As each month passes, the sun "moves" to a new sign of the zodiac, and our evening sky reveals a new region of the universe for us to explore. This year we are offering a series of twelve evenings of exploration at RFO, called "Your Universe". Each month will be dedicated to a different zodiacal constellation, its neighbors, planets, prominent deep space objects, and just enough astrophysics to bring it together.
After the classroom program, weather permitting, we will step out under beautiful dark skies to locate the constellations and other objects discussed. Then we will move to RFO's three main telescopes (an 8" refractor, a 40" reflector, and a 20" astrophotography system) for deeper examinations. Sales are limited to 35 guests so we can provide a more personal experience. You will have plenty of time at the telescope eyepieces, and as always, the observatory will be staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers eager to show you the night sights, and answer any questions you may have.
Please join us for this year's trip around the Sun and learn more about "Your Universe".
$50.00 per adult, $45 for students and seniors (62+) and $40 for members. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park parking fees are included.
Classes are held at The Robert Ferguson Observatory. You do not need to pay the park day use fee to attend the class.
You MUST have a ticket to attend this event. Attendance is limited. Please note that tickets are non-refundable and cannot be used for future events.
Please note, members receive a 20% discount. If you'd like to become a member, please fill out a member application form and you will be sent a promotional code to use when purchasing tickets.
Tuesday, January 24, 7:00 pm
Motion in the Night Sky
Using Star Charts, Planospheres
Zodiac, Ecliptic, obliquity, precession, Epoch, etc
The Solar System's Zoo (planets, dwarf planets, minor planets, comets, meteors...)
Taurus, Orion, Canis Major & Minor, Winter Hexagons
Tuesday, February 14, 7:00 pm
The Life of Stars & the Galactic Zoo
Star forming nebula, open clusters, planetary nebula, SNR
Brown dwarf, Red Giants
Gemini, Auriga, Lepus, Camelapardalis , Kemble’s Cascade
Tuesday, March 21, 7:30 pm
Reading Between the Lines , Spectroscopy & Photometry
The HR Diagram
Variable and Binary stars
Cancer, Lynx, Hydra
Tuesday, April 18, 7:30 pm
The Cosmic Distance Ladder
Transit of Venus, measuring the Solar System
Standard candles: Cephid variables, Type 1A super nova,
Redshift, expansion of the Universe
Leo, Leo Minor, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor
Tuesday, May 16, 8:00 pm
Scale of the Universe
Distance to the planets, AU
Nearest stars, lightyear
Farthest Galaxies, Z
Size of the Universe
Virgo, Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, Corvus, Crater, Sextans
Tuesday, June 20, 8:00 pm
Dead Stars and Other Exotics
Nova, Super Nova
White dwarf, neutron stars
Pulsars, Magnetars, X-ray & gamma ray sources
Libra, Bootes, Draco, Corona Borealis
Tuesday, July 18, 8:00 pm
Gravity and Black Holes
What is gravity?
How stellar black holes form
Super massive black holes
Scorpius, Ophiucus, Serpens, Hercules
Venus - crescent at 8:00 pm
Tuesday, August 15, 8:00 pm
The Milky Way
Structure, arms, bulge, halo, central black hole
Dust, dark lanes, dark nebula
Where we are, where other objects are
Local group, LMC, SMC, merger
Sagittarius, Scutum, Lyra, Aquila, Summer Triangle
Tuesday, September 12, 7:30 pm
Formation. evolution, merger
Capricornus, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Delphinus, Sagitta
Tuesday, October 17, 7:30 pm
Gravity Waves and Non-Visible Telescopes
Aquarius, Cepheus, Pegasus, Great Square of Pegasus
Tuesday, November 14, 7:00 pm
The Big Bang
Pisces, Andromeda, Cassaiopeia
Tuesday, December 12, 7:00 pm
The End of the Universe
The shape of space, Einstein's Eclipse, Gravitational lensing
Aries, Cetus, Perseus, Triangulum
RFO is operated by the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association, a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization, and all of the proceeds will go towards maintaining this beloved Sonoma county institution.