Monday, July 25, 2016

Astronomy on Tap: Jupiter and Beer in Space

We had our second Astronomy on Tap event tonight, and it was a packed house.  A few days earlier, LA Weekly had featured us as a fun activity to do in LA this week, and thus we ended up with over 110 people filling up our venue, Der Wolfskopf Pub.

We started the night with a great talk by Dr. Rachael Beaton, a postdoc at the Carnegie Institute in Pasadena. Rachael's talk was entitled "The First Beer Came from Space", and it covered how and why different types of atoms and molecules, form in the cores of stars and in the clouds of gas in the far reaches of space.  Even our favorite molecule, alcohol, can form in these systems. Rather than sending up space craft to mine rare metals in asteroids, she suggested we might mine the quadrillions of gallons of alcohol in these clouds.

We had an intermission where the audience could interact with the various astronomers present in the audience, and we had astronomy-themed quiz questions flash across the television monitors.  After about 20 minutes, our second talk was given by Dr. Rahul Patel from NASA's IPAC facility in Pasadena. Rahul spoke about the recent Juno mission that NASA launched to Jupiter, what its goals were, and what we can learn from it.  

After another intermission period, several of our local experts got up to answer audience questions on a variety of astrophysical topics including galaxies, black holes, and more.  Finally, we graded the quiz questions and went through them together.  Our winner received a signed copy of Caltech Astrophysicist Dr. Kip Thorne's book: "The Physics of Interstellar".

Thanks to everyone who attended, and thanks to Der Wolfskopf for hosting us!  See you in a month!


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