The Young Astronomers Newsletter
By Art Gormley
By Art Gormley
Club member Bob Patsiga in association with Forsyth Tech will be offering an evening non-credit course on astronomy to be held in the Sciworks planetarium starting Sept 10.
Course description and details:
The course will broadly cover the history of astronomy, descriptions of the various types of telescopes, the constellations, the solar system, and objects in the greater cosmos. As weather permits, there will be some sky observations.
Evening Non-credit class in astronomy (introductory level)
When: Five Thursday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. First class: Sept. 10; last class: Oct. 8, 2015.
Where: SciWorks planetarium
Sponsored by Forsyth Tech.
How to sign up: Walk-in registration at 1300 Bolton Street campus (Mon. – Thurs. 8:30 to 5:30 pm; Fri. 8:30 to 1:30 pm)
Telephone registration: call 336-761-1002
The August meeting of the Forsyth Astronomical Society is this Tuesday,
August 25th, at 7:30 pm at SciWorks. The program is Crepuscular Sights
and will be presented by FAS VP Priscilla Ivester.
The International Meteor Organization has forecast peak of the Perseids
meteor shower to occur Wednesday night/Thursday morning, August 12/13,
between 2:30am and 5:30 am. This is a great opportunity for viewing
one of the best showers of the year, the Moon is not an issue, clear skies
are forecast, and the peak occurs during the night (for us on the east coast).
It is rare for all these factors to be favorably concurrent. Meteor rates are
typically between 60-120/hour, with a good number of bright meteors.
Historically, there are a good number of fireballs, with some bright enough
to cast shadows (unfortunately, if you do see your shadow, that means you
were looking the wrong way).
The best rates are seen after midnight, as the earth is then “running into”
the meteors (it is like driving a car, you collect more bugs on the front windshield
than the rear). The shower’s radiant rises after midnight and is high in the sky
at dawn. It is best to plan to observe this shower late, rather than early.
The shower’s radiant is near the Double Cluster on the Perseus/Cassiopeia
boundary. The best numbers can be seen when looking 15-45 degrees
around the radiant. Meteors seen near the radiant appear shorter as they
are approaching nearly “head-on”.
Here is the IMO’s page on this year’s Perseid shower:
This website has any information you might need to observe this shower.
The peak of this shower is fairly broad, meaning that decent numbers
can be observed on the nights around the peak, so you may be able to
see 40-50/hour on Thursday night as well (Tuesday has a poor forecast).
A wonderful speaker and subject knowledgeable author Jonathan Ward, who has spoken to us about the Apollo program at Kennedy Space Center, has published two books recounting NASA history. He has offered to provide signed copies of “Rocket Ranch” and “Countdown to a Moon Launch” for $75 for the two books together, delivered to our next meeting. If interested, please email Jonathan at email@example.com with your name and contact information, number of copies you would like, and any specific personalizations you want on the signature. You can also order the books on his website at http://apollolaunchcontrol.com/books/index.html and have them shipped directly to you.
By Art Gormley
The July meeting of the FAS is this coming Tuesday, July 28th, at 7:30 at SciWorks.
The program will be presented by Christi Whitworththe Education Director of PARI,
the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.
Here is a description:
PARI Education Showcase
PARI has a 15-year track record of educating and engaging people of all ages in astronomy and other STEM fields.
From instrument construction to remote observing, people can experience radio astronomy first hand through
PARI’s educational programs. PARI hosts Smiley a 4.6m radio telescope that is remotely operated.
PARI has also helped construct over 130 Radio JOVE units with high school age students.
PARI continually does outreach for student public groups to help them understand the role of radio astronomy
in the scope of all astronomy as well as how this “young” field of astronomy has larger accomplishments in its future.
PARI’s role is to serve as a mentor and training ground for those endeavors.
The PARI website:
The PARI wikipedia page:
It should be interesting, so join us for the meeting and this weekends events.
Weather permitting the Forsyth Astronomical Society will be hosting 2 separate observation opportunities for the public to enjoy this Saturday, July 25. Stay tuned here and/or to our Facebook page for a final weather call later in the week.
One event will be held in the main parking area of the SciWorks complex in Winston Salem. There will be solar observing a few hours before sunset,which is at 8:32 pm and astronomical twilight begins at 9:41 pm. The highlights of the evening will be Venus and Jupiter in the early dusk. As the evening progresses the moon, Saturn, star clusters and double stars will be among the night sky wonders to see.
Our other venue will be Stone Mountain State Park. THIS IS A LOCK-IN EVENT. The parks gate will be closed and locked at 10pm. If you decide to attend as a non camper you will be required to stay the entire length of the observation and leave with the FAS members hosting the event. If you want to camp, reservations are highly advised and can be obtained through the NC Parks reservation system. There is a fee for campsites. Access to the field area where we will be set up can be gained via campsite #36. The celestial bounty will be similar as our other event. Insect repellant and possibly a lite jacket are highly recommended. In the mountains the temperature can be significantly cooler, even for this time of year.
A reminder to all club members setting up for either observation. Given the conditions typical for this time of year, it would be advisable to be prepared and equipped to manage heavy dew.
Update 7/25: SciWorks observation is a GO!!!!
Hi FAS people:
The skies for tomorrow night’s public observation at Sci-Works look reasonable. We may be dodging a few clouds, but that should be OK with our urban observing plan. If there is a sudden turn in the forecast, I’ll send out an update tomorrow, but otherwise, we’ll see you there!
Sunset: 8:30 PM
Astronomical twilight: 10:15
Update 7/24: Stone Mountain Observation is a GO!!!!
The weather looks Favorable for the observation at the Stone Mountain
State Park Campground.
There is still a chance of a passing late afternoon shower or thunderstorm.
If you are there in the afternoon be prepared to cover up, if needed.
The forecast is for passing rain, partly cloudy, then becoming clear.
Be prepared for dew, it can be heavy at Stone Mountain.
I will be there in the late afternoon.
Update from the club president 7/23:
It is a welcome change of pace to have a fairly unambiguous forecast for
this weekend’s 2 scheduled observations. The forecast for the SciWorks event
is currently mostly clear (Steve Childers will make the final weather call).
The Stone Mountain State Park forecast is for partly cloudy (I will make the final
weather call on Friday). it is unusual to have such a forecast for this time of year,
so make plans to attend and support the club’s effort. Be prepared for dew,
especially at Stone Mountain.
By Art Gormley
UPDATE 6/20: The telescope outreach at Tanglewood Park for this evening has been canceled due to impending possible lightening storms.
UPDATE 6/19: The scheduled observation for Stone mountain has been canceled due to weather conditions. The next one scheduled is for July 25th. Hope to see you then.
This Saturday, June 20th, the Forsyth Astronomical Society will host TWO camp observation events one at Stone Mountain State Park and one at Tanglewood Park. Below are details for each.
From Bruce Gavett, coordinating member for the Tanglewood observation.
On Saturday night June 20 FAS members will be holding, not one, but TWO observations events for campers at local parks. The first is at Stone Mountain and you will see a separate notice about that event. If you can’t make it to Stone Mountain – how about Tanglewood?
We will be holding our first ever observation night for the campers at Tanglewood in Clemmons. We’ll set up at 8:30PM and the event will start at around 9:30PM (or when it gets dark). If you have a solar scope and want to come out a bit early (around 7PM) that is okay as well.
If it is cloudy or raining, the event will still be held. We’ll set up under the campground shelter and have a session about telescopes, eyepieces, filters or whatever the campers are interested in. Although, if there is a chance of a thunderstorm the event will be cancelled.
Tanglewood is off of 158 just south of I-40. Take the I-40 Harper Road exit and turn south. Then turn right onto 158 and left into Tanglewood. After turning into Tanglewood, turn left to the campground and then follow the signs that take you to the RV campground and go straight to the back. The road will curve to the right and then there is a small parking lot that is next to the shelter.
Info for the Stone Mountain observation
THIS OBSERVATION IS A LOCK -IN EVENT. If you attend as a non camper you will be required to stay the entire length of the event and leave at the same time as the club members as the park gates are locked at 9pm. If you stay as a camper there is a fee for camp areas, reservations through the NC parks website are highly recommended. The event will typically run from a couple hours before sunset for solar observing and run until interest dwindles, usually around midnight-1am. Sunset is 8:43pm for the 20th. Access to the field where the event is held is at camp site #36. No astronomy equipment is required to participate just a sense of exploration and curiosity. You may want to wear a lite jacket as the weather can be cooler in the higher altitudes, even at this time of year. Some type of mosquito repellent is highly recommended as well.
Please follow the club’s Facebook page and/or website for a final weather call on Friday for these events.