Pasadena will revel in the excitement of space exploration and the city’s role on the world’s stage in advancing the astronomical sciences during the city’s first-ever Astronomy Week from October 16 to 22.
This week-long event will see a string of public events, open houses and talks that explore Pasadena’s rich history in the fields of astronomy and robotic space science, including world-renowned local institutions such as Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Carnegie Observatories, and others, according to the event’s website.
“It’s the center of the Universe here in Pasadena — I’m not really kidding in the sense that much of modern astronomy and astrophysics has happened here in Pasadena over the past century or past 120 years,” said Dr. Pat McCarthy, interim president of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization, the group responsible for building what will be the world’s biggest land-based telescope when it comes to fruition in 2022.
According to McCarthy, the idea of Astronomy Week started after a number of people from world-renowned institutions in Pasadena thought they should get together and bring awareness to, celebrate and recognize their shared heritage, the importance of Pasadena to astronomy and the importance of Pasadena to these institutions.
“[We want to] make sure everyone gets a chance to come out and meet astronomers, understand all the excitement that’s going on [in the field of astronomy] and in particular, take advantage of having all these luminary scientists in town next week to talk about the latest developments in the study of planets, not only around [our] sun, but around other stars as well” McCarthy said.
McCarthy went on to say a culture of science was first cultivated in Pasadena after scientists realized it had prime weather conditions for astronomical instruments.
“As the new world opened up, astronomy became a much bigger industry in the United States in part because technology drove so much development,” he said. “We saw astronomy established in the East Coast, moving to the Midwest and eventually, people started realizing that good atmospheric conditions are available in the Southwest of the United States, particularly in the coastal mountains of California.”
Astronomy Week will coincide with Innovate Pasadena’s third annual Connect Week, where emerging talents in the fields of design, start-up entrepreneurship, science and technology come together for a week of sharing ideas.
The week will culminate with the first ever Pasadena Astronomy Festival from 2-8 p.m. on October 22 at the Pasadena Convention Center located at 300 East Green Street.