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Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Pass 1 Million Views on YouTube

Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 16:40

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures at Foothill College in Los Altos, California, just passed the milestone of one million views on its YouTube channel.

The series of popular lectures, explaining the latest discoveries and ideas in astronomy in everyday language, features noted astronomers from California and around the country. Recent speakers have included Carolyn Porco, imaging team leader for the Cassini mission to Saturn; Robert Kirshner of Harvard and Alex Filippenko of Berkeley, both members of the teams that discovered, to everyone's surprise, that the expansion of the universe is accelerating; astronaut Ed Lu speaking about discovering asteroids that threaten the Earth; and NASA's Jeff Moore, from the New Horizons science team, explaining what we have discovered about Pluto.

The series will begin its 17th year in October 2016. The lectures are jointly sponsored by NASA's Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the Foothill College Astronomy Department. All four organizations work together in selecting speakers, doing publicity, and donating the labor and expense of running the lectures.

Between 400 and 900 people attend each lecture in person; the YouTube channel has more than 11,000 subscribers, and total worldwide viewing of the recorded lecture videos grows by thousands of viewers each month. The series is organized and moderated by Andrew Fraknoi, Chair of Astronomy at Foothill College. An anonymous donor makes it possible to record and professionally edit each lecture, recently in high definition.

The lectures are also available as audio podcasts.

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