Richmond Astronomical Society

The August Meeting, Perseids and a Mini Star Party

Aug 14th, 2009 | By | Category: Blog

A meteor image captured in 2002

At our August meeting we had several visitors who were interested in the Perseid meteor shower. A number of us were hoping to see some Perseids after the meeting, but it wasn’t to be.  Clouds obscured the view.  Maybe we will have an opportunity to see some stragglers on a following night.

John Raymond presented our short talk at the meeting. As many of you know, John has been kind enough to become our Outreach Coordinator and has arranged for a number of skywatch events in the late summer and fall.  These include events at Bryan Park, Meadow Glen and the Masonic Home.  As the events come up, John will be soliciting volunteers to deploy telescopes at the events.  Please help him as you are available.  The calendar on our test web site provides the dates.

For those of you that could not be at the meeting on Tuesday, you missed some great pictures of Betty and Ken Wilson’s recent trip to Asia to see July’s total solar eclipse. They have each seen a number of total eclipses.  Judging from their pictures and stories this one did not disappoint.  Betty showed us pictures of sights in China eclipse along with some wide field images of the eclipse itself.

Ken showed us some close-up images taken at various moments during totality, a video of the eclipse and a very cool composite image made from several individual images taken at various exposures during totality.  Using this compositing technique, Ken was able to combine the images to bring out detail in the prominences at the sun’s surface along with detail in the corona.  The video of the eclipse was particularly interesting in that it showed the motion of the ship as people were trying to image the event.

Betty explained that the captain was quite accommodating to the eclipse-chasing passengers by navigating the ship along the path of totality to extend the few minutes of the total eclipse by a few seconds.  If you travel that far to see an eclipse, a few seconds extra eclipse time is worth the effort.

Betty also announced that an asteroid has been named for Ken. Its designation is “84951 Kenwilson.”  Congratulations to Ken on this honor.  It is not an “earth-crosser” and so is not a potentially hazardous object, but, when Ken says that there is an asteroid out there with his name on it – he’s right.

campsignwebDon’t forget about the mini star party on Friday, August 14 at the Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation.  Directions to the camp are here.  After passing through the main entrance, turn right, travel about 0.1 mile and turn right at the sign with a picture of a telescope on it.  For GPS users, the address is 1723 Maidens Rd. in Goochland (observing site coordinates N 37.678986, W 77.8708).  If there is another event at the camp which will have lights that may interfere with observing, Tim Streagle will move us to another location.  If this is the case, signs will indicate the new location.

Jim Browder
Richmond Astronomical Society

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