Welcome to the Peninsula Astronomical Society

The Peninsula Astronomical Society (PAS) is a group of Bay Area astronomy enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. We hold frequent meetings featuring invited speakers and covering diverse topics in astronomy, organize star parties, and host public observing programs at Foothill Observatory.

Find us also on Meetup, where we post all upcoming events: Peninsula Astronomical Society

Foothill Observatory Now Open Weekly

The Foothill College observatory is open for public viewing on the following schedule:

  • Every clear Friday evening, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for star gazing
  • Every clear Saturday morning, from 10 a.m. to noon for solar viewing

Since we are still dealing with COVID, we follow Foothill College guidelines, listed below, to enable safe operation of the Observatory for both our public visitors and our PAS telescope operators. We ask that visitors agree to these guidelines before visiting the Observatory, and to direct any questions to info@pastro.org.

More about FootHill Observatory | Map & Directions

Foothill Observatory
Foothill Observatory on International Observe the Moon Night, October 2022. Photo by Maria Cordell.


The COVID and masking policy for visitingFoothill Observatory is the same as that of Foothill College per their Health & Safety information:
1) Vaccinations are required and 2) masking is strongly encouraged. 

We thank you for your efforts to help keep everyone healthy so that we can continue to offer these free observing events to the public.


February 2023

November 2022

LSST Camera, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
LSST Camera, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Speaker: Hannah Polleck, SLAC
Date: Thursday, November 17, 2022
Time: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM PST
Location: Los Altos Public Library, 13 S San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA

Join us for a talk by Hannah Polleck, Staff Engineer at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, who will describe her work with the largest camera ever constructed: the 3 Gigapixel CCD camera designed for the Vera Rubin Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST).

Pollek will give an overview of the Vera Rubin Observatory as a whole, with a specific emphasis on the construction of the LSST Camera that is taking place at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. She will also speak about the science goals of the project during its 10 year survey, the nationwide and international collaborations in building it, as well as the upcoming task of handling the immense amounts of data that will be taken each night.

For information on the LSST Camera, visit: https://lsst.slac.stanford.edu
For information about the Vera Rubin Observatory, visit: https://www.lsst.org/

October 22, 2022 Star Party

PAS held a public star party at Vista Hill in the Foothills Nature Preserve. Vista Hill is the highest spot at the park and has a lovely view, and we had good weather and clear skies! 

More Info
Google Maps view of Vista Hill for directions
Foothills Nature Preserve information from City of Palo Alto

International Observe the Moon Night

The Foothill College Astronomy department and the Peninsula Astronomical Society hosted lunar viewing as part of NASA’s Observe the Moon Night.

Cosmic Alchemy In the Era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy

The source of about half of the heaviest elements in the universe has been a mystery for a long time. Although the general picture of element formation is well understood, many questions about the astrophysical details remain to be answered. Here I focus on recent advances in our understanding of the origin of the heaviest and rarest elements in the Universe.

About Our Speaker

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz is a Professor and the Vera Rubin Presidential Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). After studying at the University of Cambridge, he was the John Bahcall Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Since joining the UCSC faculty in 2007, Ramirez-Ruiz has won a number of awards for his research, including a Packard Fellowship, the NSF CAREER Award, the Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard, the Niels Bohr Professorship from the Danish National Research Foundation, the HEAD Mid-Career Prize from the AAS and the Bouchet Award and the Dwight Nicholson Medal from the American Physical Society. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Ramirez-Ruiz is eager to understand our origins and disruptive events in the night sky. He works with computer models to understand the cataclysmic death of stars and recently led efforts to uncover the origin of the heaviest elements in the universe. Ramirez-Ruiz tests out his theories with complex computer simulations that defy the boundaries of human experience and the assumptions we make about the universe. He has authored or co-authored about two hundred and eighty research papers, two dozen in Science and Nature. He has lectured, broadcast and written widely on science and is a highly decorated teacher and research adviser. As the director of the Lamat Institute, he works vigorously to support the promotion and retention of women and historically marginalized students in STEM.

See our Past Meetings page for more events and recordings.

Quick Links

About PAS | PAS Membership | Foothill Observatory | Oak Ridge Observatory | info@pastro.org