Ask Nellie 

She's a telescope, and she knows

SAT 6/21

For centuries, human beings have found mystery, solace, and seduction in the vast night skies. Looking up, one gets the sense of being wrapped in a giant obsidian blanket with millions of Christmas tree lights strung high, winking and flirting at us from miles beyond our tiny planet. The night sky's massive presence leads many of us to question the whos, wheres, whens, and especially the whys of existence. For a smaller group, the mystery of the universe demands exploration, and the answers to questions -- even the teasing ones. When was the last time you stood and raised your eyeballs high to the sky? Perhaps you weren't bowled over with revelations or a sense of purpose, but I'll bet it made you smile. Smile again this Saturday, June 21, from 8 p.m. till midnight at the Chabot Space & Science Center's public unveiling of Nellie, its new 36-inch, 12,000-lb. Cassegrain reflector telescope, which allows viewers to traverse the cosmos with the greatest of ease. 10000 Skyline Blvd. in Oakland. Tickets: $8 for adults, $5.50 for youths and seniors. Box office: 510-336-7373. -- Justine Nicole

MON 6/23


Surf's their turf

Once kids of either gender learn to swim and show love and respect for the ocean, they can set out for some serious fun with surfing lessons from girlsAdventureOUT -- a nonthreatening environment for all beginning surfers eight to sixteen. The experienced instructors cover everything from judging waves to what wetsuit to wear in the chilly waters off Pacifica's Linda Mar Beach, and if the beginner wants to go further, there are several four-day surf camps this summer. But first try a one-day clinic like the one this Monday. Want to know more? Log onto -- Kelly Vance


Tectonic Park

UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science is opening a new outdoor science park called Forces That Shape the Bay , with hands-on exhibits on earthquake fault lines, water flow, and rock compression, plus stunning 180-degree views of the Bay Area -- and LHS throws a party this weekend to celebrate. There'll be gospel music, Mexican dance, and kite flying on Saturday; bagpipes, jazz, a steel band, and Native-American games on Sunday. You can even feel the earth move under your feet with the new Earthquake Fault Simulator. Admission: $8 adults, $6 youth, $4 little kids, under 3 free. For more info: 510-642-5132 or -- Kelly Vance


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