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The next PAS meeting is Friday February 13, 2015

7:30 pm, Room 5015, Foothill College

Featuring Dr. Bruce Macintosh of Stanford University

"Imaging Extrasolar Planets"

"Although more than a thousand extrasolar planets are now known, almost all have been discovered through indirect techniques. A small number have been directly imaged - the planet spatially resolved from its star - which opens up detection of new kinds of planets (young, massive, in the outer parts of other solar systems) inaccessible to other techniques, and allows spectroscopy to measure the composition of these planets’ atmospheres. I will discuss the problem of directly seeing planets, and the implications of these observations. A new instrument, almost an order of magnitude more sensitive than its predecessors, has been deployed on the Gemini South telescope. Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), combines adaptive optics using silicon micro machined deformable mirrors, a starlight-blocking coronagraph, and an advanced spectrograph, and is predicted to discover 20-50 new imaged planets.”

Prof. Bruce Macintosh is a Professor of Physics at Stanford University, formerly at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  His research focusses on the study of extrasolar planets, in particular the study of such planets through direct imaging, and on using adaptive optics to shape the wavefronts of light for a variety of applications.  Direct imaging of extrasolar planets involves blocking, suppressing, and subtracting the light of the bright parent star so that a planet hundreds of thousands of times fainter can be seen and studied in detail.  Prof. Macintosh is the Principal Investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager (, an advanced adaptive optics planet-finder for the Gemini South telescope.

Next Speaker:  Dr. Mark Krumholz of UC Santa Cruz on March 13, speaking on the birth of stars.

 Location: Foothill College room 5015, next to Parking Lot 5
Bring $3 for a parking permit


Wiehe Memorial



In Memory of Sarah Wiehe

The PAS suffered a great loss with the passing of Sarah Wiehe last October.  Sarah served on the PAS Board of Directors from March 2003 onward, including several years as Vice President and PAS Liason to Foothill College.  She was instrumental in working with Foothill College during the transition from the old 16" Newtonian telescope to the new modern 16" Schmidt-Cassegrain now being used.  The remake of the Board Room downstairs at Foothill, the computers, eyepieces, H-alpha Solar Telescope, etc. were very much due to her labors.  She had an excellent working relationship with the College.

Thank you, Sarah, for all your years of service to our Club.  You will be greatly missed.



The Peninsula Astronomical Society is a group of some 200 Bay Area astronomy enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. Some members are professionally trained in astronomy, others are just starting and have never looked through a telescope before. One thing that we all have in common is an interest in the sky.

The PAS holds meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 pm on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA (between San Jose and Palo Alto).  The meetings are usually held in Room 5015, next to Parking Lot 5 (see map). Each meeting features a speaker (or speakers) bringing us up to date on different topics in astronomy. The public is welcome to attend these meetings; there is no charge to attend.  Note, however, that there is a $3 charge for parking - visitor parking permits are available from the machines in the parking lots.  Please do not park in spaces marked "Staff" - you will be ticketed!

As part of its commitment to bringing astronomy to the public, the Peninsula Astronomical Society operates the Foothill College Observatory (click here for more information). The Observatory is staffed by members of the society who volunteer to conduct the regularly scheduled public programs.

In addition to operating the Foothill Observatory, the PAS has its own observatory in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. This location has AC power and room for members to set up their own telescopes at our monthly star parties. This site is also the home of the society's 12" telescope, available for member use after a checkout.

For informaton about membership in the PAS, click here.



PAS Logo clothing and other cool items are available at Cafe Press - click on the T-shirt:

   Join the Peninsula Astronomical Society



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