Observatory Visitor Night

Over 100 people gathered around the UC Irvine Observatory behind University Hills on Friday, Nov. 2. A solid layer of gray clouds blocked any attempt at seeing the stars, but the clouds and the chill didn’t keep some observatory enthusiasts from taking the shuttle from the Engineering Parking Structure. After a short hike on a dirt road, one could grab a log and listen to a lecture by post-doctoral astronomy researcher Brian Marsteller.
With a laptop and a projector mounted on his own log, Marsteller spoke about the evolution of stars. With diagrams showing the chemical composition of the shell of a star, he explained its life as a series of phases of chemical change.
‘Hydrogen and helium then turn into carbon, carbon produces neon, neon produces oxygen, oxygen produces sulfur and silicon and those eventually produce iron,’ Marsteller said, using a laser pointer to demonstrate the concentric spheres composing a star.
‘And so you have this onion shell