2024 Summer Series Public Events have been scheduled!
Event Information

Evening with the Stars. Photo (c) Laurie Hatch.

July 21st, 2023  8:30pm

Astronomy Speaker:  Howard Isaacson

Lecture Information

Howard Isaacson (University of California, Berkeley)

Searching for Life Beyond the Earth: Solar System Moons, Exoplanet Atmospheres, and Technosignatures

Howard Isaacson
What will be the next big discovery in Astronomy? In the last few years, we have heard of discoveries of gravitational waves, and had images of black holes using Earth sized telescopes, but what lies beyond the next horizon? In this talk, I will describe the three ways that astronomers will search (and possibly detect!) life beyond the Earth. Within the solar system, water oceans are hidden below layers of ice on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.  With our ability to send spacecraft to make direct measurements, molecular life may be the next exciting discovery within the solar system.  Beyond our solar system, we know of thousands of extra-solar planets and we think that nearly every star in the sky has a planet around it.  Some of those will be similar in size, mass and temperature to the Earth. If we can measure oxygen in the atmospheres of those planets, it might be the next great discovery. Or: Using the most powerful radio telescopes on the Earth, we are capable of receiving the faintest of radio signals from across the galaxy. If such a signal originated from some sort of recognizable technology, it would be direct evidence that We Are Not Alone in the galaxy.  Come to hear more about finding Life Beyond the Earth!
Growing up under the dark skies of the Rocky Mountains, Howard Isaacson moved to San Francisco to pursue a degree in Physics and Astronomy at San Francisco State University. During that time he made frequent visits to Lick Observatory to collect data on the Shane 3m telescope and Coude Auxiliary Telescope (CAT) in search of planets around other stars, exoplanets.  A research career at UC Berkeley followed, in which he worked on NASA’s Kepler, K2, and TESS missions, collecting supporting data from the Keck Telescope on the Big Island of Hawaii and Maunakea. His daydreams are now filled with the possibility of life beyond the Earth.

Ticket Information

Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite starting May 8th, 2023 at Noon.

Join Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) and Get Tickets Early
If you’d like to purchase tickets as early as noon on April 27th, 2023, join our Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) program by March 1st, 2023. As a thank you for supporting the observatory, you’ll get special access to purchase tickets before they go on sale for the general public.

More information about tickets and pricing is available here.

Program Information

7:30 pm Doors Open Brief Telescope Visits
8:30 pm Science Talk, Lecture Hall History Talk, Great Refractor Telescope Dome
9:30 pm Science Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
10:30 pm History Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
1:00 am Doors Close

Gift shop is open from 7:30pm until 11:30pm.

Detailed Event Program

More general information about the event is available at Evening with the Stars.