Solar Beacon Heliostats to be displayed at the Art in Science Gala

The Heliostats that were used to create the art installation called “Solar Beacon” will be displayed at the upcoming Art in Science Gala, November 1 and 2 at the Berkeley Arts Festival Gallery (admission is FREE).

The Heliostats were mounted on the top of the two Golden Gate Bridge Towers and reflected sunlight around the Bay Area during the summer of 2012 in honor of the Bridge’s
75th anniversary. Observers could make appointments online to have the light directed at them at a specific time and location. This is no longer possible, now that the
Heliostats are off the bridge, but you can see them up close  at the Gala. Details of
the artwork can be found at and the Gala at

Solar Beacon from Baker Beach

Solar Beacon from Baker Beach

Heliostat on South TowerHeliostat on South Tower

Welcome to the New SSL web site

This is the new Space Sciences Lab home page. Most of the content (pages) is from the current site. With this new site researchers are posting short 1 or 2 paragraphs about their work. This would be displayed here, on the SSL home page. These posts would be something to show off the work that is happening here at the lab to the public. As well as other public lab happenings.

View of a primitive meteorite

This shows an image of a primitive meteorite* overlaid with a color image showing the chemical composition.  Red represents aluminum, green represents magnesium, and blue represents calcium.  The red/green stripes on the right side are an object called a chondrule.  These are small rocks formed by some unknown event early in the formation of the solar system.  Whatever the nature of the event, it produced a plethora of millimeter sized molten droplets that rapidly crystallized into spherical and nearly spherical shapes in outer space.  The bar-like pattern you see in this chondrule tells us that it cooled much more rapidly than other materials, but not so fast as to form “dendritic” patterns which look like snowflakes.  By understanding this chondule and others, scientists at SSL and elsewhere hope to reconstruct the tumultuous formation of our solar system.  Someday we may even understand the formation of the planets themselves.
* For folks interested in details, this meteorite is Parnallee, an LL 3.6.  The B&W image is a backscatter electron image using the Tescan Vega3 SEM, and the chemical map was acquired using an Oxford X-ray detector.

Catching Shadows: A Transit Census

SSL Colloquium will be given by Prof. Natalie Batalha of San Jose State University.
The title of the talk is: Catching Shadows: A Transit Census. The colloquium will take place in the Addition conference room at 3pm today, Friday, October 28th.
As usual, coffee, tea, and snacks will be waiting for you 20 min before the talk.

For those who need to take the Hill shuttle, it leaves from Hearst Mining Circle at 2:40pm.