February Meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society 2/14

 

Looking for a fun and informative something to do on your Valentine’s date? What better way to celebrate love than in your love of astronomy? Join the Forsyth Astronomical Society on Wednesday February 14 at 7:30 pm, for an out-of-this-world  adventure in the Planetarium at Kaleideum. Our planetarium liaison & club secretary Bruce Gavett will introduce the new and larger planetarium projection system at Kaleideum along with a new program or two. Don’t worry, though, the Spitz 512-star projector is still there and will be providing a great views of the stars and constellations in the night sky.

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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Young Astronomers Newsletter Feburary 2018

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 26 Number 2 February 2018

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

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

  • Using the Very Long Baseline Array of radio telescopes, astronomers have gotten detailed structure of the far side of the Milky Way Galaxy. The region is over 65,000 light years away and is part of a project to create a detailed map of the Milky Way.
  • The NASA probe New Horizons will soon adjust its instruments to examine Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 on New Years Day, 2019. New Horizons had brilliant success in 2015 by giving us details about Pluto and its moons.
  • Astronomers are developing new techniques for studying extra solar planets. A combination of a telescope adapter called a chronograph with a deformable mirror system may lead to gaining information about extra solar planetary atmospheres.
  • An interstellar object called Oumuamua, has been tracked from telescopes in Hawaii since October. Careful trajectory analysis indicates that it is on its way out of the Solar System. Being a one-time visitor to the Solar System, it has been given its own classification by the International Astronomical Union.
  • There is now sufficient evidence accumulated for us to be confident that there is a vast amount of frozen subsurface water on Mars. This is significant information relative to future human exploration.
  • Moon phases for February.
  • Finding the planets during February.
  • Word search: 20th century astronomers.
  • Unique conditions on the International Space Station.
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Kaleideum North Observation Saturday January 20th

Update 1/19:

We are a go for tomorrow night’s observation. Conditions over today and tomorrow should help tremendously with any left over winter precipitation but PLEASE use your own judgment in getting out. We have many more events planned for the upcoming year. If you can safely, come on out and take in some night sky wonders. As a bonus… A local Starbucks will be providing free coffee and hot cider during the event. Thank you Starbucks.

 

 

This Saturday, January 20th, the Forsyth Astronomical Society is scheduled to host its first observation of the 2018 season in the parking area of Kaleideum North. I know we just had a pretty severe winter weather event but the next couple days are supposed to be quite warm with the highs on Saturday near 60 F and lows during the event getting into the mid to low 40’s, which is NOT too bad given this is a winter event. Still though, PLEASE dress appropriately for the weather, especially the little ones. We will be setting up an hour or so before sunset, 5:30 PM for Saturday, and begin observing as darkness falls. We should be able to show some interesting winter sky objects including several nebulae, star clusters, binary stars and possibly a galaxy or two in some of the larger scopes. This is a weather dependent event and a final weather call will be made by tomorrow afternoon and posted to this page entry and the club’s Facebook page.

If you’ve been contemplating astronomy as a hobby or want to learn more about the equipment needed, come early and look over our equipment, feel free to ask us questions. We LOVE to talk shop. Also, if you have your own personal equipment and need advice or pointers on its setup and use, feel free to bring it during that early setup time and stay and use your gear during the observation as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Young Astronomers Newsletter January 2018

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 26 Number 1 January 2018

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

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

  • NASA needing to adjust Voyager-1’s attitude to better communicate with Earth, resort to creative engineering solutions to further ensure its mission duration.
  • Researchers at CERN have discovered methods to isolate and capture small amounts of anti-matter, They have made initial studies of what they have captured.
  • Astronomers in Australia have found the oldest galaxy to date, 10.7 Billion years old.
  • The anniversary of the launch of Sputnik-1 and the implications it had for the United States space program and education system.
  • Attempts by astronomers to detect exo-moons orbiting exo-planets.
  • Astronomical birthdays for January.
  • Celestial happenings in January.

And this month’s newsletter includes astronomical history matching game.

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The Initial FAS Calendar and First Meeting of 2018

 

Here at the FAS, we want to extend a Happy New Year to our friends and followers. Our calendar for the 2018 season has been posted.  Most of our basic events are settled, but we still have to finalize the schedule for our Stone Mountain events before posting. There are a few changes we are undertaking this coming year. Most notably, we have changed our monthly meeting date. We will now be meeting the second Wednesday of each month. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, January 10th at 7:30 pm at Kaleideum North. This month, two of our members will share their experiences from a long astronomy vacation to the Atacama desert in Chile. Attached are some of the amazing pictures from that trip.

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Young Astronomers Newsletter December 2017

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 25 Number 12 December 2017

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

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

  • The politics of space flight. Congress issues warnings to NASA concerning it recent delay of the Space Launch System.
  • A long-lasting supernova, iPTF14hls, discovered in 2014, is puzzling astronomers and possibly leading to some new theories about supernova behavior.
  • The planetary probe, Juno, is making some close-up observations and measurements of Jupiter’s electric, magnetic and gaseous dynamics.  The giant polar auroras are spectacular.
  •  The Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico, sustained only minor damage from hurricane Maria.  However, the observatory may still be in dire straits due to budgeting woes.
  • Our Sun’s weak sunspot cycle and what might be causing it.
  • December’s astronomical birthdays
  • Celestial happenings for the month which include a Super Moon, prominent meteor shower, the bright planets you can see in the predawn sky.
  • A sky map of the winter constellations to help guide you through the December sky.
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FAS Pilot Mountain Public Observation Saturday November 11th

 

Update 11/17: It’s not looking like the weather will cooperate with us for tomorrow evening’s observation. We are canceling the event. We’re just as disappointed as you all are. This opportunity would have marked the end of our 2017 public observation season. Stay tuned to the website and Facebook for an announcement of when our 2018 calendar of events will be posted. 

 

Update 11/10: This has been a tough call folks but we are going to cancel tomorrow’s event and push it out to the rain date on the 18th. The forecast is varying quite drastically across most of the commercial weather sites and on the main astronomical weather site we use is projecting quite bad conditions for tomorrow night for stargazing. Let’s hope for better conditions and at least bit warmer on the 18th.

 

The Forsyth Astronomical Society will be hosting a public observation on Saturday November 11th in the upper knob overlook parking area of Pilot Mountain State Park. This is one our premier public observation sites due to its darker skies in comparison to our typical urban sites. We will be able to show you more dark sky objects at this location than any public event site we use. Sunset is at 5:17 pm. As dusk falls Saturn will be low on the horizon and will be easily seen. As darkness ebbs on a plethora of star clusters, nebulae and even galaxies will be available if sky conditions allow. New objects will be rising as the night progresses . If you visit and see “all there is to see”, give it a couple of hours and we can show you more. We will continue with the observation until 10 pm.

Forecasts as of this post aren’t looking especially well and have the lows for the 11th to be in the low 30’s for the surrounding area. Being that we will be atop the mountain the temps can be as much as 10 degrees cooler, possibly more if the wind is blowing, so please dress appropriately, especially the little ones. This event is a weather dependent event so stay tuned to this post or the club’s Facebook page for a final weather call the Friday before the event. You can also call Kaleideum North after 5 pm on Friday for the weather call via their automated voice message system. In the event of inclement weather there is a rain date of November 18th. We hope to see you all there.

Pilot Panna

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FAS Annual Telescope Workshop Saturday November 11th

The Forsyth Astronomical Society will host our annual Telescope Workshop at Kaleideum North in Winston-Salem on Saturday November 11th from 1 pm-4 pm. If you’ve been thinking of getting gear to get started in astronomy or you have gear but need experienced advice on how to better operate it, or are looking to upgrade, we have you covered. Come join the Forsyth Astronomical Society as we share our equipment and knowledge to get you started or help you advance in this wonderful hobby. Topics ready to be discussed can include telescopes of various types and sizes, binoculars, a wide range of astronomy related accessories, apps, astrophotography principles and equipment and astronomy documentation including star charts/maps, books and logs. This event is rain or shine and FREE to the public. If you want to tour the Kaleideum North facility, however, regular rates will apply.

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Young Astronomers Newsletter November 2017

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 25 Number 11 November 2017

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

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

  • LIGO and its Italian counterpart VIRGO pick up some HUGE gravitational wave readings. Where did they come from and what did we learn from the detection?
  • Interesting discoveries made about the dwarf planet Haumea.
  • Japanese and US space agencies are studying geologic features of our lunar body to possibly aid the prospects of human shelters on the moon.
  • With finding water quite abundant in other parts of our solar system, what does that mean for the possibility of finding life outside of our planet?
  • Astronomical birthdays for November.
  • Celestial happenings for the month.
  • and a constellation matching game.
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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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