Bill Murray

Dr. Jacob Hamer

Assistant Curator, Planetarium Education, NJ State Museum

NJ State Museum Planetarium

June 13, 2023

The June, 2023 meeting of the AAAP will take place on Tuesday, June 13th at 7:30 PM. The location, as has been the club’s tradition for many years excepting the recent pandemic years, is the planetarium of the NJ State Museum in Trenton. This special academic year-end meeting is traditionally hosted AAAP’s longtime member, current Outreach Chair, and planetarium staffer Bill Murray. This year’s presentation will be given by Bill’s new boss at the planetarium, Dr. Jacob Hamer. This event is free to attend. All are welcome!

The museum’s address is 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. There is plenty of free parking behind the museum, near the planetarium entrance.

Dr. Hamer will talk of the legacy of the Arecibo radio telescope and present a preview of the planetarium’s new sky show projected onto the dome by its recently refurbished projection equipment. This is an IN-PERSON ONLY event; you must be present in the planetarium to experience the program and participate in the meeting’s agenda. There will be no option to zoom at this meeting, nor will there be a recorded version to play back later.

June Meeting Agenda
(Times are approximate)

Dr. Jacob Hamer

Dr. Hamer received a B.A. in Physics and in Mathematics from the CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in New York City, New York in 2017. While he was at Hunter College, he carried out research on galaxy evolution at the American Museum of Natural History. Jacob then completed his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics at Johns Hopkins University in 2022. Jacob’s doctoral research focused on exoplanets, planets orbiting stars other than our Sun, the first of which orbiting a Sun-like star was discovered the day Jacob was born. He investigated how short-period exoplanets and their stars interact, and how those systems evolve over time. In February 2023, Jacob joined the NJ State Museum as Assistant Curator of Planetarium Education.

60 Years of Discoveries with the Arecibo Observatory

The Arecibo Observatory was founded in 1963 to study the ionosphere; its ability to carry out radio astronomy was merely a secondary benefit. But over the next 60 years Arecibo would become an astronomical powerhouse. It made important discoveries in planetary science as well as in the study of small solar system bodies. It also allowed astronomers to observe the raw material that will form the next generations of stars. Perhaps its most famous contributions to the field concerned the extreme fate of some high mass stars; its observations of pulsars would lead to not one but two Nobel Prizes. Finally, Arecibo allowed astronomers to consider the question “Are we alone?”.

As always, your comments and suggestions are gratefully accepted.