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Ucla Lecture 4/23 & 5/14

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At 2:30 on Sunday April 23 the speaker at our Gallery Event is Dr. Steve Chesley, Senior Research Scientist at JPL. Steve is an expert at calculating accurate orbits for asteroids and comets, including the assessment of the risks of impact with the Earth. The title of his talk is: “The orbit of Bennu, the target of the OSIRIS-REx mission to sample a carbonaceous-chondrite asteroid”.

Summary:  The Osiris Rex mission will rendezvous with Asteroid Bennu in 2018 and spend 1.5 years mapping the surface. It will then sample the surface and return 60-2000 g to Earth in 2023. It is the first US asteroid sampling mission. Thanks to radar ranging observations over 12 years, Bennu has the most precise orbit in the asteroid catalog and, with Earth impact odds around 1 in 2700 late in the 22rd century, it is among the more threatening asteroids known. Modeling of the so-called Yarkovsky effect on Bennu through the use of radar and infrared observations has allowed a precise estimate of the mass and bulk density; this is the first such estimate not based on gravitational interaction with other bodies.  The safe sampling of an asteroid regolith without landing requires very careful navigation.

The lecture this month is at our new location: Geology 3656, just 40 yards west of the UCLA Meteorite Gallery. This is a larger and more comfortable room than our previous venue in Slichter, and about the same distance.


Our next Gallery Lecture will occur on Sunday May 14 (Mother’s Day). The speaker is UCLA Professor Kevin McKeegan, the previous chair of the EPSS Department. He will speak on “The Great American Eclipse of 2017“. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible in the continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. During a total eclipse the Sun is completely hidden by the Moon, the sky becomes dark, and the faint atmosphere (corona) becomes visible—looking like a beautiful halo. The eclipse will be total along a track stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.  In Los Angeles the eclipse will be only partial with 2/3 of the Sun being eclipsed.  I will discuss a few historically important eclipses, some general eclipse phenomena, and where and how to view the total eclipse. 

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Good info Mitchel, thanks.... If you happen to talk to Dr Steve Chesley, could you ask him if he could calculate meteorite falls during dark flight?

  I will be in Salem Oregon during the eclipse, to get total eclipse, going to send the drone up, and get some shots from 400 feet up...


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I might go to Wyoming but I'll have to make plans.

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