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Astronomy Program

Join us in the 2018 Astronomy Lecture Series & Public Telescope Viewing at the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre

FREE ADMISSION. Be on time for the start of the lectures. Park gate will close at sunset. You must exhibit a permit on your vehicle. Get your permit here: Mt. Tam Astronomy Permits

Dress in layers, bring a flashlight, and carpool if possible.

HOTLINE: 415-455-5370            

June 16, 8:00pm - MISSION: MARS  - Pascal Lee, Planetary Scientist, Mars & SETI Institutes ---We are making progress globally — from the Arctic to Antarctica, from basement labs to the International Space Station — to achieve the first human voyage to Mars. Come explore the what, why, how, when, and who of our first journey to the Red Planet.

July 14, 8:00pm - Life in the Goldilocks Zone - Natalie Batalha, Research Astronomer, NASA Ames Research Center ---Discoveries by NASA’s Kepler Mission suggest there are billions of potentially habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. What has the study of planets within and beyond the Solar System taught us about our own planet Earth? And what’s next in the search for life beyond the Solar System?

July 28, 7:30pm - MOVIE NIGHT Screening of the 1995 science fiction film APOLLO 13 ---1995 award winning film dramatizes the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission. Screening followed by expose of “fake” science in the film by Jeffrey Silverman and Kishore Hari from Science VS Cinema.

Aug 18, 8:00pm - The Modern Origins Story - Eliot Quataert, Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley ---Our story begins in the remarkably simple early universe, devoid of the complexity around us today. Come learn how the universe has evolved to its current state from simple beginnings: how gravity reigns supreme and builds up the planets, stars, and galaxies required for biological evolution to proceed.

Sept 23, 7:30pm - Searching for Aliens, Finding Ourselves - Jill Tarter, Research Chair, SETI Institute ---Are we alone? Humans have been asking this question throughout history. Since the middle of the 20th century, we have had tools that permit us to explore this question scientifically. As we look up and look out, we are forced to see ourselves from a cosmic perspective. This perspective is fundamental to finding a way to sustain life on Earth for the long future.

Oct 28, 7:00pm - Gravitational Waves and the Glow of Cosmic Gold - Dr. Adrian Liu, Research Associate Professor, UC Berkeley ---In October 2017, Earthlings detected gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space time — from the violent merger of two ultra-dense neutron stars. The signals showed that collision debris self-assembled into heavy elements, such as gold and platinum, providing an explanation for the cosmic origin of these special materials.


Guided Walks and Hikes

Join Mt Tamalpais hike docents for a hike along the trails of Mt Tamalpais. Enjoy outdoor exercise while learning about the cultural and natural history of the park. Hikes include a lunch/snack stop.

Come prepared! Wear good hiking shoes/boots. Bring plenty of water, lunch and snacks.

Hikes Rating
[E] - Easy 3 to 5 miles, slower paced hike. With less than a 1000' elevation gain.
[R] - Regular, moderately paced, about 5 to 7 miles, may have up to 1500’ elevation gain.
[M] - Moderate, 7 to 10 miles, quicker paced hike. Over hilly, rocky terrain. With up to a 2,200' elevation gain.
[C] - Challenging, moderately paced hike, 10-18 miles long, all terrain, with higher than 2,000 feet elevation gain.

No pets allowed unless otherwise stated.

June 2018

Saturday, June 2 @9:30am from Pantoll trailhead. "Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing" with docent Nancy Benjamin ---What is Shinrin-Yoku? First developed in Japan, learn more about the practice and healing benefits of "forest bathing" to engage your senses with a gentle, guided hike to the Mountain Theatre. Please pack a brimmed hat, a small towel or mat for sitting, and water. This walk is offered in collaboration with the Healthy Parks Healthy People Bay Area program. Easy

Saturday, June 2 @9:30am from Rock Spring parking lot. "West Point Inn and California State Rock" with docent Pat Ernsberger ---We will have a loop hike along Rock Spring trail, Old Stage,and Bootjack or Easy Grade back. We will show and talk about our state rock - the lovely serpentine rock featured in some of the most dramatic landscapes on the mountain. Regular

Sunday, June 3rd @9:30 from Pantoll trailhead. "Finding Community in the Redwood" with docent Lizzy Silverstein --- Learn about the incredible communities Redwoods build, not just amongst themselves but with other plants and animals in Mt. Tam! This is an easy loop hike: from Pantoll you will descend the Alpine Trail to Van Djick Meadows and take the TCC trail to loop back from Dipsea and Old Mine Trails. Great redwoods habitat and views of the ocean!

Evening Hike! Wednesday, June 6 @6pm from Rock Spring parknig lot. "Wild Azaleas" with docent Karen Sapper ---A favorite trail along Cateract Creek. A rest at Bart's Retreat. Enjoy the scented Wild Azaleas. Moderate

Saturday, June 9 @9:30am from Stinson Beach Parking lot. Hike with docent Santi Abascal. Moderate.

Evening Hike! Wednesday, June 13 @6pm from Mt Home parking lot. "West Point Inn" with docent Franklin Young ---Hike up to West Point Inn and talk about its name and its history. We'll take the Railroad grade back to Mt Home Regular

Saturday, June 16 @9:30am from Bootjack trailhead. "Muir Woods" with docent Franklin Young ---Hike down to Muir Woods and talk about historical events that have occurred in this special setting. Moderate

Sunday, June 17 @9:30am from Mt Home parking lot. "Mountain Views" with docent Tom Dewey ---Hike to the top of Mt Tam with views of San Francisco, Mt Diablo and the Pacific Ocean along the way Moderate

Evening Hike! Wednesday, June 20 @6pm from East Ridgecrest Blvd at the intersection with Miller trail. "Last Evening of Spring" with docent Brendan Hickey ---Circling two peaks and pausing at Inspiration Point. Let's take a lovely walk into dusk, to listen and reflect and drink it all in. Easy

Saturday, June 23 #4 from Rock Spring parking lot. "Nuts About Woodpeckers" with docent Brendan Hickey ---Let's explore the patently weird social mores of the Acorn Woodpecker and trade tales of its massive cousin, the Pileated. We'll get in a nice 5-hour hike on some lesser-trod trails in this first-weekend-of-summer hike. Moderate

Sunday, June 24 @9:30am from Rock Spring parking lot. "Mt Tam Microclimates/adaptive native plants" with docent Tom Dewey ---Explore a variety of microclimates and magical moments among the many pathways of Mt Tamalpais. Enjoy new knowledge of variety of endemic and adaptive species found on our magic mountain. Regular

Sunday, June 24 @11am from Rock Spring trailhead. "Spirit and Nature" with docent Tina Meinig ---Nature provides many spiritual benefits that can help us in today's frantic world. Discover the mystery of it can awaken our senses, quiet our minds and open our hearts. Explore the sacredness of MT. Tam as the Miwok Indians did centuries ago and as the animals do today. Easy

Moonrise/Evening Hike! Wednesday, June 27 @6pm from Mt Home parking lot. Co-Led by docent Sue Karp and park interpreter Rosanna Petralia. Walk along the Matt Davis and Nora trails to the West Point Inn and back the Old Railroad Grade fire road for great views of the Bay Area. We will share thoughts and stories along the way and watch the full moon rising! We will be back at twilight. Please, bring water, snack, flashlight (just in case) and hiking poles if needed. Regular.

Saturday, June 30 @9:30am from the Quarry Parking Lot.  "Mt Tam Plant Communities" with docent Brendan Hickey ---So much diversity in such a compact footprint! We'll pay witness to some of Mt. Tam's bounty as we move from grassland to chapparal to Coastal Redwood to oak stands. Bring your walking shoes, as we hope to cover a fair stretch of terrain. Quiet north side, lotsa shade. Moderate