Richmond Astronomical Society

Back Bay Astronomer in S&T, Astronomy Day and City Point

Mar 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Blog

Astronomy Day is coming: This year Astronomy Day will be Saturday, May 7.  As we have done for a number of years, RAS is planning to support a number of Astronomy Day activities at the Science Museum of Virginia.  Prashant Reddy is coordinating volunteer support for the event this year.  Please let him know if you can help out.  He will be sending out requests to the club over the next few weeks.

On a related note, the regular monthly skywatches at the Science Museum have been well attended and our volunteer astronomers have been showing up in force to provide a great experience for the visitors.  Many thanks to everyone who attends these events and allows members of the public to look through their telescopes.  It’s a significant effort to haul our equipment to the site, set it up and take it down every month, but it provides a direct experience with the night sky and a scientific perspective that many people would not otherwise have without these skywatches..

RavenCon 2011 participation: RAS will be participating in this year’s RavenCon science fiction and fantasy festival at the Holiday Inn Koger Center on April 8-10. Although the focus of the festival is, of course, fiction, there is also a science component to the event and RAS will help to enhance that aspect of the event.  We will be having a skywatch, staffing a fan table and presenting at two workshops, one about amateur astronomy and the RAS and another about satellite observing.  Ted Bethune will also be presenting on space program activity.  Thanks to Terry Barker, Hank Nebel, Bill Newman, Jeff Pike, Prashant Reddy and Dave Walton for helping out and thanks to Mike Lewis for connecting us with the RavenCon organizers.  We will be providing a recap of the event at the regular April RAS meeting.

Ted Forte in S&T: The Back Bay Astronomers of the Virginia Beach area report that the May issue of Sky and Telescope has an article by one of their own, master observer Ted Forte.  On page 66 of the issue, Ted has an article titled, “Galaxy-Hopping the Virgo Cluster.”  I don’t have my issue yet, but I’m looking forward to it.  Ted is a long time member of the Back Bay group and those that attend the East Coast Star Party will recognize Ted to the right in this picture with Kent Blackwell.  You might want to get Ted’s autograph at your next opportunity while they are still free.  Congratulations to Ted from RAS!

City Point Skywatch: Thanks to John Raymond, RAS has developed a great relationship with the staff at Petersburg National Battlefield.  John has coordinated a number of skywatches with the Battlefield over the past year and half.  At the latest skywatch, which was held at the City Point Unit of the Battlefield, RAS astronomers, Ray Moody and Tim Streagle brought their telescopes and lended their expertise to the event.  Tim and Ray both have great knowledge of the night sky and they both know how to work the crowd and give a great show.  The Hopewell News & Patriot newspaper was at the skywatch and posted a good article about it at this link.  Tim and Ray are both quoted in the article.  Thanks to both for helping out with the skywatch.


Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

Hunting the Edge of Space: Cal Pletcher sent word of a NOVA broadcast called “Hunting the Edge of Space,” which has appeared a few times on PBS and is available for viewing online at this link.  I caught it on PBS and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The description on the NOVA web site is as follows:

“In this two-hour special, NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe. What began as a curiosity—two spectacle lenses held a foot apart—ultimately revolutionized human thought across science, philosophy, and religion. “Hunting the Edge of Space” takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery, dramatizing the innovations in technology and the achievements in science that have marked the rich history of the telescope.”

Virginia Skylines: A new edition of Virginia Skylines by Leslie Bochenski has been posted on our web site.  Please have a listen at this link to learn about what is visible in the night sky this week.


Jim Browder
Richmond Astronomical Society

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