Richmond Astronomical Society

Meetings

Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

April 2016 Meeting Minutes

March 2016 Meeting Minutes

February 2016 Meeting Minutes

January 2016 Meeting Minutes

December 2015 Meeting Minutes

November 2015 Meeting Minutes

October 2015 Meeting Minutes

September 2015 Meeting Minutes

August 2015 Meeting Minutes

July 2015 Meeting Minutes

May 2015 Meeting Minutes

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April 2016 Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
799th Consecutive Meeting
April 12, 2016

Greetings – approximately 31 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements / Share Table:
2016 RAS Metro Science Fair Award Winners:
• Nicole Teichner, Godwin, Probability of the SMBH Intercepting Earth: Nicole combined the formulas for gravitational force and the radius of a black hole’s event horizon, to compute the probability of this object intercepting the earth’s orbit.
• Camille Yoke, Maggie Walker, Constructive Interference of Seismic Surface Waves: Camille used a large spherical balloon filled with water to simulate the surface waves created when a moving object, like an asteroid, strikes a large planetary body. She used video photography to show that intercepting waves on the opposite side of the impact can create a geographic deformity.
• Claire Anderson, Clover Hill, The Effect of the Distance from Richmond City on the Visibility of Stars: Claire photographed stars at difference distances from Richmond in order to assess sky darkness as a function of distance from Richmond.

Tyler Hutchison astroimaging: Tyler and RAS were mentioned in a great article on the Science Museum in Richmond Family Magazine. The Science Museum is planning to open a new exhibit called ‘Speed,” expected to open this summer. Tyler’s images are viewable at https://tylerhutchisonastrophotography.wordpress.com/

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

Welcome Visitors: Chris McCann

Events and Individual Observing:
RAS members
Science Museum
Westover Hills
Belmead impromptu observing

Upcoming Events
• Astro-imaging hangouts on Google: Bryan Hartley has been most generous in sharing with us his images and the expertise he is rapidly gaining with Pixinsight, a very powerful image processing tool. To join one of his Google hangouts, contact president©richastro.org.
• Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, April 15, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can.
• RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, May 10, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum. For those that cannot attend in person, we will stream video of the meeting (bandwidth permifting) at: http://ustream.tv/channel/richastro
• Belmead skywatch, Saturday, April 16, 7:00 PM and Saturday, April 30: There will be an indoor presentation and skywatch at Belmead on the James starting at 7:00 PM and an observing session near the mansion on Saturday, April 30. Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location in Powhatan County. A map to the entrance of Belmead at 5004 Cartersville Road is at https:Ilgoo.gIImapsIK6VXrPG4VWD2.
• More about Belmead and its special place in history are discussed in a recent article in Powhatan Today and in a short documentary by local filmmaker Ryan Heathcock at https://vimeo.com144733342
• East Coast Star Party, May 6-8, Coinjock, NC: Casual stargazing in a coastal environment. Contact Kent Blackwell at kent@exis.net for info.
• Astronomy Day, Saturday May 14, 10:00 AM: The Science Museum of Virginia and the Richmond Astronomical Society will celebrate Astronomy Day at the Museum with a number of exhibits and activities including the ever popular water rocket launching and more. If you can help with this event, please contact president©richastro.org.
• Dinwiddie Tiger Den Stargazing: A Dinwiddie area Tiger Den has asked for an RAS volunteer astronomer to make a presentation and facilitate stargazing at one of their Monday evening meetings. Contact John Raymond at raymond7419verizon.net if you would like to help.

2016 Star Parties: Lots of star other parties in 2016. Info at http://richastro.org/index.php/blog/2016-star-parties/ VAAS, ALCon and NEAF updates

Break

Presentation: “Mass, Velocity and Tyranny,” what it takes to get to all the wonderful places that we reconnoiter with telescopes, Matthew Roy, RAS Vice President



March 2016 Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
798th Consecutive Meeting
March 8, 2016

Greetings – approximately 30 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements / Share Table:
Astronomical League Youth Award (see www.astroleague.org for more information):
Youth imaging award — deadline March 31 2016
Mercury Transit and Astronomy Day activities (Leslie Bochenski)

Library Report:

Welcome 3 Visitors:
• Omar Tibi
• Jeffrey Schulee
• Seth Cameron

Events and Individual Observing:
• RAS members
• Science Museum
• Belmead

Upcoming Events
Staunton River Star Party, March 9-13: Registration is now closed, the Spring installment of the Staunton River Star Party, but there will be another from October 24-30! More information is at this link: http://www.chaosastro.com/starparty/.
Astro-imaging hangout on Google, Tuesday, March 15, 8:00 PM, additional dates to be announced: Bryan Hartley has been most generous in sharing with us his images and the expertise he is rapidly gaining with Pixinsight, a very powerful image processing tool, specifically tuned to the needs of astronomical image processing. Bryan is having an informal series of Google hangouts on astro-image processing with Pixinsight. If you want to join in the hangout, please contact presidentrichastro.org.
Tuckahoe Library Skywatch, Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 PM: Madhup Rathi will have his telescope deployed at Tuckahoe Library on March 16 (rain/cloud date is March 17). At the last skywatch at this location, there were quite a few attendees. We could probably use a few additional volunteer astronomers. If you can help with this event, please contact president@richastro.org.
Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, March 18, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can.
Westover Hills Library — Yuri’s Night Celebration, Saturday, April 9, 7:00-9:00 PM: Westover Hills Library is celebrating Yuri’s Night and RAS astronomers will be deployed in the parking lot adjacent to the library to show visitors astronomical views and images, weather permitting. Please contact president@richastro.org if you can help with this event. More info about Yuri’s Night across the world is at https://yurisnight.net/.
RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, April 12, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum. For those that cannot attend in person, we will stream video of the meeting (internet bandwidth permitting) at: http://ustream.tv/channel/richastro
Belmead skywatch, Saturday, April 16, 7:00 PM: There will be an indoor presentation and skywatch at Belmead on the James starting at 7:00 PM. Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location in Powhatan County. The presentation will be held in the mansion with stargazing afterward.
Please join us if you can. A map to the entrance of Belmead at 5004 Cartersville Road is at the link below. After entering the main gate, just follow signs to the mansion: https:f/goo.gl/maps/K6VXrPG4VWD2.
More information about Belmead and its special place in history is discussed in a recent article in Powhatan Today. Also a short documentary about the storied past of Belmead by local filmmaker Ryan Heathcock is at this link: https://vimeo.com/44733342
Astronomy Day, Saturday May 14, 10:00 AM: The Science Museum of Virginia and the Richmond Astronomical Society will celebrate Astronomy Day at the Museum with a number of exhibits and activities including the ever popular water rocket launching and more. If you can help with this event, please contact president@richastro.org.
Dinwiddie Tiger Den Stargazing: A Dinwiddie area Tiger Den has asked for an RAS volunteer astronomer to make a presentation and facilitate stargazing at one of their meetings. They meet on Monday nights at 7:00 PM in an area with limited light pollution. The group consists of approximately 45 boys ages 6-12. Please contact John Raymond at raymond7419@verizon.net if you would like to help with this presentation.

2016 Star Parties: Lots of star other parties in 2016. The events for which we currently have information are listed at: http://richastro.org/index.php/blog/2016-star-parties/

ShortTalk: “Adventures in Remote Observing,” Madhup Rathi
Break
Presentation: ‘Starting out in Astrophotography,” Madhup Rathi and Bryan Hartley



February 2016 Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
797th Consecutive Meeting
February 9, 2016

Greetings – approximately 31 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements/Share Table
Astronomical League Youth Award (see www.astroleague.org for more information):
Youth imaging award — deadline March 31 2016
James River State Park — Dark Sky Park efforts: We received an inquiry regarding efforts to obtain Dark Sky Park status for James River State Park. If you are interested in working on this project, please contact president©richastro.org.
Telescopes for sale: Members and friends of RAS have a few telescopes or sale. More detail at http://richastro.org/index.php/mailing/.
Library Report:
• The New Solar System – Kelly Beatty, Brian O’Leary, Andrew Chaikin, 1981
• Exploration of the Solar System – members of the AIAA, 1974
• A Guide to the Planets – Patrick Moore, 1954
• The Atmospheres of the Earth and Planet – Gerard P Kuiper, 1949
• Astronomy: The Solar System – Henry Russell, Raymond Dugan, John Stewart, 1945
• The Planets, Their Origin and Development – Harold C Urey, 1952
• Between the Planets – Fletcher Watson, 1941
• Earth, Moon, and Planets – Fred L Whipple, 1941
• Pluto & Beyond – Anne Minard, 2007

Welcome 6 Visitors

Events and Individual Observing:
• RAS members
• Science Museum
• Powhatan State Park
• Belmead (two-day)

Upcoming Events
RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, March 8, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum. For those that cannot attend in person, we will stream video of the meeting (internet bandwidth permitting) at: http://ustream.tv/channel/richastro
RAS Board of Directors Meeting, February, 15, 7:00 PM, Extra Billy’s Restaurant (W. Broad St.): All RAS members welcome. Reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for dinner If you are not on the board and would like to attend, please send a note to president©richastro.org so we can make a reservation for you.
Science Museum Skywatch, Friday February 19, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can.
Skywatch at Belmead, March 5, 7:00 PM: Time for a Messier Marathon at Belmead! This is the time of year when all of the Messier objects can, although challenging, be viewed in one night. On March 5 we will try. There will be an indoor presentation on the Messier Objects (rain or shine) and, weather permitting; we will view as many as we can from the Belmead mansion parking area. Please join us if you can and bring a telescope.
Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location in Powhatan County. The entrance of Belmead is at 5004 Cartersville Road, Powhatan. A Google map to the location is at this link: httpsi/goo.gl/maps/K6VXrPG4’AVD2 . Once on the Belmead property, follow signs to the mansion.
Staunton River Star Party, March 9-13: Registration is open for the Spring installment of the Staunton River Star Party. This is an outstanding star party hosted by the Chapel Hill, NC club (CHAOS) in a dark sky location and only a couple of hours from Richmond. More information and registration is here. Best to register as soon as possible if you plan to attend to make sure the organizers have an accurate count of attendees.
2016 Star Parties: Lots of star parties in 2016. The events for which we currently have information are listed at:
http://richastro.org/index.php/blog/201 6-star-parties/ Please let us know if you have new information or would like additional star parties/events to be added.
Dinwiddie Tiger Den Stargazing: A Dinwiddie area Tiger Den has asked for an RAS volunteer astronomer to make a presentation and facilitate stargazing at one of their meetings. They meet on Monday nights at 7:00 PM in an area with limited light pollution. The group consists of approximately 45 boys ages 6-12. Please contact John Raymond at raymond7419@verizon.net if you would like to help with this presentation.
Astro-imaging hangouts on Google, dates to be announced: Bryan Hartley has been most generous in sharing with us his images and the expertise he is rapidly gaining with Pixinsight, a very powerful image processing tool, specifically tuned to the needs of astronomical image processing. Bryan is having an informal series of Google hangouts on astro-image processing with Pixinsight. If you want to join in the hangout, please contact president@richastro.org.

Break

Presentation: ‘What’s New in the Solar System’ by Betty Wilson



January 2016 Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
796th Consecutive Meeting
January 12, 2016

Greetings – approximately 25 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements/Share Table
Astronomical League Youth Award (see www.astroleague.org for more information):
Youth imaging award — deadline March 31, 2016
National Young Astronomer Award — deadline January31, 2016

• James River State Park — Dark Sky Park efforts: We received an inquiry regarding efforts to obtain Dark Sky Park status for James River State Park. If you are interested in working on this project, please contact presidentrichastro.org.
• Telescopes for sale: Members and friends of RAS have a few teiescopes or sale. More detail at hftp:uirichastro.orgfindex.p’np/maiflngi.

Library Report:
• Stars – 150 Paintings in Colors – Herbert Zim, 1956
• Skyguide – A Field Guide for Amateur Astronomers – Mark Chartrand III, 1982
• Whitney’s Star Finder – Charles A Whitney, 1981
• Secrets of Star Gazing – Beck Ramotowski, 2007
• Stars in the Making : Cecilian Payne-Gaposchkin, 1952
• Star Maps for Beginners – I M Levitt, 1942-1946

Welcome Visitors:

Events and Individual Observing:
RAS members
Science Museum
T. J. High School
L. L. Bean skywatch
Christmas Star at Belmead

Upcoming Events
Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, January 15, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can.
Powhatan State Park Skywatch, Saturday, January 16,6:00 PM: Contact John Raymond at raymond7419verizon.net if you can bring a telescope to this skywatch or if you have questions. A map showing the location is at https:J/goo.gl/maps/vjWzHwXEa3R2.
Belmead Skywatch, Saturday, January 30 (and January 29), 5:00 PM (Feel free to set up before dark): Bring your telescope, binoculars or comfortable chair for an evening under the stars. If you have a telescope you want to try out, this is a great opportunity to test it under a dark sky with astronomers on hand to help. Belmead is at 5004 Cartersville, Rd in Powhatan: https:Ifgoo.gl/rnaps/zYZzfBv77zA2.
RAS Board of Directors Meeting, Monday, February 15,7:00 PM: Extra Billy’s on West Broad St. Reservations at 6:00 PM for dinner.
RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 PM: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the Museum. We will stream video of the meeting at http:I/ustream.tvlchannel/richastro.
Upcoming Star Parties
Staunton River Star Party, March 9-13, Staunton River State Park: Registration is now open for this party in a beautiful dark sky, rural setting! Information at www.chaosastro.comlstarparty/.
Northeast Astronomy Forum, April 9-10, Suffern, NY, Rockland Community College: Premier astronomy and space expo: information at www.rocklandastronomy.com.
Delmarva Stargaze XXII, May 5-8, Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel, Deiware: Hosted by the Delmarva Stargazers; information at htt p :Ilwww. del ma rvastargaze rs .org
East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, date TBA: Fun and casual observing in a dark sky, coastal environment with the friendliest astronomers anywhere. For info contact Kent Blackwell at kent@exis.net.
Green Bank Star Quest, July 6-9, Green Bank, WV: Lots to do and see even if cloudy weather limits observing. Held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV. Information at http://www.greenbankstarquest.org/ and on their Facebook page.
ALCon, August 10-13, Washington, DC: National convention of theAstronomical League to be hosted this year in northern Virginia by the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club. This annual convention is an excellent opportunity to meet with amateur astronomers from across the nation. Plus the convention this year is very convenient to Richmondl Information at hffps://alcon2Ol6.astroleague.org.
Almost Heaven Star Party, September 2-6, Spruce Knob, WV: At the Mountain Institute at a high altitude dark site; http://www.ahsp.org/. Break
Presentation: “Fallen Heroes of Space Flight,” Ted Bethune



December 2015 Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
795th Consecutive Meeting
December 8, 2015

Greetings – approximately 25 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements / Share Table
• 2016 Astronomical calendars are for sale from Jim Blowers, for $6.50 each.

Events and Individual Observing:
• RAS member observing
• Science Museum
• Fall picnic at Belmead
• Powhatan State Park

Upcoming Events
• Skywatch at TJ High School, Thursday, December 10, 6:00 PM: Thomas Jefferson High School is hosting an astronomy night and RAS astronomers will be providing views of the night sky to parents and students. We should have a good group of visitors, so we will need a few telescopes. Please bring a telescope if you can and also please contact presidenttrichastro.org if you can help with this event. TJ High School is located at 4100 West Grace St. A Google map is at this link https://goo.gl/maps/C2XSCHw7kwD2.
• Christmas star at Belmead, Saturday, December 12, 7:00 PM: Belmead will host a public observing session on December12 along with an indoor presentation on the Christmas star. We will speculate on what the Christmas star might have been and discuss how the appearance of the ancient sky is reconstructed. The indoor Christmas star presentation will begin at 7:00 PM, followed by observing near the mansion as long into the evening as we have the energy and clear skies. Please join us if you can.
Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location in Powhatan County. Below is a link to the entrance of Belmead at 5004 Cartersville Road, Powhatan:
https://goo.gl/mapsIK6VXrPG4VWD2. Once on the Belmead property, follow signs to the mansion.
• Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, December 18, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can.
• Monthly RAS Meeting, Tuesday, January 12, 7:30 PM: Please join us for our regular monthly meeting at the Science Museum of Virginia and for dinner before the meeting at Arby’s across the street from the museum. For those that cannot attend the meeting in person, we will stream video of the meeting, starting at 7:30 PM, internet bandwidth permitting, at http://www.ustream.tvlchannel/richastro
• Astro-imaging hangouts on Google: Bryan Hartley has been hosting a series of Google hangouts on astro-image processing with Pixinsight. If you want to join in the hangouts, please contact presidentrichastro.org.
• James River State Park — Dark Sky Park efforts: We received an inquiry regarding efforts to obtain Dark Sky Park status for James River State Park. The inquiry was from someone working to support their efforts with astronomy interpretive programs. Anyone interested in working on this project? Please contact president©richastro.org if so.
• RAS 2016 dues are due by the end of the year: This is the time of year we get our dues paid up for the upcoming year. Dues are $30 for regular members, and an additional $10 for trained Observatory staff members. Your dues payment helps us pay for member gatherings, RAS observatory support, student achievement awards along with educational I outreach events and Astronomical League dues. We appreciate the support our members provide through their dues payments and we try to be very good stewards of our funds to make sure we get the greatest benefit possible from our members’ dollars.
Special rate subscriptions are available for members to Astronomy and for Sky and Telescope magazines. Astronomy subscriptions are available at $34 for one year or $60 for two years. Sky and Telescope subscriptions are available for $32.95 for one year.

Please pay your dues by the end of the year to our Treasurer, Jim Blowers, in person at a meeting or with Pay Pal (at http://richastro.org/ras payments.htm), or by US mail to:
Jim Blowers
232 N. Pinetta Drive
North Chesterfield, VA 23235

• Telescopes for sale: Members and friends of RAS have a few telescopes or sale. More detail at http:llrichastro.org/index.phplmailingl. Thanks to all of our members, friends and supporters fora great 2015. May we have an even better 2016.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year



November 2015 Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2016 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
794th Consecutive Meeting
November 10, 2015

Greetings – approximately 41 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements / Share Table
• Dues are due: RAS dues for next year are due by the end of 2015. Please pay your dues payment to our treasurer, Jim Blowers, by mail, in person at a meeting or by PayPal at http://richastro.org. Dues are $30 per year. We make every effort to keep our costs to a minimum — funds go to support our outreach efforts, club gatherings, observatory, science fair awards and astronomical league dues. Thanks very much for all of the great support from our members and friends!
• 2016 Astronomical calendars are for sale from Jim Blowers, for $6.50 each.

Library Report:
• The Road Map of the Stars – Albert Parsons, 1911
• The Friendly Stars – Martha Evans Martin, 1907
• The Observer’s Star Atlas – Harold B Webb, 1939
• Star Maps for Beginners – I M Levitt and Roy K Marshall, 1942
• Norton’s Star Atlas and Telescope Handbook, 1966
• Turn Left at Orion – Guy Consolmagno & Dan Davis, 2006

Welcome 4 Visitors:

Events and Individual Observing:
• RAS member observing,
• Science Museum,
• Staunton River Star Party,
• Solar open house

Election of 2016 Board of Directors (13):
Madhup Rathi
Jim Browder
David Medici
Jim Blowers
Matthew Roy
Michael Pitchford
John Raymond
Ken Wilson
Betty Wilson
Gary Cowardin
Ted Bethune
Michael Lico
Chris McCann

Upcoming Events
RAS Fall picnic, Belmead on the James, Saturday, November 14, 4:00 PM: RAS will have its fall picnic at Belmead this year adjacent to the mansion, followed by observing as long as astronomers have the steam and skies to observe. Please join us for the picnic and bring a dish to share — best to have the food deployed by 5:00 PM.

The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak November 17-18 but maybe we will see some “pre-Leonid” meteors. Also, if you have a new telescope or one that you have been having trouble with, please feel free to bring it to Belmead and we’ll help get it set up. Or if you want to try your hand at astrophotography, bring a camera to couple to one of our telescopes and give it a shot. Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location in Powhatan County adjacent to the James River. Contact president@richastro.org with any questions.

A Google map showing the location of the entrance to Belmead (5004 Cartersville Road, Powhatan, VA) is at this link
https://goo.gl/maps/D4Ezq8yKvYE2

RAS Board of Directors meeting, November16, 7:00 PM, Extra Billy’s: The incoming and outgoing Board of Directors will meet at Extra Billy’s on West Broad Street. Reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for those that wish to eat. Meetings are open to all RAS members. Many thanks to all of our board members for taking care of the club’s business.

Science Museum skywatch: No skywatch at the Science Museum in November. We will resume skywatches on the third Friday of each month (weather permitting) in December.

Powhatan Holly Days Bazaar, November 21, 9:00 AM — 4:00 PM: Powhatan Holly Days Bazaar is Nov 21st at Powhatan Elementary and John Raymond is looking for a couple of solar scopes if the weather is good. RAS volunteers get a lunch and drink. Contact John Raymond at raymond7419@verizon.net if you want to help with this event. Note that this is a daytime event.

RAS Observatory Open House, Saturday, November 21, 5:00 PM: Open house at the RAS Ragland observatory. Please contact John Raymond at raymond74l9@verizon.net if you are interested in attending.

Monthly RAS Meeting, Tuesday, December 8, 7:30 PM: At our December meeting we magically transform into the Richmond Gastronomical Society to celebrate whatever holiday you prefer this time of year or to just celebrate eating if you like. Please bring a dish to share. We will deploy the foodstuffs in the entry way to the Thalhimer Theater at the Science Museum of Virginia at 6:30 PM. Please note the earlier time and bring a dish to share. There will be no formal presentation at the December meeting. For those that cannot attend the meeting in person and wish to watch us eat, we will stream video of the meeting, starting at 6:30 PM, Internet bandwidth permitting, at the following link:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/richastro

Air and Space Magazine photo contest, deadline November 15: Air and Space Magazine is having a photo contest. We received a request to pass along this information to our members. If you would like to submit an astrophoto (or other photo), see http://www.airspacemag.com/photocontest/. The deadline is fast approaching.

James River State Park — Dark Sky Park efforts: We received an inquiry regarding efforts to obtain Dark Sky Park status for James River State Park. The inquiry was from someone working to support their efforts with astronomy interpretive programs. Anyone interested in working on this project? Please contact president@richastro.org if so.

Break

Presentation: “Celestial Wayfinding,” Ken Wilson



Meeting Minutes

Nov 8th, 2015 | By | Category: Meetings

April 2016 Meeting Minutes

March 2016 Meeting Minutes

February 2016 Meeting Minutes

January 2016 Meeting Minutes

December 2015 Meeting Minutes

November 2015 Meeting Minutes

October 2015 Meeting Minutes

September 2015 Meeting Minutes

August 2015 Meeting Minutes

July 2015 Meeting Minutes

May 2015 Meeting Minutes

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October 2015 Meeting Minutes

Nov 8th, 2015 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
793rd Consecutive Meeting
October 13, 2015

Greetings – approximately 33 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements / Share Table
• Dues are due: RAS dues for next year are due by the end of 2015. Please pay your dues payment to our treasurer, Jim Blowers, by mail, in person at a meeting or by PayPal at http://richastro.org. Dues are $30 per year. We make every effort to keep our costs to a minimum — funds go to support our outreach efforts, club gatherings, observatory, science fair awards and astronomical league dues. Thanks very much for all of the great support from our members and friends!
• 2016 Astronomical calendars are for sale from Jim Blowers, for $6.50 each.
• Board of Directors nominees for 2016 were introduced. Club elections will be done at the November meeting. Officer elections will be done at the Board meeting. There is still 1 opening if anybody is interested. Is interested, please contact Dave Medici or Bill Newman. Thanks to Dave and Bill.
• Leslie accepting donations for a kidney walk to support research by the National Kidney Foundation.
• VAAS photos that Jim Blowers had taken.

Welcome Visitors:
• Chris Johnston, music teacher at Thomas Dale
• Elyse Hawthorne

Events and Individual Observing:
RAS member observing – Orionids, Jupiter, Mars, Venus; Chris saw the lunar eclipse at NagsHead (clouded out in Richmond)
Science Museum – good crowd, very interesting questions
VAAS 2015 – well attended in Charlottesville; weather affected some activities
Belmead Cub Scout observing – John Raymond and Jim Blowers attended and reported there was a very good crowd

Upcoming Events
Monthly RAS Meeting, Tuesday, November 10, 7:30 PM: Please join us for the meeting at 7:30 PM and, if you can, for dinner at Arby’s, across the street from the Museum about 6:00 PM. For those that cannot attend the meeting in person, we will stream video of the meeting, starting at 7:30 PM, internet bandwidth permitting, at
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/richastro.

Staunton River Star Party, Staunton River State Park, October 12-18: Star party in the newest dark sky park in the east! More information at http://www.chaosastro.com/starparty/. If you have a chance to attend, this is an outstanding star party in a great location, with great facilities, excellent staff and with dark skies! This party is very much worth attending and supporting. The Chapel Hill club and the Park staff have done an awesome job making this party happen and protecting the dark sky resources of the area. The weather forecast is looking quite good as well.

Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, October 16, 7:00 PM: Our regular monthly skywatch at the Science Museum is scheduled to start about 7:00 PM after the Museum’s Science After Dark exhibits, activities and planetarium show at 6:30. Please join us if you can.

Science Pub RVA, October 20, 6:30 PM at Kampot at Balliceaux: Dr Jack Singal, with the University of Richmond, will discuss the science behind exoplanet hunting and the wealth of knowledge that has been accumulated. The event location is below with more information at this link:
http://sciencepubrva.org/2015/09/29/october-20-science-pub-an-astronomical-revolution/

Kampot at Balliceaux
203 North Lombardy Avenue Richmond, VA 23220
$0 —$5 suggested donation

RAS Fall picnic, Belmead on the James, Saturday, November 14, 4:00 PM: RAS will have its fall picnic at Belmead this year adjacent to the mansion, followed by observing as long as astronomers have the steam and skies to observe. Please join us for the picnic and bring a dish to share. Belmead is a beautiful dark sky location in Powhatan County adjacent to the James River The location of the entrance to Belmead is 5004 Cartersvillle Road, Powhatan, VA. Matthew Roy and David Medici will coordinate the picnic.

L C Bird High School Astronomy Club, the Star Birds, is having a skywatch on Wednesday, October 21 at the school. It’ll start about 6:30. Please contact David Medici if interested in helping.

Short presentation: Madhu – “Remote Astronomy”
Madhu took a few minutes to explain his automated procedure to use his remote observatory about 30 miles from here. He uses CCD Commander to create scripts to control his observatory and his telescope. This prevents him from having to stay up (and outside) all night. During his few minutes, he demonstrated this software to photograph a star in M27. His photo had a 31 second field of view, and resulted in a photo of a bright star and a few other stars around it. This same process has been used to capture some beautiful photos that many of us have seen over the past few years.

Break

Presentation: “The Space Program from Down Under”, Ted Bethune
Ted’s presentation was a quick history of the Australian space program. He started off showing a short video about the Black Arrow launches followed by the Europa launch. He followed this with photos from 1950-1970s, while the space research was active. Since the British and the Australians were concerned about the cold war, some of their first rockets carried ballistic missiles on it. Most of these were the Blue Streak, which had its share of successes and failures.
The European Space program developed the Europa, which launched with a mixture of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in its tanks.
He moved on and showed photos of the Black Arrow. The Black Arrow was about 2 meters in diameter and, when launched, had an clean invisible flame due to the special fuel being used.
The Black Knight was the first rocket that reached 110 miles in altitude.
Another photo showed where the Blue Streak had to be lifted into position in the gantry to be ready for flight.
He had a photo showing abandoned launch gantries in Remora. None of the launches by Australia were manned.
It could be seen in the photos that most of these rockets were launched from a desert environment .



September 2015 Meeting Minutes

Nov 8th, 2015 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society
792nd Consecutive Meeting
September 8, 2015

Greetings – approximately 36 in attendance at the meeting.
Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

Announcements / Share Table
• Telescope for sale: RAS member Bill Nelson has a very lightly used 10-inch Orion Dobsonian with Intelliscope computerized object locator system and accessories which include a color filter set, two 1.25” eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), 9×50 right-angle correct-image finder scope with bracket mount, dust cover, collimation cap, 4—hole eyepiece rack, padded carrying case and a copy of the book “Turn Left At Orion”. All for $750. If you are in the market for a good deep-sky scope that is already assembled, tested and easy to deploy, this is a great deal.
• Board of Directors nominating committee was introduced and its mission over the next 2 months was discussed. Anybody interested in being on the Board, please contact Dave Medici or Bill Newman.
• RAS membership dues are due. Annual membership is $30. Observatory personnel fees are an additional $10. Magazine subscriptions are available for Sky&Telescope, and for Astronomy.
• The latest Reflector magazine – all RAS members should be getting. It has an article on Safety in Observing.
• An old Boy Scout Merit Badge book
• Information about the upcoming VAAS meeting.
• A newspaper article about the Hospice center near the Ragland observatory.
• A copy of a 1916 star chart
• John Raymond had eyepieces for sale.
• A found hat that was lost at a recent skywatch

Library Report – Virginia brought in the following for displaying:
How to Identify the Stars (1909), by Willis Milham
The Search for our Beginning (1983), by Robert Hutchison
Some Famous Stars (1950) by W. M. Smart
Observatinal Astronomy for Amateurs (1982) by J B Sidgwick
The Story of the Moon (1943) by Dr. Clyde Fisher
Living the Sky: The Cosmos of the American Indian (1984) by Ray Williamson

Events and Individual Observing: RAS members, SMV skywatch had 150-200 attendees who observed sun dogs, Saturn, and the Moon. ISS even had a bright exciting flyover.

Monthly RAS Meeting, Tuesday, October 13, 7:30 PM: Please join us for the meeting at 7:30 PM and, if you can, for dinner at Arby’s, across the street from the Museum about 6:00 PM. We will stream video of the meeting at http://www.ustreamtv/channei/richastro

Powhatan State Park Skywatch, Saturday, September12, 8:00 PM: Skywatch at the parking lot near the end of the park access road. We will post signs in the park showing the way to the skywatch area. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can. At the last Powhatan State Park event we were a little short on telescopes — we had quite a few more visitors than we anticipated, so we could use a couple more telescopes this time around. Please let Jim Browder know if you can bring a telescope at president@richastro.org.

East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous, September 13-19, Galax, VA, Cool Breeze Campground: http://ecvarstarparty.wix.com/ecvar.

Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, September 18, 7:00 PM: Our regular monthly skywatch at the Science Museum is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM after the Museum’s Science After Dark exhibits, activities and planetarium show at 6:30. Please join us if you can.
Twin Hickory Library skywatch and presentation, Tuesday, September 22, 7:00 PM: Skywatch at the Twin Hickory Library in Henrico County at 5001 Twin Hickory Rd Glen Allen, VA 23059. There will be a brief presentation from 7:00 to 7:30 PM, followed by observing at about 7:45 pm. The rain/cloud date will be Wednesday, Sep. 23. contact Madhup Rathi, if you can bring a telescope @201-988-9206.

Camp Hanover Stargazing, Saturday, September 26, 7:00 PM: The Camp Phoenix Virginia organization will be holding its annual camp at camp Hanover for adult cancer survivors and RAS will be there to stargaze with the campers. Please contact president@richastro.org if you can attend and bring a telescope. Location of the camp is at this link: https://www.camphanover.org/about/location/.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Open House, Saturday, September 26, 11:00 AM — 5:00 PM: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will host a free open house. This will be an opportunity to get up close and learn more about NASA’s work and to interact with NASA scientists and engineers. Visitors can explore the operations of the Hubble Space Telescope and the clean room for the James Webb Space Telescope, among many others. NASA is encouraging groups like RAS to attend.
More at www.nasa.gov/explorenasagoddard

Total Lunar Eclipse, Sunday, September 27, 8:00 PM: Weather permitting, RAS will view the total lunar eclipse from the Science Museum of Virginia and will broadcast the event at http://ustream.tv/channel/richastro. The Museum will be open until midnight with indoor astronomical activities from 8- 10! Please join us. Eclipse begins: Sun, Sep 27, 2015 at 8:11 PM with maximum at 10:47 PM and ends at 1:22 AM.

Annual Meeting of the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies, October 3, Charlottesville: The Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies annual meeting is being hosted by the Charlottesville Astronomical Society at the headquarters of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at the University of Virginia http://www.cv.nrao.edu/ with an evening tour & observing at McCormick Observatory.

NOVAC Star Gaze, Saturday, October 3, 3-11 PM, Fauquier County, C. M. Crockett Park: http://www.novac.com/wp/outreach/stargaze/. Usually there are 50-70 telescopes.

East Coast Star Party, October 8-10, Coinjock, NC: Casual star gazing in a coastal environment with the friendliest astronomers anywhere. The star party will be at the Hampton Lodge Campground in Coinjock. Contact Kent Blackwell at kent@exis.net for more information.

Staunton River Star Party, Staunton River State Park, October 12-18: Star party in the newest dark sky park in the east! More at http://www.chaosastro.corn/starparty/. Register by October 1. This is an outstanding star party in a great location, with great facilities, excellent staff and with dark skies! This party is very much worth attending and supporting. The Chapel Hill club and the Park staff have done an awesome Job making this party happen and protecting the dark sky resources of the area.

A fall picnic is in the planning in November, probably at Ragland or Belmead

Observatory training session is in the planning at the Ragland observatory. If interested, please let us know.

Break

Presentation: “Universal Numbers,’ Jim Blowers
Jim investigated the idea of Astronomical and Universal constant numbers. There are several numbers that all scientists take for granted, and many non-scientists do not know about (nor understand). One-by-one, Jim discussed several, describing what they are and some trivia about some of them. He then looked at some of the values and asked ‘what if this number changed either bigger or smaller’. How would the change affect life, physics, or the universe in general? To me, that twist was quite interesting.
He started with 0 and compared it to infinity. After discussing the significance of 1, he discussed 2 and the use of binary in science. A list of the constants that he discussed includes:
• E (2.718281828459)
• Supertwo
• A mathematical puzzle named the ‘Hat check girl’. If a hat check girl scrambles all of the hats ina restaurant and randomly hands them back to customers, the probablility that noone gets the right hat back is (1- 1/e).
• Warp 2
• Pi (relationship between diameter and circumference of a circle)
• 3-dimensions
• Speed of light
• Gravitational constant of 2 masses: F=(Gm1m2)/(r2). G value is 6.67 * 10-11 .
• If G changed in either direction, it would affect planetary motion and their orbits.
• The Electromagnetic/Gravity ratio of 2.398 * 1041 would strongly change our lives if that changed.
• Avogadro’s number of N = 6.023 * 1023
• Absolute zero (0 degrees Kelvin) Microwave radiation in the universe is 3 degrees K.
• The ideal gas equation and constant. PV=nRT, where r=8.314
• Boltzmann constant relates energy at the particle level. K = R/N. R is the gas constant (from above) and N is Avogadro’s number (from above). Therefore, K is approximately 1.38 * 10-23
• Planck’s constant is the relationship between photon energy and the wave frequency.
• Chandrasekhar limit is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star, or 2.765 × 1030 kg.
• Schwartzchild radius is the radius of a sphere such that, if all the mass of an object were to be compressed within that sphere, the escape velocity from the surface of the sphere would equal the speed of light. An example of an object where the mass is within its Schwarzschild radius is a black hole.
• Hubble constant is roughly the relation between the distance D to a galaxy (which can change over time and its velocity v. H=v/D
• Omega is a mathematical constant approximately equal to 0.56714 where A is omega and solves the equation A * eA = 1 .

There are many values that can be declared as ‘Parameters of the universe’. Luckily, they are constant – will not change and will not affect life adversely.

OK, . . . . where does Dark Matter fit in?

Ahhh . . .memories of college physics