Richmond Astronomical Society

Next Meeting, New Media for Astronomers and a Lunar Occultation

Feb 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Blog

MARS4CRTLast meeting: Thanks to John Barnett for the informative presentation on the Aphelic Opposition of Mars and thanks to Bill Dickinson for allowing John to show us his outstanding images of the planet.  I know I learned a lot.  Even though I missed viewing Mars around the opposition, it still is quite a nice view in the early nighttime sky.  Thanks also to Randy Tatum who has also been kind enough to share some of his recent images of Mars as well.  Randy typically uses a ToUcam coupled to an f/12 10-inch Newtonian for his planetary imaging.




WSPNext Meeting: Please join us for the next meeting at the Science Museum.  The meeting will be held in the Eureka Theater at 7:30 PM on February 9.  Ken Wilson will be presenting and, if cell phone connections serve us well, we will have a live update from the Winter Star Party in Florida.  As usual a number of us will be gathering before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the museum for dinner.  Please join us if you can.  Everyone is welcome.


astro-fm-logoAstronomy.FM: A new online astronomy community has been formed – Astronomy.FM.  The website address is, as you might expect,  http://Astronomy.FM.  Many of the principal members of the community are located in the upper Midwest, but several hundred people from parts all over are members of the group, including a few in Virginia.  Central to the Astronomy.FM community is an internet audio broadcast which is now providing a variety of astronomy-related shows on a 24-hour basis including well-known podcasts such as AstronomyCast, Keck Observatory News, Planetary Radio and Are We Alone? Also in the broadcast line-up are several original shows produced by the organizers of Astronomy.FM which include interviews with newsmakers in astronomy and space science.  This new endeavor requires a substantial commitment on the part of those leading the effort and they deserve our support.  When you have chance, please consider directing to your browser to Astronomy.FM and give them a listen. Over the past few years, a community of astronomers who broadcast live video images captured through their telescopes has evolved.  The latest outlet for the group is  On this site are listed names of the astronomers who broadcast with links to each video stream.  When an astronomer is broadcasting live, the astronomer’s name is highlighted.  Definitely worth checking out.

Lunar Occultation of the Pleaides: On December 29, 2009, John Raymond captured the occultation of the Pleaides star cluster on video.  You can view excerpts from his video below or on YouTube.  Thanks to John for sharing his video with us.

Changes in direction at NASA: As many of you know, the President has announced his proposed budget for NASA.  The budget calls for cancellation of the Constellation program, but provides a substantial amount of science funding for NASA.  This budget represents quite a shift from more recent NASA plans.  Some media and commentary articles on the proposed budget are below.  I’m sure that, as some of us are avid followers of space flight activity, this will be a topic of some interest.

Office of Management and Budget

Spaceflight Now

Phil Plait’s blog

Augustine Commission

Next RAS board meeting: The next RAS board of directors meeting will be held at Extra Billy’s restaurant at 7:00 PM on February 15.  Please arrive earlier if you wish to eat with us.  Any member is welcome to attend the board meeting.

I hope everyone is finding some time to get out and observe the sky, although the recent weather has tested our endurance as astronomers.  Please join us at our next meeting and at the next Skywatch/LiveSky event at the Science Museum on February 19.


Jim Browder
Richmond Astronomical Society

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