October Meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society 10/24

 

On October 24th the FAS will have its next regularly scheduled meeting at 7:30 pm in our usual conference room at Kaleideum North, 400 Museum Dr Winston Salem, NC. We will be hosting a video presentation entitled “Return to the Moon”, an episode from the BBC series “The Sky at Night”. A follow up discussion will proceed if any questions arise from the video.

Following the presentation portion, we will have a brief business/planning meeting and as always, there will be an informal social gathering 30 minutes or so before the meeting. Come early for the best choice of doughnuts.  All meetings are open to the public, free of charge and all are welcome. Hope to see you there.

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Last Observation at Stone Mountain State Park for this Season 10/14

Update 10/14: The weather prediction for this evening has changed dramatically over the last 12 hours or so and we have rescinded our cancellation for this evenings event, especially with it being our last event at this venue for the year. We are a GO folks!!! Come out and enjoy some dark sky wonders.

Update 10/13: We are CANCELLING the observation planned for tomorrow evening due to adverse conditions. There is a large cloud formation lingering on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, couple that with the heavy humidity from recent weather activity and conditions just aren’t conducive to having a decent observation. Hopefully we will have better luck next year. Our next public observing opportunity will be on November 11th at Pilot Mountain state park, more info on that event as the date approaches.

 

This Saturday October 14th, the Forsyth Astronomical Society will host its last observation at Stone Mountain State Park for the 2017 season in the family camping area. This is primarily an event for the campers of the park but the public is welcome to attend. This event used to be a lock in style event but changes to park regulations allow for visitors entrance and egress as they please. Saturn will be visible early in the evening. As darkness proceeds we can show you various star clusters, binary star systems, several different nebulae and even several galaxies. With the moon not rising till very late this should be a great dark sky opportunity, if the clouds stay away. This IS a weather dependant event and a final weather call will be made by midday Friday Oct 13. This post and the club’s Facebook page will be updated to reflect that weather call.

As of this posting the weather is forecast to be partly cloudy and lows in the mid to low 60’s. You may want to have a light jacket available. With as warm as it has been of late, you will most definitely want insect repellent. Please refrain from spraying repellent near scopes or other optic devices. Repellents are usually sticky and can damage the precision optical surfaces. Please refrain from using flashlights or cell phones in the observation area. Once your eyes dark adapt, I promise you, you will be able to see fine to navigate around. If you have need to find something ask a member and they can use a red flashlight to help you. Please note the observation site on the campsite map below. Access to the site can be gained via a grassy path between sites 35 and 36. If you are a non camping attendee please park at the bathhouse near the observation site or along the grassy median away from campsites along the main road.  Please be respectful and do not walk through other’s campsites.

Sone_Mtn_Site

A reminder to attending club members: This location is prone to HEAVY dew. Please keep this in mind and adjust your equipment strategy accordingly.

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Young Astronomers Newsletter October 2017

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

YoungAstroLogo

The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 25 Number 10 October 2017

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

In this month’s edition of the newsletter Bob discusses:

  • A close call with an upcoming asteroid.
  • The dramatic demise of the Cassini Space Probe.
  • Names the IAU are proposing for some of the detailed features found in our recent Pluto fly-by.
  • Interesting findings recently confirmed about the major Jovian moons.
  • A study by the University of California finds something interesting that can help in the search and us understand of gravity waves.
  • A recent article in Astronomy Magazine about a few types of  cosmic dust.
  • Updates on the search for Planet X.
  • The Kepler Space telescope has yielded its final findings for possible exoplanets.
  • Hurricane Maria has inflicted significant damage to the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.
  • Astronomical Birthdays for October.
  • Celestial happenings for the month.
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FAS September Show and Tell, Eclipse Style 9/26

The next meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society will be at Kaleideum North on Tuesday September 26th at 7:30 pm. This month’s program will be a show and tell format for members to share their media and experiences from last month’s eclipse This will include images from our local events as well as those that traveled to the path of totality.  The presentation will be held in the Kaleideum auditorium. We have a total of 13 different presenters which, I’m sure, will all give their own unique take on their experience.  To get a taste for what’s going to be offered, all the pictures in this post are from members that will be presenting.

Following the presentation portion, we will have a brief business/planning meeting and as always, there will be an informal social gathering 30 minutes or so before the meeting. Come early for the best choice of doughnuts.  All meetings are open to the public, free of charge and all are welcome. Hope to see you there.

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Public Observation at Kaleideum North on Saturday September 23rd

Update 9/22: We are a GO!!! The weather looks to be cooperating for a change. Come on out and enjoy an evening of learning about our night sky’s wonders.

This Saturday September 23rd the Forsyth Astronomical Society will host a public observation event at our home base, Kaleideum North. Sunset is 7:16pm for Saturday. We will have telescopes set up and begin observations as darkness allows. Night sky treats that we’ll be able to show you will include Saturn, the Moon and possibly Jupiter early in the evening. As the evening progresses and the sky gets darker we can share several types of star clusters both open and globular, different types of nebulae and possibly even a few faint galaxies in some of  the members larger telescopes. Weather thus far is predicted to be great for that evening but there will be a final weather call posted here and on our Facebook page on the Friday before. You may also call Kaleideum after 5pm to receive an automated message that will include that weather call. Hope to see you there.

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Stone Mountain State Park Observation 9/16 Cancelled

 

The observation at Stone Mountain State Park for this evening has been canceled due to adverse weather conditions. Our next observation opportunity will be next weekend at Kaleideum North on Saturday September 23rd. There will be a more detailed posting on that event early next week. The next observation at Stone Mountain State Park wily be October 14. Hopefully weather will cooperate for those future events.

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Young Astronomers Newsletter September 2017

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

YoungAstroLogo

The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 25 Number 9 September 2017

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

In this month’s edition of the newsletter Bob discusses:

  • A reminder of the upcoming plunge the Cassini probe will make into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15th.
  • A close flyby of an asteroid coming in October.
  • The 40th anniversary of the  Voyager I & II probes.
  • A recap of some findings from further study of data the New Horizons mission has presented about Pluto.
  • September celestial happening.
  • Astronomical birthdays for September.
  • Astro facts: Stellar magnitudes and what they mean. How to locate the Andromeda Galaxy in the fall sky. This is easily seen object to see with binoculars or even naked eye viewing from a dark sky spot.
  • A basic fall sky star chart to help you locate fall constellations.
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Observation at Stone Mountain State Park for Campers Saturday August 26: CANCELED

This event has been canceled due to adverse weather. 

This Saturday August 26th, the Forsyth Astronomical Society will host an observation in the family camping area of Stone Mountain State Park. This is primarily an event for the campers of the park but the public is welcome to attend. This event used to be a lock in style event but recent park regulations allow for visitors entrance and egress as they please. The Moon and Saturn will be visible early in the evening. We will also be able to show you various star clusters, binary star systems and even a galaxy or two.

The conditions can vary from the surrounding areas at our mountain observing sites. The lows are slated for 60’s and mostly cloudy for the observation times. Guests may want to have a light jacket available. This time of the year you will most definitely want insect repellent. Please refrain from spraying repellent near scopes or other optic devices. Repellents are usually sticky and can damage the precision optical surfaces. Please refrain from using flashlights or cell phones in the observation area. Once your eyes dark adapted, I promise you, you will be able to see fine to navigate around. If you have need to find something ask a member and they can use dark adaption safe a red flashlight to help you. Please note the observation site on the campsite map below. Access to the site can be gained via a grassy path between sites 33 and 34. If you are a non camping attendee please park at the bathhouse near the observation site or along the grassy median away from campsites along the main road.  Please be respectful and do not walk through other’s campsites.

A final rain call will be made for this event this afternoon. Please check here or our Facebook page for that information.

This event has been canceled due to adverse weather. 

Sone_Mtn_Site

A reminder to attending club members: This location is prone to HEAVY dew. Please keep this in mind and adjust your equipment strategy accordingly.

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August Meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society 8/22

I hope everyone had the opportunity to safely enjoy the eclipse. From early reports of our planned events and from those members that went on their own personal excursions, everyone had a wonderful event. Our September meeting will be dedicated to sharing our experiences and any media collected. Our next monthly meeting will be on August 22 at 7:30 PM at Kaleideum (formerly Sciworks) in Winston-Salem. The program for this month will be presented by club secretary Bruce Gavett and will be about recent developments regarding Saturn and the Cassini probe.

Following the presentation portion, we will have a brief business/planning meeting and as always, there will be an informal social gathering 30 minutes or so before the meeting. All meetings are open to the public, free of charge and all are welcome. Hope to see you there.

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I Hear There’s Something Celestially Special Happening this Month?

Just in case you’ve missed it on the multitude of news and social media outlets, there will be a total solar eclipse happening on Monday August 21st. Due to it’s path, slightly south of Salem,OR to just north of Charleston,SC, the entire United States will be able view this eclipse in some degree depending on each location’s distance from the center of totality. If you are not along the path of totality you will experience a partial solar eclipse; which will be the case locally for Winston-Salem. Here we will have 95% coverage of the sun. This means AT NO TIME is it safe to look at the eclipse directly without a proper filtering device. The moon will make “first contact”, when the moon’s disk and the sun’s disk first touch, with the sun at around 1:13 pm that day and will proceed to block the sun until it’s maximum coverage at around 2:41 pm. The moon will then recede from the sun’s disk until “fourth contact”, when the moon and sun’s disks are at last contact, at around 4:03 pm. Yes, we skip second and third contact due to our locale only having a partial eclipse. Second and third contact are references to when the moon enters total blockage of the solar disk and when it is soon to start to reveal the sun. You can get the exact time for eclipse specifics for your location via this interactive map. Zoom in and click your approximate location for details specific to your locale. Times are in Universal Time which can easily be converted via a web based time converter you can find using your favorite internet search engine, just remember to use Eastern Daylight Time instead of Eastern Standard.

To celebrate this momentous event, we have a few public outreach and education opportunities coming up to get you prepared and enjoy the event the day of.

First, on Wednesday August 16th at 6:30 pm, we will host an educational presentation at the Reynolda Manor Branch Library Auditorium, located at 2839 Fairlawn Drive, Winston-Salem, NC. This presentation is a recap of the program from last month’s club meeting given by club VP Roy Doron, associate professor of history at Winston-Salem State University, and club librarian Bruce Mellin, retired lecturer of Astronomy and Earth Sciences at Northeastern University and Cambridge College. The presentation looks at some of the most historically significant eclipses and at the evolution of human understanding of this exciting astronomical phenomena. We will discuss the different perceptions of eclipses and what they’ve meant, and continue to mean, for societies around the world. After Mr. Doron’s portion of the presentation, club librarian Bruce Mellin will do a short informational session on proper safe solar observing techniques. Concluding the presentation portion, there will be a Q&A session where attendees can win one of a limited number of solar eclipse viewing glasses for correct answers being given, or exceptionally thoughtful questions presented to our hosts. I will post, here, a link to the Winston-Salem Libraries website as soon as it is available.

A similar program was hosted at the Elkin Public Library last week. You can read an article on how it was received at the Elkin Tribune website.

Mr. Doron has also been interviewed by local news personality Briana Conner from local affiliate WXII. You can view that segment here.

Edit 8/11:
Here is the link to the Forsyth Library website about the eclipse program.

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

Now, What’s happening the day of the eclipse? We will be hosting/co-hosting two separate events in Winston-Salem on that day.

One event will be hosted on the Winston-Salem State University campus near the clock tower. We will have solar-safe telescopes and other indirect viewing apparatuses on site for you to see the stages of the partial eclipse. We will be distributing a limited number of solar eclipse viewing glasses on a first come first serve basis to those that need them. There are a limited number available. IF we run out, we ask that you please share with others that they may enjoy the event as well. This is not a quickly happening event, and glasses can easily be shared amongst a group. I will update this post for the specifics for time and other pertinent details as they become final. There will also be a final weather call the day before for this location.

Our second event will be held at our home base, Kaleideum North, formerly Sci-Works from 11 am until 4 pm, though we won’t be set up for viewing until closer to the first contact time. Again, we will have solar-safe scopes and other viewing apparatuses  available for your use so you can enjoy the stages of the eclipse. We will also have solar eclipse glasses for distribution, first come first serve, at this location too and again we ask that you share with others in the event that we run out. You can find details about other Kaleideum related happenings that day HERE. They have some fun activities planned for kids and a workshop to make your own solar viewing device. Check out that link for details. The Kaleideum related activities are rain/cloud or shine. In the event of inclement conditions, the solar viewing outreach portion may be canceled but Kaleideum will then make a arrangements to stream the NASA feed of the eclipse. Follow this post or the club’s Facebook page for updates as the event draws near.

Facebook events will be created for each of these separate events, for easy sharing on social media.

 

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