Downtown Science Café @ Magpie's Gourmet Pizza

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The Amazing Moons of Our Solar System

We are all familiar with our Moon, the Earth’s Moon, that lights up our night sky and cycles through our lives. But many of us don't know much about the other moons in our solar system, moons that orbit other planets like Saturn and Jupiter. These days, scientists are especially interested in those other moons. Many of the most exciting recent discoveries in planetary science are connected to those other moons. Some of them even look like prime candidates for microbial life!  Discover the wondrous moons of our solar system in this new Science Cafe series.



Fall 2017 Schedule of Talks:

Tuesday, September 19, 6:00 p.m.
Our New View of the Moon

Dr. Lynn CarterPresenter: Lynn Carter, Associate Professor, UA Lunar & Planetary Laboratory

We’re all familiar with the Moon that shines in our night sky, and yet scientists are still trying to figure out the origins of some of its puzzling features. In recent years, spacecraft and telescope observations have revealed that our moon is a more dynamic and exciting place than we thought. These new, high-resolution images also highlight the striking beauty of our nearest planetary neighbor. Come learn about our Moon, and launch into this new Science Cafe series about the moons of the Solar System!

Tuesday, October 10,  6:00 p.m.
Jupiter's Moons:  Io is Hot and Europa's Ocean May Harbor Life

Dr. Alfred McEwenPresenter: Alfred McEwen, Professor, Planetary Geology, UA Lunar & Planetary Laboratory

An astonishing 67 moons orbit the giant gas planet Jupiter. Four of them are planet-size Moons discovered by Galileo 1610: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.  Due to the nature of their orbits, Io and Europa undergo tidal heating.  On the surface of Io, hundreds of high-temperature silicate eruptions cover the surface.  Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto have subsurface water layers or “oceans" beneath their icy surfaces that may provide the right environment for microbial life.   Europa presents an especially promising environment for extra-terrestial life. To discover more, NASA is developing the Europa Clipper mission and studying a possible Europa Lander.   Learn about the fascinating moons of Jupiter at this  month’s Science Café!

Professor Alfred McEwen's Downtown Science Café Video: 


Tuesday, November 21, 6:00 p.m.
The Moons of Saturn:  Conditions for Life?

Bashar RizkPresenter: Bashar Rizk, Senior Staff Scientist, UA Lunar & Planetary Laboratory

Saturn is known for its rings, but it also has 62 moons that orbit around it, and some of them are especially intriguing. The giant moon Titan is larger than the planet Mercury, with a nitrogen rich atmosphere and liquid hydrocarbons on  the surface. Enceledus, a large orb of frozen water, emits jets of water vapor from the liquid ocean below its icy surface, an ocean that may contain the ingredients for life beyond Earth. Come discover the wondrous Moons of Saturn at this month’s Science Café.

Bashar Rizk's Downtown Science Café Video: 

Tuesday, December 12, 6:00 p.m.
Cold and Curious:  Pluto and Its Moons

Tod LauerPresenter: Tod Lauer, Astronomer, National Optical Astronomy Observatory

When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached the dwarf planet Pluto in the Summer of 2015, it was the first time we were able to see close-up images of Pluto and its five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra. Charon, by far the most massive of Pluto’s moons, is covered by frozen water, and its gravity tugs powerfully on Pluto. The other four smaller moons are all elongated instead of spherical, and they rotate chaotically as they orbit Pluto. Discover what New Horizons revealed about Pluto and its moons in this Science Café!

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