Richmond Astronomical Society

    News

    Incredible sunspot image captured by Randy Tatum using the RAS Ragland Observatory telescope

     
    The next meeting of the Richmond Astronomical Society will be on Tuesday, August 11, 7:30 PM at the Science Museum of Virginia.  Please join us for the meeting and for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum about 6:00 PM.

    Staunton River State Park has been formally designated as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Skies Association.  Read the press release here.  Many congratulations and thanks to Staunton River State Park and the Chapel Hill Astronomy Club for making this happen!

     

     


     

     

     

Events

New Horizons!

The New Horizons spacecraft has reached Pluto and is transmitting data back to Earth.  This is an outstanding achievement.  Because of the distance to Pluto, it will take some time to receive all of the data collected during the flyby.  More information from NASA is here.

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Last image of Pluto before the flyby, courtesy of NASA and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

East Coast Star Party

Ever been to a star party?  They’re great.  A star party is usually a multi-day event in a dark sky location that immerses participants in a sea of telescopes and astronomy enthusiasts.  participants often camp near their equipment or stay in nearby lodging.  One of the best in the eastern US is the Green Bank Star Quest coming up next week at the Green Bank Radio Observatory in West Virginia, June 17-20.  Below is a link to a short video that attempts to show what a star party is like, but doesn’t do the experience justice.  Another really enjoyable star party is the East Coast Star Party, held in Coinjock on the coast of North Carolina once or twice a year.  The latest event was held in May.  The weather was pleasant.  The viewing was good.  The astronomers were friendly and welcoming as usual.  Please have a look.

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Astronomy Day – April 25!

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Solar observing at Astronomy Day

Please join us at the Science Museum of Virginia for International Astronomy Day on Saturday, April 25 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  There will be special activities at the Museum including solar observing (weather permitting) planetarium shows, informative displays and water rocket launches.  Please join us if you can.

Skywatch at Belmead, March 14

RAS and Francis Emma Inc. will host a skywatch and a talk at Belmead on the James in Powhatan.  We will hear about the famous Messier objects cataloged by Charles Messier which represent some of the most spectacular deep sky objects visible in the night sky.  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.  Those that wish to observe all night may wish to attempt a “Messier Marathon” to observe as many Messier objects as possible.

The entrance to Belmead is located at 5004 Cartersville Road, Powhatan, VA.  A Google Map showing the location is at this link:  https://goo.gl/maps/IInF3.  Once you enter Belmead follow signs to the mansion.  Indoor session starts at 7:00 PM; RAS volunteer astronomers are invited to join a light supper at 5:00 PM at the mansion.

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: https://goo.gl/maps/IInF3. 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.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/17oct_sunseteclipse/

Persistence pays off!

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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!

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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!

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