Richmond Astronomical Society

July Meeting, VAAS and Some Solar Observing

Jul 24th, 2009 | By | Category: Blog

July Meeting: At the July meeting, we heard a re-cap of the Green Bank Star Quest from Terry Barker.  Several RAS members attended and, from all reports, enjoyed the event.  This star party has been held for the TBpast six years at the National Radio Observatory in Green Bank, WV.  The event is sponsored by the Central Appalachian Astronomy Club, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society.  There is a video of the event on YouTube.

The location is a good dark sky site and there are very interesting attractions at the radio observatory and in the area.  The event is definitely worth the trip.  More info here .

Also at the July meeting, Chris McCann provided an overview of archaeoastronomy, essentially a study of the way in which ancient cultures viewed and used information gleaned from astronomical observations.  I found particularly fascinating the various ways different cultures CMinterpreted different events.  Some events were consistently believed to portend negative events while other events had completely different meanings to different cultures.  Interestingly, though, it is very common for human societies to interpret a direct connection between celestial and earthly events, even when the perceived connection is superstitious at best – very interesting how our brains are wired.  Chris also touched on the way some cultures used the predictive power of their astronomers/astrologers to influence the populace or used their knoweledge in a defensive way against enemies.

DAYSTARSolar Observing: Last weekend, several RAS members gathered at the observatory to take look at the sun (through a properly protected telescope, of course) and check out the level of solar activity.  As would be expected, given the recent low level of solar activity, there was not much action on the sun.  With his Daystar solar filter, of which I am jealous, Randy Tatum treated us to a view of the sun’s granular surface and we managed to catch a few small prominences.  Even though the activity is low, I always enjoy seeing prominences and they way they change over the course of a few minutes.

VAAS 2009: Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next meeting of the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies, this year to be held in Charlottesville.  The agenda sounds like it will be interesting and we appreciate the work of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society in putting the event together.  More information is at http://www.cvilleastro.org/vaas/ .  Hope to see everyone at the event.

Regards,
Jim Browder
Richmond Astronomical Society

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