planning on attending on Nov 3 and can come a little early to help set up or stay a little late to help clean up, please contact Tinka 415-244-4715.

Have you posted on Mt Tam Astronomy facebook page yet? Join at and share your spacey thoughts!

See you on the Mountain Nov 3!

Immediately following each month’s lecture, the audience is invited to remain in the Mountain Theater for a brief Night Sky Tour by the Urban Astronomer, highlighting the prominent constellations, stars and planets visible in the night time sky, before enjoying the observing session (starparty) conducted by the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers in the Rock Springs parking lot.