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San Francisco Bay Area Popular Astronomy


The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley holds Saturday night star parties and has an excellent planetarium.

The Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, originally built in 1883, sponsors planetarium shows, and astronomy programs for K-12 teachers and students.

The California Academy of Sciences' Morrison Planetarium hosts a variety of astronomical events including the Dean lecture series and amateur observing nights, in addition to a wide variety of planetarium shows.

SF State runs the only planetarium in San Francisco

The East Bay Astronomical Society, founded in 1924 at the Chabot Observatory, publishes a monthly bulletin called The Refractor.

The Sonoma State University Dept of Physics and Astronomy holds monthly public viewing nights at the SSU Observatory and presents a weekly public lecture series, "What Physicists Do," on Monday afternoons.

The Mount Diabolo Astronomy Society publishes a newsletter, holds star parties, and hosts lectures on a regular basis. The Mt. Tamalpais State Park hosts a summer series of astronomy lectures. The Astronomy Association of Northern California is an umbrella organization encompassing nearly all of the amateur astronomy societies in the region. Their site includes an excellent calendar of events, a resource guide, and information on the conferences, swap meets, and other events they sponsor.

There are a number of local programs bringing astronomy to the classroom. Hands-on-Universe, a program which allows K-12 students to use automated telescopes for classroom projects, is centered at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley. Project Astro, which pairs professional and amateur astronomers to classroom teachers, is run by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, whose main office is in San Francisco. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific also distributes a teacher's newsletter and a comprehensive set of sky survey plates on CD-ROM called RealSky.

The Robert Ferguson Observatory of the Valley of the Moon Obervatory Association provides outreach opportunities north of the bay.

On a more professional note, the James Lick Observatory with its historic refractor optical telescope is located on Mt. Hamilton, east of San Jose.

The Hat Creek Radio Observatory with its 10-element millimeter wavelength interferometer is located north of Mt. Lassen in northern California.