Young Astronomers Newsletter February 2016

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 24 Number 2 February 2016

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

With great loss we have to announce the Forsyth Astronomical Society is diminished with the passing one of it’s brightest stars. Young Astronomers Newsletter founder Art Gormly passed away on January 7th. This edition includes an editorial from Bob Patsiga and FAS Pres. Dave Morgan to include some of Art’s accomplishments and contributions to this wonderful hobby we all enjoy so much. If Art’s work and influence has affected your appreciation of astronomy feel free to leave comment in the moderated comments below.

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FAS meeting January 26

The January Meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society
is tonight Tuesday, January 26th at 7:30pm at SciWorks.
The program will be about the archaeoastronomical alignments
at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. All meetings are open to the public and all are welcome. An informal social gathering is typical from 7 until the meeting begins. So come on out and join us.

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Young Astronomers Newsletter January 2016

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 24 Number 1 January 2016

By Bob Patsiga

 

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Young Astronomers Newsletter December 2015

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 23 Number 13 December 2015

By Bob Patsiga

 

 

 

We would like to welcome Bob Patsiga in his debut as the new editor of the Young Astronomers Newsletter. Thank you Bob, for taking on this mantle. I am sure we’ll see lots of good things to come.

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Young Astronomers Newsletter November 2015

The Young Astronomers Newsletter

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The Young Astronomers Newsletter Volume 23 Number 12 November 2015

By Art Gormley

 

 

 

An end of an era is marked by this edition of the Young Astronomers Newsletter. This will be the last edition by Art Gormley. Art had faithfully and diligently served in creating this wonderful resource for over 20 years. Our gratitude as a community and club can never be fully expressed for his efforts. But we do thank you Art, for all you have done to reach the hearts and minds of the folks who have enjoyed your work these many years. Club member Bob Patsiga will be aptly filling Art’s shoes to produce the newsletter’s future editions. We welcome him in this new opportunity and look forward to his insight and unique perspective that he will bring to this resource.

Please excuse the tardiness of this post as the holiday hustle and bustle has waylaid my efforts to promptly post.

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Pilot Mountain Public Observation Saturday November 7th

Update 11/13:

We are a resounding GO for tomorrow night’s Pilot Mountain State Park observation. The weather seems to be cooperating this time, all but being a little cold. The forecast is clear and in/around town has the temperature being in the mid 40’s but keep in mind the elevation difference. It will most likely be in the mid to upper 30’s atop Pilot. Please dress accordingly.

Solar observing will begin around 2-3 pm til sunset which is at 5:15pm and astronomical observing will ensue as soon as it is dark enough. We will remain set up for observations until 9:30-9:45pm. The park gate will be closing at 10pm.

Come on out and let us share with you the wonders of the night sky.

 

Update 11/6

The Pilot Mountain State Park observation for November 7th has been postponed due to adverse weather. It has been rescheduled for November 14th. Hopefully we’ll have better conditions then. 

 

The Forsyth Astronomical Society will be hosting a dark sky public observation in the upper parking area of the Pilot Mountain State Park on Saturday November 7th. This venue is much darker than our typical locations for public observations. This means we can hopefully show you fainter deep sky objects such as galaxies and nebulae as well as planets and star clusters. The event will occur between the hours of 5-9:45pm with the possibility of solar observing happening in the hours before sunset. Make sure to dress the accordingly, keeping in mind the cooling weather and the increased altitude. This is a weather dependent event. A final weather call will be made on Friday November 6th. This post will be updated to reflect that call and also posted to the club’s Facebook page. There is a scheduled rain date of November 14th in the event of a cancellation on the 7th.
Hope to see you there.

All eyes on Jupiter

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FAS Annual Telescope Buyers Clinic

Have you been interested in astronomy as a hobby, but don’t know what equipment you may need?  Maybe you have equipment,  but need advice as to its operation?  Or still yet,  maybe you’re a novice and need advice as to where to go from here?  You’re in luck. This Saturday November 7th, the Forsyth Astronomical Society will be hosting its annual telescope buyers clinic and information workshop at SciWorks in Winston-Salem from 2-5pm. Come join us and let our club members  share their advice and experience-based knowledge with anyone wanting to know more.

telescope_clinic

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FAS meeting on October 27th.

This months meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society will be this evening at Sciworks at 7:30 PM. The presentation will be given by club member Sean Wood about the topic 3D printing, how to utilize it to enhance your astronomy hobby experience, along with info and tips on the process and including  a demonstration of the processes use. All meetings are open to the public and all are welcome. An informal social gathering is typical from 7 until the meeting begins. So come on out and join us.

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Scheduled Stone Mountain Observation for Saturday has been canceled

I can only offer the words that our club president have used to open our meetings for the last 6 months or so. “Well, It’s an El Nino year….” It seemed a quasi foreboding warning to begin with but since has taken on a tone more akin to a stand up comedy show opening line.

The observation at Stone Mountain has been canceled due to inclement weather. This scheduled event will have concluded our observations at Stone Mountain for the year.  Stay tuned to the club calendar for the 2016 dates.

Our next major events will be November the 7th. We will have our annual Telescope Information Workshop at Sciworks that day and one of our biannual public dark sky observations atop Pilot Mountain that evening. Stay tuned here or on our Facebook page for more details on these events as they become available.

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GTCC – 19th annual Fall Astronomy Day Lecture

GTCC’s Cline Observatory and the GTCC Foundation present

Our 19th annual Fall Astronomy Day Lecture

Friday, 2 October 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Koury Auditorium, GTCC, Jamestown

The MESSENGER Spacecraft Mission to Mercury:  Surprises from the Innermost Planet

Sean Solomon, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

With all the attention the New Horizons Mission to Pluto has generated about the outer solar system this summer, it is easy to overlook the fact that NASA just wrapped up a multi-year mission to explore the solar system’s innermost planet, Mercury.  The MESSENGER Mission to Mercury was only the second spacecraft to visit the planet, and the first in over three decades!   The Mariner 10 flybys of Mercury in 1974 allowed only a partial mapping of Mercury, and raised many interesting questions.  MESSENGER finally brought us back to Mercury with a robust and long-term monitoring program, spending over four years in orbit and giving planetary scientists an unprecedented look at the innermost planet.  Our speaker, Dr. Sean Solomon, of the Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was the lead investigator in charge of the MESSENGER Mission, and his lecture at GTCC will present what we have learned about the small world at the inner reaches of our solar system.

This event is free and open to anyone with an interest in astronomy.  No reservations are necessary.  Cline Observatory will be open for viewing after the talk, weather permitting.

This note is being sent to the TriStar distribution list – please note that this lecture is in a different location from TriStar.  Koury is Building #19 on this campus map:  http://www.gtcc.edu/media/10954/jamestowncampusmap.pdf

The MESSENGER Spacecraft Mission to Mercury: Surprises from the Innermost Planet

Sean C. Solomon

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

Mercury, the smallest and innermost solar system planet and the planet formed from the densest materials, remained comparatively unexplored for more than three decades following three flybys by the Mariner 10 spacecraft in 1974–75. Space exploration of Mercury resumed with the selection for flight, under NASA’s Discovery Program, of the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission. Launched in 2004, MESSENGER flew by the innermost planet three times in 2008–2009, was inserted into orbit about Mercury in March 2011, and operated until propellant was exhausted in April 2015. MESSENGER’s chemical remote sensing measurements showed that Mercury has a low-iron surface composition that differs from those of the other inner planets. Moreover, surface materials are richer in volatile constituents – those that would be removed by high temperatures – than predicted by most planetary formation models. Global image mosaics and targeted high-resolution images reveal that Mercury experienced globally extensive volcanism, including large expanses of plains erupted as flood lavas and widespread examples of pyroclastic deposits emplaced during explosive eruptions of volatile-bearing magmas. Bright deposits within impact craters host fresh-appearing, rimless depressions or hollows, often with high-reflectance interiors and halos; such hollows likely formed through the geologically recent loss of one or more volatile compounds. On the basis of imaging, neutron spectrometry, near-infrared reflectance, and thermal models derived from measured topography, Mercury’s polar deposits first detected with Earth-based radar consist largely of water ice in permanently shadowed cold traps within polar impact craters. In most locations, the water ice is covered with a 10–30-cm-thick layer consisting of a low-reflectance volatile stable to temperatures somewhat higher than water ice and likely consisting of impact-derived organic material.

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