The two brightest objects in the night sky (after the Moon) are closing in for a very close encounter in June. Each evening you can watch the gradual change as Jupiter descends in the west toward Venus. As both planets are on the same line of travel across the sky (the Ecliptic), they pass near each other typically once per year. This is going to happen in 2015 in late June. For now, check out the daily movement in the west after sunset. I'll write more about the close encounter in the month of June.
Each month, the public is welcome to join regional events affiliated with the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA). The club supports local 'star parties' and hosts lectures of deep scientific interest. These events are free and open to the public.
SFAA Lectures: Each month, the SFAA club meeting includes a lecture by a prominent astronomer or astrophysicist on a topic of general interest. Topics have included exo-planet research, dark matter, space telescopes, stellar research, and more. Check the SFAA website and join the club on the third Tuesday of each month at the Presidio of San Francisco.
Lectures and Star Parties on Mt. Tam: Each month (May-Oct) the SFAA joins with the Friends of Mt. Tam and the California State Park System for an evening of astronomy talks and star gazing on the west peak of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County. The evenings are a wonderful, family-friendly experience that feature star gazing with extraordinary telescopes brought up to the mountain by members of the SFAA for public viewing. The conditions on Mt. Tam are quite dark and feature great views of deep space objects, planets, and other objects in the night sky.
City Star Parties: Each month the SFAA hosts star parties in San Francisco at one of three locations; Lands End, the Exploratorium, and the Presidio. These star parties are focused on astronomy learning and viewing of brighter objects such as the Moon and planets. The schedule is on the SFAA website.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog.