A Conversation with the Stars

Starting this academic year (2017-2018), the GCC planetarium will host a new lecture series.  Titled “A Conversation with the Stars,” each evening will allow a professional astronomer to converse with you about their area of expertise.  After the talk, the conversation will continue on the planetarium’s balcony, where telescopes will be set up to showcase the celestial sites of the Glendale Sky (weather permitting, naturally).  Light refreshments will be served.

The evening conversations are free, but because seating in the planetarium is limited, reservations are required. Please visit Brown Paper Tickets to reserve your seat.

We look forward to seeing you in the dome,

Your Planetarium Team


Friday, May 25th, 2018:  7:30 P.M. 

Dr. Ralph Bird is a currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, though he was once a nuclear safety engineer for Rolls-Royce Plc.  As cool as both civil and submarine power plants were, the lure of research pulled Dr. Bird towards the two fascinating instruments he now uses: GAPS (a balloon borne experiment searching for antinucleon cosmic rays) and VERITAS (a very-high-energy gamma ray telescope array).  

Studying cosmic rays, which are extremely fast moving subatomic particles, can tell astronomers a lot about the objects that produce them, and perhaps even how those objects are able to accelerate the particles to such high velocities.  Such awesome accelerating power must come from somewhere and Dr. Bird is working to understand the physics of such extreme environments.  

Dr. Bird also examines how very high energy gamma rays (electromagnetic radiation) that can be used to understand those cosmic rays.  In particular, by studying galactic gamma ray sources and searching for gamma ray as well as optical emission associated with fast bursts of radio energy, he hopes to constrain (and hopefully find!) dark matter through indirect observations. 

He’s got a lot of cool stuff to tell you about, so please join him, and the planetarium team on May 25th for a conversation about the universe.

Please join Dr. Bird at the Glendale Community College planetarium for a Conversation With the Stars.  Tickets for this free event can be acquired here.