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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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

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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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