Imagine a future when space travel is common-place and you can visit the planets. What will be the top tourist sights in our solar system? (This is an activity I like to have my students think about as they get near the end of my introduction to the planets class.)
If you are an astronomy fan, play the game yourself. What would you pick for those once-in-a-lifetime sights that future travelers may want to visit and photograph on a honeymoon trip or graduation journey?
For those of you who happen to be in Northern California on Saturday evening, June 20th, I will be revealing my favorites in a free public talk on Mt. Tamalpais just north of San Francisco. (My first-ever outdoor lecture with slides!)
For those elsewhere, I'll give you a sample. Some of my favorite stops include the 4,000-mile lava channel on Venus (always a good planet for a hot time), the towering Mount Olympus volcano on Mars (three times the height of Mount Everest), the awesome Verona Cliffs on the moon Miranda (which are the tallest “lover’s leap” in the solar system), and the recently discovered steam geysers on Saturn’s intriguing moon Enceladus (nicknamed “Cold Faithful.”)
After the lecture, there will be a laser-guided tour of the night sky by Paul Salazar and stargazing through the telescopes of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. This is an OUTDOOR venue, so we ask that people dress appropriately (it can get cold), and bring a flashlight to help find your way to and from the parking lots.
For more details, see: http://wonderfest.org/tourist-in-solar-system/
Admission is free, but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
For maps and directions, see: http://friendsofmttam.org/astronomy/directions-and-contact-information.html
If it looks like rain, please call the Mt. Tam hotline at 415-455-5370, after 4 pm. Since this is an outdoor event, it gets canceled if it is raining.
Our photo shows Saturn casting a shadow on its own sunlit rings in a view from the Cassini spacecraft.