News and Events

Star Party / Open House

All Star Party/Open House Events will take place on C.C.S.F.'s Ocean/Phelan Campus, 50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112.


All Star Party Events are held on the roof of Science Hall which is accessible only via a stairwell through Room 405.  As this is the only means of access, we unfortunately cannot accomodate anyone who is unable to climb a stairwell.  These telescopic events are held, Weather Permitting; it will be indicated if alternate events are scheduled.

Astronomy Dept Star Party Events**

Observe the Moon, Planets, Nebulae, Star Clusters!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 from 7:15 - 9:00 PM

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 7:15 - 9:30 PM

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 from 8:30 - 9:30 PM

Access to the Roof is through Science Hall 405

(An elevator reaches the 3rd floor; reach the 4th floor by the middle staircase of about 30 steps.)

Alternate events are often scheduled in Science Hall 311 if the sky is not clear. 

** Weather Permitting Events 


Planetarium Shows

Wednesday, May 9  7:30 - 8:30 PM

Lecture Series

All lectures will last for an hour and be held on CCSF's Ocean/Phelan Campus, 50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94112 unles otherwise noted.

Astronomy Department Lecture Series Seminar:

1) Wednesday, February 21, 2018 from 5 - 6 PM  Multi-Use Building (MUB) 140

"Sgr A* Emission Parametrizations from GRMHD Simulations"

by Richard Anantua, Astronomy Department, UC Berkeley

Richard earned his PH.D at Stanford Universeity, and is a high-energy astrophysics postdoctoral fellow in Eliot Quataert’s group at UC Berkeley. He models Galactic Center emission near the vicinity of the central black hole, Sagittarius A*, using flexible parametrizations of the electron temperature, which is found from general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations to be highest in the disk-jet corona. He also introduces jet-motivated prescriptions generalizing equipartition of particle and magnetic energy. Plasma behavior in GRMHD accretion disk simulations inform semi-analytic calculations of images and spectra. Some models produce spectra and morphological features, e.g., photon rings, compatible with observations, e.g., from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).


2) Wednesday, February 21, 2018 from 6 - 7 PM   Multi-Use Building (MUB) 140

“Monks Under the Moon” His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has been interested in astronomy from a young age and has called Buddhist practice “the science of the mind.” He encourages monks and nuns to study science as another way of understanding the world. In the year 2000, the Science for Monks program began training senior monks and nuns in the background and practices of science – from biology to physics. Vivian White twice taught astronomy to this extraordinary community of learners and will share her experience under the stars with the monastics of the Himalayas. 

by Vivian White, Director of Free Choice Learning, Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Vivian volunteered with Project ASTRO more than a decade ago and fell hard for astronomy education while finishing her degree in physics. She administers the NASA Night Sky Network (NSN). A community of more than 425 amateur astronomy clubs across the country, NSN supports club outreach and events with an interactive website and webinars. She designs astronomy activities and demos specifically for informal settings, working with citizen scientists, Girl Scouts, Tibetan monks, and many others to expand the ways we learn astronomy out of school. 


3) Wednesday, March 14, 2018 3:30pm in Science Hall Room 100

"Meet the Neighbors: Searching for Nearby Planets with the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite" 

by Dr. Courtney D. Dressing, Assistant Professor of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley

The NASA Kepler mission revealed that our Galaxy is teeming with planetary systems and that Earth-sized planets are common, but most of the planets detected by Kepler orbit stars that are too faint to permit detailed study. Excitingly, the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is scheduled to launch this spring and find hundreds of small planets orbiting stars that are much closer and brighter. Unlike the Kepler planets, the TESS planets will be ideal targets for follow-up observations to determine their masses, compositions, and atmospheric properties. In-depth analyses of the TESS planets will allow us to probe the compositional diversity of small planets, investigate the formation of planetary systems, and set the stage for the next phase of exoplanet exploration: the quest for biosignatures in the atmospheres of strange new worlds.


4) Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 6 - 7 PM   MUB 140

"Another Pale Blue Dot: The SETI Institute’s Search for Exoplanets"

by Franck Marchis, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Unistellar and Senior Planetary Astronomer 
   & Exoplanets Research Group Chair at SETI Institute

In only two decades, we ‘ve gone from the mere speculation about planets beyond our solar system (“exoplanets) to being able to observe them through a variety of methods. Dr. Franck Marchis, Planetary Astronomer and chair of the exoplanet group at the SETI Institute will discuss new sophisticated projects which aim to image directly those exoplanets.  Future instruments could soon deliver an image of a cousin of Earth, or a another Pale Blue Dot, a planet similar to our own.

5)  Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 6 - 7 PM   MUB 140

"The Use of Internet-based Robotic Telescopes in a General Education Astronomy Course"

by Kim Coble, Associate Professor of Physics, SFSU

Kim earned her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics at University of Chicago, then was a postdoctral fellow at UC Santa Barbara and UChicago. Her research interests include cosmology as well as astronomy and physics education research. She studies how interacting with authentic scientific data affects introductory astronomy students’ attitudes toward science.


Future Speakers:

Thomas de Jaeger, Astronomy Department, UC Berkeley (proposed 4/25/18)

Bruce Macintosh, Professor of Physics, Stanford University (proposed 5/2/18)



Other Astronomy Events


Past Lectures

November 8, 2017

          "Introduction to Virtual Reality" by Paul Dravis, owner of FuturePerfect Machine


September 9 and 11, 2013

CCSF Student Alumni from UCSC and UC Berkeley

Goldstein, Nofi, Lange, Schumacker, and Kuznetsov


March 19, 2012

Dr. Tristan Smith, UC Berkeley

"Neutrinos in Cosmology"


September 12, 2011

Dr. Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere, UC Berkeley

"From the Big Bang to Stars, Galaxies, and Balck Holes"

May 13, 2011

Dr. Samantha Edgington, City College of San Francisco


May 6, 2011

Dr. James Gibson, City College of San Francisco


April 29, 2011

Dr. Peter Williams will discuss


April 22, 2011

Dr. Lancelot Kao, City College of San Francisco



April 15, 2011

Dr. Orkan Umurhan, City College of San Francisco



April 8, 2011

Dr. Alessando Airo-Farulla, City College of San Francisco



March 11, 2011

Dr. Claia Bryja, City College of San Francisco



November 18, 2005

Dr. Bill" Pezzaglia,

"Is E = mc² wrong or is something missing?"


October 12, 2005

Dr. Mark Hurwitz, Physics at Lick-Wilmerding High School

"The Puzzling Local Interstellar Medium"


November 21, 2002

Dr. Ben McCall, Miller Research Fellow, University of California Berkeley

"The Mystery of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands."

November 7, 2002

Dr. Gibor B Basari, Professor University of California Berkeley

"What Is A Planet?"


May 14, 2002

Dr. Chandra Vanajakshi, Consultant, NASA Ames Research Center

"Star Formation"

May 8, 2002

Dr. Adrienne Cool, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, SF State University

"High-Resolution X-Ray Studies of Globular Clusters with the Chandra Observatory"

December 12, 2001

Dr. Emily R. Morey-Holton, Chief Gravitational Research Branch, NASA Ames Research Center

"How Gravity Shapes Life"

November 28, 2001

Sarah Church, Assistant Professor of Physics, Stanford University

"The Afterglow of the Big Bang"

November 7, 2001

Dr. Susan Lea, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, SF State University

"Life After Death: The Story of Neutron Stars"

May 2, 2001

Jim Gibson, UC Berkeley Graduate Student

"Calibration of a Radio Telescope, and Why You Shoud Care"

April 27, 2001

Dr. Andrew Jaffe, UC Berkeley Center for Particle Astrophysics

"Thoroughly Modern Measurements of the Density and Curvature of the Universe."

March 16, 2001

Dr. Scott Severson, UC Santa Cruz Lick Observatory

"A Clearer View of the Universe: Adaptive Optics in Astronomy"

December 4, 2000

Dr. Van Dixon, UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory

"So Much Hot Air: Searching for Hot Gas in the Galaxy"