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Foothill Telescope Remains CLOSED

Following guidance from the
Santa Clara County Health Officer and Foothill College, PAS is extending the suspension of our Friday and Saturday public viewing sessions at Foothill Observatory for the foreseeable future.  We will be able to resume operations once Foothill College reopens the campus.

Please check back periodically for the latest status.

March 11, 2020; updated September 29, 2020



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 generally holds its meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 pm, either on the campus of Foothill College (between San Jose and Palo Alto) in Los Altos Hills, or at the Los Altos Public Library. 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 at Foothill College - 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.



"Mars On Earth"

Featuring Dr. Pascal Lee of NASA AMES & SETI


April 9th, 2021 at 7:30pm

Online via Zoom:


The first human mission to Mars will be humanity’s greatest adventure in space exploration this century. As with all expeditions, its success depends on planning. Key lessons for successfully preparing for this journey are being learned at terrestrial analogs. The NASA Haughton-Mars Project, or HMP, is a leading Moon and Mars analog field research project on Devon Island in the High Arctic. Devon Island is the world’s largest uninhabited island and home to Haughton Crater, a 20 km-wide meteorite impact structure. As the largest continuous expanse of rocky polar desert on Earth, with an astonishing array of Mars analog geologic features, Devon Island is also known as “Mars on Earth”. Since 1997, the HMP has been advancing our understanding of the evolution of Mars by comparative studies with Devon Island, and paving the way for future human missions to the Red Planet through field tests of technologies and strategies for Moon and Mars exploration. In the years to come, the HMP is anticipated to also help train the next generation of astronauts bound for these destinations. Dr Lee will give an overview of how the HMP is helping us reach Mars.

Dr Pascal Lee is a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute, the SETI Institute, and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. He studied physics and geology at the University of Paris, and got his PhD in astronomy and space sciences at Cornell University where he was Carl Sagan’s last T.A.

Dr Lee’s research focuses on water on Mars, caves on the Moon, and the origin of Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos. He has led over 30 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica to study the Moon and Mars by comparison with the Earth. In 1988, he wintered over for 402 days in Antarctica. He is a recipient of the United States Antarctic Service Medal. Since 1997, he directs the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP), the leading Moon and Mars field research project on Devon Island in the High Arctic. Dr Lee also studies icy lava tubes in Iceland viewed as analogs for some of the candidate high latitude caves he has reported finding on the Moon.

Dr Lee is also known for his work on advancing strategies and technologies for the future human exploration of the Moon and Mars, including spacesuits, habitats, rovers, flyers, and drones. He worked on early studies of helicopters for Mars and was scientist-pilot of NASA’s experimental Small Pressurized Rover project. He recently led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition, an epic vehicular journey on sea-ice along the fabled Northwest Passage across the Arctic, and the subject of the award-winning documentary film Passage To Mars (2016).

Dr Lee’s first book, Mission: Mars, won the 2015 Prize for Excellence in children’s science books from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In his free time, he likes to be walked by his dog, fly, and paint. He is an FAA-certified helicopter commercial pilot and flight instructor, and an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

Please leave your Video Off and your Microphone Muted for the presentation. We will open for questions or chat AFTER.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 834 1059 7588
Passcode: 043202
One tap mobile
+16699009128,,83410597588#,,,,*043202# US (San Jose)
+12532158782,,83410597588#,,,,*043202# US (Tacoma)


Next Meeting: 

We are looking for more speakers able to present via Zoom; please check back periodically for the latest.


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

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