Richmond Astronomical Society

A Cool Supernova and Upcoming Events

Jun 19th, 2011 | By | Category: Blog

Supernova SN 2011dh, imaged June 4, 2011

Supernova in M51:  Supernova SN 2011dh continues to brighten and is visible in more and more amateur scopes. Kelly Beatty of Sky and Telescope reports that he was able to view the supernova visually in a 6-inch telescope. The supernova was first noticed on May 31st, by French amateur Amédée Riou in a CCD image captured through his brand-new 14-inch reflector. More information is available in this update from Kelly and in this light curve from AAVSO depicting the change in brightness over the past few weeks.



STS-134, image courtesy of Cal Pletcher

STS-134: At the June meeting, Cal Pletcher showed us some impressive images of a recent space shuttle launch that he had the pleasure of attending. STS-134 was launched on May 16, 2011 and was the final flight for Space Shuttle Endeavour. On the 16-day mission, the orbiter delivered spare parts to the space station including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, additional spare parts for Dextre the robot manipulator, and micrometeoroid debris shields. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer research facility AMS-02 was transported and installed on the ISS as part of the mission. At his viewing site, Cal met a photographer, Pete Lardizabal, who was capturing launch images through an Astro-Physics 130 DF. You can see some of Pete’s images in Sky and Telescope here.


2010 Fall Picnic

RAS Fall Picnic: Our fall picnic is scheduled for September 17, 2011 at the Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation in Goochland.  This is the same location where we had last year’s fall picnic.  The Scout Reservation is an excellent location with convenient picnic facilities, restrooms, electricity and, lest we forget, a nice dark sky.  With the last quarter moon of September 17, we should have a good opportunity to view and/or image a number of deep sky objects visible in autumn sky. We hope everyone can join us.

Thanks to Tim Streagle, ranger at the camp, we also have the following observing session dates scheduled for members and friends of RAS:

  • July 2
  • Aug 27
  • Sep 24
  • Oct 29
  • Nov. 18-19 (Central Va Family Stargaze, star party hosted by the Scout Reservation, open to the public)
  • Dec. 17

Directions to the camp are here.  The observing sessions are held in a field not far from the entrance to the Cub Adventure Camp. Once you enter the reservation, take an immediate right turn into the Cub Adventure Camp, drive about 0.1 mile and turn right at a brown sign with a picture of a telescope on it. The observing field is at the top of the hill.  Please note that anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to comply with camp rules.


Green Bank StarQuest: The Green Bank StarQuest will be held this year June 29 through July 2 in Green Bank, West Virginia.  Keynote speakers will include Michelle Shinn of the Jefferson National Lab and Seth Shostak with the SETI Institute. This is a unique star party in that it is held at a radio observatory, so you can have all of the experiences associated with touring the radio observatory facilities and the public science center as well as the traditional optical star party experience.


VAAS 2011: The Back Bay Astronomers are hosting this year’s meeting of the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies.  The event will be held on October 1 at Tidewater Community College. Be sure to mark your calendars.



Jim Browder
Richmond Astronomical Society


Comments are closed.