Richmond Astronomical Society




    View of the Staunton River Star Party observing area

    The next meeting of the Richmond Astronomical Society will be on Tuesday, February 10, 7:30 PM at the Science Museum of Virginia.  Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner at Arby’s, across the street from the Museum about 6:00 PM.

    The Staunton River Star Party registration is now open!  It’s only two hours from Richmond and the best new star party in the east.  Check it out at this link.

    Star in the east – Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) is rising in the southeast after sunset and gradually moving north  More information in the RAS Updates.


Skywatch at Belmead, December 13, 6:30 PM

RAS and Francis Emma Inc. will host a skywatch and a talk at Belmead on the James in Powhatan.  Astronomers and visitors are welcome to set up their telescopes in the paved area near the mansion and observe as long as they like, but no telescope is required, just an interest in the night sky.  The entrance to Belmead is located at 5004 Cartersville Road, Powhatan, VA. A Google Map showing the location is at this link: Once you enter Belmead follow signs to the mansion.  Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location.  Note that the start time was previous advertised as 7:00 PM.  The correct time is 6:30.

Eclipse Thursday

Solar eclipse tomorrow afternoon-Warning: Don’t stare. Even at maximum eclipse, a sliver of sun peeking out from behind the Moon can still cause pain and eye damage. Direct viewing should only be attempted with the aid of a safe solar filter. More info here, including how to see multiple images with your fingers.

Persistence pays off!


At the Fall picnic we were treated to great food, marvelous company and some extremely comfortable temperatures along with beautiful views in the afternoon.  Clouds prevented astronomical observing until about 11:00 PM when they parted and offered a beautiful, clear, dark sky.  Many, many thanks to all of our members, friends and guests who attended and brought the delicious food and drink. Particular thanks to Master Chef David Medici (shown above) for coordinating and cooking and also many thank to our friends with the FrancisEmma organization at Belmead who hosted the event.  More info and images are here.

Lunar Eclipse!

LunarEclipse 20141008 trees

RAS member Bryan Hartley captured some great images of the lunar eclipse in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  Enjoy!

Thanks to Bryan for sharing his images!

LunarEclipse 20141008 21-50

LunarEclipse 20141008 68-77



John Goss, president of the Astronomical League, found an item in a 1950 issue of the Astronomical League’s magazine, The Reflector.  The news item welcomes the Richmond Astronomical Society into the League!  Image below courtesy of John Goss.  For more information about the Astronomical League and the benefits it offers, visit  Membership in the Astronomical League is included in Richmond Astronomical Society membership.


Reflector 1950


Solar Storm Update

According to “The first of two CMEs expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sept. 12th arrived on schedule. Although the geomagnetic storm it provoked was technically only minor (G1-class), Northern Lights were observed as far south as Arizona.”


Spaceweather further reports:  “A second and potentially more powerful CME is still en route. Geomagnetic storming could become strong (G3-class) during the late hours of Sept. 12th and Sept 13th after the second CME arrives. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance that geomagnetic storming will reach mid-latitudes. Sky watchers everywhere should remain alert for auroras.”


For more information see  If you happen to be in an area that has clear skies late on September 12, you might want to take a look!

Gamma Ray Burst in Andromeda (False Alarm)

Did the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission just find a Gamma-Ray Burst originating in Andromeda? Turns out the answer is no, but it’s still interesting.

Read more here.

Ripples in space time?

Were ripples in the fabric of space time truly discovered this past March? This is a World Science Festival live stream event, enabling you to listen to a singular conversation, among the world’s most respected pioneers in  cosmological theory and observation.

Big Bang & Brews | Science Pub RVA.

Meeting Minutes

November 2014 Meeting Minutes

October 2014 Meeting Minutes

September 2014 Meeting Minutes

August 2014 Meeting Minutes

July 2014 Meeting Minutes

June 2014 Meeting Minutes

May 2014 Meeting Minutes

April 2014 Meeting Minutes

March 2014 Meeting Minutes

February 2014 Meeting Minutes

January 2014 Meeting Minutes

December 2013 Meeting Minutes

The 2015 Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar

$19.95 order by Wednesday December 31, 2014, or call 800-533-5083. accepts Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express and PayPal.

2015 RAS Election results
President – Jim Browder
Vice President – Matthew Roy
Secretary – Chris McCann
Treasurer – Jim Blowers
Observatory Director – John Raymond