Richmond Astronomical Society

Meetings

Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

May 2017 Meeting Minutes

April 2017 Meeting Minutes

March 2017 Meeting Minutes

February 2017 Meeting Minutes

January 2017 Meeting Minutes

December 2016 Meeting Minutes

November 2016 Meeting Minutes

October 2016 Meeting Minutes

September 2016 Meeting Minutes

August 2016 Meeting Minutes

July 2016 Meeting Minutes

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May 2017 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

812th Consecutive Meeting

May 9, 2017

 

Greetings – approximately 33 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors:

  • Matt Getridge
  • David McCray

 

Events and Individual Observing:

  • RAS members
  • Astronomy Day
  • SMV
  • Scouts
  • Staunton River State Park dedication ceremony & observing

 

Science Museum Skywatch, May 19, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark activity. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can. Feel free to set up earlier than 6:30 since we typically have visitors prior to start time.

 

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, May 18-20: Fun and casual observing in a dark North Carolina sky with the friendliest astronomers anywhere. The location is the Hampton Lodge Campground which offers casual stargazing. in a coastal environment. Pre-registration is not required. Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for RN sites). Contact Kent Blackwell for information at kent@exis.net.

 

Cherry Springs Star Party, June 22-25, Cherry Springs State Park, near Coudersport, PA: Hosted by the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg, PA. More information at: http://www.astrohbg.org/CSSP/

 

Green Bank Star Quest, Green Bank Observatory, WV, July 19-22: The quest continues! More at http://www.greenbankstarquest.org/

 

The Great American Solar Eclipse, August 21: As seen from Richmond, the eclipse will be partial starting at 11:46AM, visible through 5:04 PM, peaking at 2:21 PM. Elsewhere in the US, this eclipse will be total and is not to be missed! More information at these links:

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21

http://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/

 

Staunton River Star Party – Fall Installment, October 16-22, Staunton River State Park: For those that have not attended, this is an excellent star party with dark skies, convenient amenities and a state park staff that is very welcoming to astronomers and second to none in their dedication to making this a successful event. More info is at http://www.chaosastro.com/starparty/

 

NASA Langley Open House, Hampton, Virginia, October 21: Outstanding opportunity to tour NASA Langley Research Center. More information at http://www.nasa.gov/langley/education/visit

Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies Annual Conference, October 21: Information to be posted as it becomes available. This year’s gathering will be hosted by the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers.

 

Stargazing Sessions at Staunton River State Park: Members of the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) in conjunction with Staunton River State Park are hosting public observing sessions with observing for the volunteer astronomers after the public portion. Dates for these events are: May 19, June 23, July 21, August 18, October21 (Staunton River Star Party) and September 22. Contact the park directly regarding weather cancellations at 434-572-4623 or StauntonRiver@dcr.virginia.gov

 

Stargazing at Shenandoah National Park: Shenandoah National Park is presenting a series of stargazing events and presentations at Big Meadows Area in the Park. Events are cancelled if there is inclement weather. Call 540-999-2222 the day of the event to check on its status.

DATE                           TIME

Fri, May26                     8:30 PM

Fri, June23                     9:00 PM

Fri, July 21                     8:30 PM

Sat, Aug 12 (Perseid Meteor Shower) 8:00 PM

Fri, Sept22                     7:00 PM

Fri, Oct20                      6:00 PM

 

Astro-imaging Tips: “Magic Lantern — Custom Firmware for Canon Cameras,” Bryan Hartley

 

Break

 

Presentation: “Orion vs. Falcon: Get Your Bets in Now, “Terry Barker



April 2017 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

811th Consecutive Meeting

April 11, 2017

 

Greetings – approximately 24 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors:

 

Events and Individual Observing:

  • RAS members
  • James River State Park
  • school skywatches

 

The Governor of Virginia along with his family, staff, state agency administrators and probably local politicians will be visiting Staunton River State Park on April 16-17. The Governor and his staff have been supportive of astronomy programs and have asked to participate in observing sessions while at the park. Adam Layman, the park manager, has asked for volunteer astronomers to help. This is a good opportunity to show state agency administrators and local and state government leaders the value of astronomy programs. The park recognizes that this is a lot to ask of folks, but is very appreciative of whatever support we can provide. Here is what the park needs — note that scheduled times may shift:

  • Sunday, April 16 — An observing session for the Governor, his family and the DCR administration. This will be a small event, but will provide an excellent opportunity to communicate to decision-makers the value of astronomy activities and dark sky preservation efforts. Volunteer astronomers are welcome to have dinner with the group at 6:00 pm with dedication of a dark sky observing area at 7:00 pm followed by an observing session.
  • Monday, April 17 — Dinner with a larger group with welcome / introductions at 5:00 pm, dinner from 5:30-6:30 PM, and a recognition ceremony from 6:30-7:30 PM. Although the Governor is expected to leave before dusk, we do expect that them will be a group (possibly even a large group) on Monday evening that will be interested in observing.

Please let us know if you can help at president@richastro.org. If you want camping space, also please let us know. Dress for the dinner events is business casual, nothing fancy.

 

Science Museum Skywatch, April 21, 6:30 PM: Skywatch at the Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark activity. Please join us and bring a telescope if you can. Feel free to set up earlier than 6:30 since we typically have visitors prior to start time.

 

Cub Scout Skywatch, April 24, Dinwiddie, 6:30 PM: Please contact Terry Barker at a meeting or send a message to president@.richastro.org if you can help.

 

Delmarva Stargaze XXII, April 27-30, Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel, Delaware: Hosted by the Delmarva Stargazers. Information at http://www.delmarvastargazers.org.

 

Astronomy Day at the Science Museum, April 29: RAS and the Science Museum of Virginia will celebrate National Astronomy day with a number of activities and observing opportunities. Please join us at the Museum on April 29! If you can volunteer, please send a message to president@richastro.org.

 

Star Party Weekend, May 6-7, Stratford Hall, VA: The Rappahannock Astronomy Club is partnering with Stratford Hall to host a Star Party Weekend with lectures and observing on the grounds. More information at http://www.stratfordhall.org/events/star-party-weekend-at-strattord/

 

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, May 18-20: Fun and casual observing in a dark North Carolina sky with the friendliest astronomers anywhere. The location is the Hampton Lodge Campground which offers casual stargazing in a coastal environment. Pre-registration is not required. Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for RN sites). Contact Kent Blackwell for information at kenttäexis.net.

 

Green Bank Star Quest, Green Bank Observatory, WV, July 19-22: The quest continues! More at http://www.greenbankstarquest.org/

 

The Great American Solar Eclipse, August 21: As seen from Richmond, the eclipse will be partial starting at 11:46AM, visible through 5:04 PM, peaking at 2:21 PM. Elsewhere in the US, this eclipse will be total and is not to be missed! More information at these links:

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21

http://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/

 

Staunton River Star Party – Fall Installment, October 16-22, Staunton River State Park: For those that have not attended, this is an excellent star party with dark skies, convenient amenities and a state park staff that is very welcoming to astronomers and second to none in their dedication to making this a successful event. More info is at http://www.chaosastro.com/starparty/

 

NASA Langley Open House, Hampton, Virginia, October 21: Outstanding opportunity to tour NASA Langley Research Center. More information at http://www.nasa.gov/langley/education/visit

Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies Annual Conference, October 21: Information to be posted as it becomes available. This year’s gathering will be hosted by the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers.

 

Stargazing Sessions at Staunton River State Park: Members of the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) in conjunction with Staunton River State Park are hosting public observing sessions with observing for the volunteer astronomers after the public portion. Dates for these events are: May 19, June 23, July 21, August 18, October21 (Staunton River Star Party) and September 22. Contact the park directly regarding weather cancellations at 434-572-4623 or StauntonRiver@dcr.virginia.gov

 

Stargazing at Shenandoah National Park: Shenandoah National Park is presenting a series of stargazing events and presentations at Big Meadows Area in the Park. Events are cancelled if there is inclement weather. Call 540-999-2222 the day of the event to check on its status.

DATE                           TIME

Fri, May26                     8:30 PM

Fri, June23                     9:00 PM

Fri, July 21                     8:30 PM

Sat, Aug 12 (Perseid Meteor Shower) 8:00 PM

Fri, Sept22                     7:00 PM

Fri, Oct20                      6:00 PM

 

Astro-imaging Tips: “Which telescope is best?” Madhup Rathi

 

Break

 

Presentation: RAS Award Winners at the 2017 Richmond Metro STEM Fair:

  • Naren Kasinath, “Efficiency of C-Type Asteroids as a Means of Shielding Against Ionizing Radiation During Interplanetary Travel”
  • Medha Majety, ‘The Effect of Varying Surface Gravity on the Number of In-falling Virtual Particle Pairs Near the Vicinity of the Event Horizon into a Singularity”
  • Aislinn Craig, “The Effect of the Use of a USC LPR Filter on the Visibility of Objects in Space”

 

 

 

 



January 2017 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

808th Consecutive Meeting

January 10, 2017

 

Greetings – approximately 24 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Telescope for sale: Celestron Astro Master 130 EQ (#31045), two years old, unused eyepieces still in boxes. Contact Ernie Irby at 804-282-0202 or ebirbyjr@verizon.net

 

A new image gallery page has been created for richastro.org: On our web site, we have a new section for archiving some of the extraordinary images that friends and members have shared with us. See http://richastro.org/index.php/gallery/

 

Appearance of a red nova has been predicted for 2022 (+/- a year).

A prediction that star KIC 9832227 will undergo an explosion in about 2022. Researchers at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan have studied the orbital motion of the star system and believe that they understand the motion sufficiently well to predict when they will merge and for a red nova, which will result in a 10,000 fold brightening of the star, making it visible in Earth’s night sky, possibly reaching the brightness of Polaris. More info at this link:

http://wvnv.universetoday.com/l32763/exploding-binary-stars-will-light-sky-2022/

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors:

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Science Museum

Belmead

 

Upcoming Events

Area skywatches: Currently scheduled dates below — if you can help with any of these events, please see Terry Barker or Madhup Rathi at a meeting or contact Jim Browder at president@richastro.org.

Stargazing workshop with L. L. Bean at Tucker Park in Goochland,

January 17, 7:00 – 8:00 PM (contact Jim Browder if you can help)

Skywatch at Maggie Walker

Skywatch at Matoaca Middle School, Wednesday, March 1

Skywatch at Glen Allen High School, Monday, March 6

Skywatch at Woodlake, Friday, March 24

 

Upcoming Star Parties:

Staunton River Star Party, March 22-26, Staunton River State Park: Outstanding star party in Halifax County; see www.chaosastro.org for more info.

 

Lots of regional star party action coming up — see richastro.org main page for a link to more details

 

Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, February 17, 6:30

(no skywatch in January):

Please join RAS astronomers at the Science Museum of Virginia for a skywatch in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. RAS astronomers will have telescopes deployed in front of the Museum for visitors to see celestial objects visible in the night sky. Please feel free to set up before dark.

 

RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, February 14, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting about 6:00 PM at Chicken Fiesta across the street from the Museum. Bring your valentine — who could ask for a better way to spend Valentine’s Day

For those that cannot attend the meeting in person, we will stream video of the meeting (internet bandwidth permitting) at:  http://ustream.tv/channel/richastro

 

Presentation: “The Last Apollo Mission — Over 40 Years Later — What’s Next,” Ted Bethune



December 2016 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond (G)Astronomical Society

807th Consecutive Meeting

December 13, 2016

 

Greetings – approximately 31 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Telescope for sale: Celestron Astro Master 130 EQ (#31045), two years old, unused eyepieces still in boxes.

Contact Ernie Irby at 804-282- 0202 or ebirbyjr@verizon.net

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors: 2+2

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Midlothian High School

Powhatan Library

Science Museum

Belmead.

 

Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, December 16, 6:30:

Please join RAS astronomers at the Science Museum of Virginia for a skywatch in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. RAS astronomers will have telescopes deployed in front of the Museum for visitors to see celestial objects visible in the night sky. Please feel tree to set up before dark — sunset is at 4:53 PM on Friday.

 

RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, January 10, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting about 6:00 PM at Chicken Fiesta across the street from the Museum.

For those that cannot attend the meeting in person, we will Stream video of the meeting (Internet bandwidth permitting) at http://ustream.tvfchannel/richastro

 

Belmead update: An update on the anticipated sale of Belmead is available on our richastro.org web site at http://richastro.org/index.php/blog/belmead-update-2/ and at http://www.belmeadonthejames.com.

 

Video: Antares launch

 

Presentation: The New Horizons LORRI Instrument, Steve Conard.



November 2016 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

806th Consecutive Meeting

November 8, 2016

 

Greetings – approximately 34 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Thanks to Michael Pitchford for donating the shelves for our Belmead facility

 

Belmead update

 

Welcome Visitors:

  • David Wootton
  • Ruth Wootton

 

Library Report:

 

2017 Board of Directors Election

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

SMV skywatch

East Coast Star Party

Staunton River Star Party

VAAS

 

Upcoming Events:

Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch: No skywatch at the Science Museum in November due to a conflicting event.

 

Robert Krulwich, host of NPR’s award-winning Radiolab show, will appear at the University of Richmond courtesy of the Modlin Center for the Ms in the Camp Center Hall on November 16, 7:30 PM, presenting “Inside Science. RAS members interested in attending may use a special promo code to purchase tickets and receive a 15% discount. The promo code is “rvaastro” and can be used online at the link below:

http://tickets.modlin.richmond.edu/single/SYOS.aspx?p=2156

or by calling the box office at (800) 289-8980. If any members are interested in staffing an RAS information table at the event, please contact president@richastm.org right away.

 

James River State Park Skywatch, November 19, 6:00 — 8:00 PM,

James River State Park, Gladstone, VA:

Join RAS astronomers for an evening skywatch with Park interpreters. Please contact John Raymond at raymond74l9@verizon.net  if you can bring a telescope. Information about the park is at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/stateparks/james-river#general_information

 

RAS Board of Directors Meeting, Monday, November 28, Extra Billy’s (Broad St. location), 7:00 PM: The 2016 and 2017 RAS Board of Directors will meet at Extra Billy’s. The meeting will start at 7:00; reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for those that wish to eat dinner.

 

Powhatan County Library Starry Night Skywatch, December 1, 6:00 PM:

RAS astronomers and a Science Museum educator will provide a Starry Night themed event at Powhatan County Library.  The parking area will be blocked off for telescope deployment after 5:00 PM.  Please contact Jim Browder at president@richastro.org if you can bring a telescope. Information about the library is at http://www.powhatanva.gov/247/Library/

 

Powhatan State Park Skywatch, Saturday, December 3, 6:00 PM: Please join us at the trail head parking area for a skywatch under the dark skies of Powhatan. Once you enter the park drive to the end of the state road maintenance and turn left into the trail head parking area. A Google map to the skywatch location is at https://goo.gl/mapsJUWShywTzf5D2

 

Travelogue: ‘Aurora viewing from the Northern Regions,” Ken Wilson

 

Break

 

Presentation: “The Great American Eclipse — August 2017,” Ken Wilson



October 2016 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

805th Consecutive Meeting

October 11, 2016

 

Greetings – approximately 27 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

RAS Board of Directors – upcoming election

 

We need some shelves – we could use some shelves at our Belmead outreach facility if someone has an old set they could donate. Thanks!

 

Staunton River Star Party — volunteers requested to help set up at Staunton River State Park on October 23. Work includes installing red lights and red filters, envelope stuffing and observing field marking with paint and flags.

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors:

George Brenner

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Science Museum

Belmead

loaner telescopes available

 

Science Museum of Virginia Skywatch, Friday, October 21, 6:30:

Please join RAS astronomers at the Science Museum of Virginia for a skywatch in conjunction with the Museum’s Science After Dark event. RAS astronomers will have telescopes deployed in front of the Museum for visitors to see celestial objects visible in the night sky.

 

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, October 20-22: Kent Blackwell is kindly hosting his East Coast Star Party again this Fall at the Hampton Lodge Campground which offers casual stargazing in a coastal environment with the most fun-loving astronomers anywhere. Pre-registration is not required. Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for RN sites). Contact Kent for more information at Kent@exis.net.

 

Powhatan State Park Skywatch, Saturday, October 22, 8:00 PM: Please join us at the trail head parking area for a skywatch under the dark skies of Powhatan. Once you enter the park drive to the end of the state road maintenance and turn left into the trail head parking area. A Google map to the skywatch location is at https://goo.gl/maps/UWShywTzf5D2

 

Staunton River Star Party, October 24-30, Staunton River State Park: Registration deadline is October 17!  For those that have not previously attended, this is an excellent star party with dark skies, convenient amenities and a state park staff that is very welcoming to astronomers and second to none in their dedication to making this a successful event.

 

Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies (VAAS),

Saturday, October 29, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Roanoke College, Salem, VA:

VAAS 2016 will be hosted by the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society, of Roanoke, Virginia, and the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics of Roanoke College at the Roanoke College Colket Center in Salem, Virginia, with a possible observing session afterward.

More info at http://www.rvasclub.org/vaas20l6 .

Please let us know if you are going by dropping a message to president@richastro.org.

 

Powhatan State Park Skywatch, Saturday, November 5, 6:30 PM: Please join us at the trail head parking area for a skywatch under the dark skies of Powhatan. Once you enter the park drive to the end of the state road maintenance and turn left into the trail head parking area. A Google map to the skywatch location is at https:J/goo.gl/maps/UWShywTzf5D2.

 

RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, November 8, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting about 6:00 PM at Chicken Fiesta across the street from the Museum.

For those that cannot attend the meeting in person, we will stream video of the meeting (internet bandwidth permitting) at:

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

 

Belmead in Peril! An update on the anticipated sale of Belmead is available on our richastro.org web site at http://richastro.org/index.php/blog/belmead-update/.

A new non-profit organization has been created to hopefully preserve this important site! Information on how you can help is at:  http://www.belmeadonthejames.com/contact

 

Break

 

Presentation: The Story of the Staunton River Star Party — an Interview with Jayme Hanzak, President of the Chapel Hill, NC, Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS)



September 2016 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

804th Consecutive Meeting

September 12, 2016

 

Greetings – approximately 29 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Recognition of the recipient of the Walter Haas Award for Excellence in Solar System Observing — RAS member Randy Tatum     Congratulations Randy!!!!!

 

We need some shelves: We could use some shelves at our Belmead outreach facility if someone has an old set they could donate. Thanks!

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors:

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Science Museum

Belmead impromptu observing

loaner telescopes available

 

Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, September 16, 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. Sunset is about 7:15 PM with a full moon.

 

Powhatan State Park skywatch, Saturday, September 17, 8:00 PM: Please join us at the trail head parking area for a skywatch under the dark skies of Powhatan. Once you enter the park drive to the end of the state road maintenance and turn left into the trail head parking area. A Google map to the skywatch location is at https://goo.gl/maps/UWShywTzf5D2.

 

Camp Hanover Skywatch, Hanover County, Saturday, September 24, 6:00 PM: Skywatch at camp Hanover for members of the Camp Phoenix cancer Survivor’s group. Please join us if you can.  Contact Jim Browder at president@richastro.org if you can bring a telescope. The location of camp Hanover is here: https://www.camphanover.org/about/location/.

 

RAS Fall Picnic, date to be announced — expect October 1 or October 8. Stay tuned for details by e-mail and on Facebook

 

NOVAC Star Gaze, C. M. Crockett Park, Fauquier County,

Saturday, October 1, 3:00 PM —11:00 PM:

Learn about astronomy while enjoying the night sky with hundreds of telescopes, binoculars and homemade projects. Many experienced astronomers will be on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge. More info at http://www.novac.com/wp/outreach/stargaze/.

 

Central Virginia Star Party,

Saturday, October 1, 6:00 PM — 10:00 PM, near Charlottesville:

The 6th Annual Central Virginia Star Party will be held on October 1st at the Albermarle Cider Works in North Garden, Virginia with hands-on astronomy activities aimed at elementary school age children along with planetarium shows, and cider tastings. Volunteer astronomers help with the skywatching activities. More information about the Dark Skies, Bright Kids project is at http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/DSBK/

 

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, October 20-22:

Kent Blackwell is kindly hosting his East coast Star Party again this Fall at the Hampton Lodge campground which offers casual stargazing in a coastal environment.

Pre-registration is not required. Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for RN sites). Contact Kent for more information at Kent@exis.net.

 

Bays Mountain Starfest, October 21-23,

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Kingsport, TN:

The event is a three-day astronomical convention hosted by the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club and Bays Mountain Planetarium. Registration closes on September 30, 2016— no walk-in registration allowed. More information at: http://www.baysmountain.com/astronomy/astronomy-club/?GTTabs=4

 

Staunton River Star Party, October 24-30, Staunton River State Park:

Registration is now open for the October installment of the Staunton River Star Party. For those that have not attended, this is an excellent star party with dark skies, convenient amenities and a state park staff that is very welcoming to astronomers and second to none in their dedication to making this a successful event.

 

Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies (VAAS),

Saturday, October 29, 8:30 AM — 4:00 PM Roanoke College, Salem, VA:

VAAS 2016 will be hosted by the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society, of Roanoke, Virginia, and the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics of Roanoke College at the Roanoke College Colket Center in Salem, Virginia, with a possible observing session afterward.  More info at http://www.rvasclub.org/vaas2016.

Please let us know if you are going by dropping a message to president@richastro.org.

 

Belmead in Peril! An update on the anticipated sale of Belmead is available on our richastro.org web site at http://richastro.org/index.php/blog/belmead-update/

A Change.org petition has been created to request reconsideration of the decision to sell. Please consider signing the petition to support efforts to preserve Belmead. Hopefully there will be a positive outcome.

 

 

Update on gravitational waves,” Mike Lico

 

Break

 

Presentation: “The as-yet unexplained dimming of Tabby’s Star,’ Jim Blowers



August 2016 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

803rd Consecutive Meeting

August 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

 

Thanks to Tom Stepka for last month’s presentation on the curvature of space. Tom’s slides will be posted on the main richastro.org page under the “Blog” link.

 

We need some shelves: We could use some shelves at our Belmead outreach facility for organizing small astro equipment items. If anyone has some old ones they could donate it would be much appreciated!

 

What I did on my summer vacation” A visit to JPL and the Griffith Observatory with Leslie Bochenski

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors:

Hazel Vargas

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Science Museum

“JPL and Griffith Observatory — What I did on My Summer Vacation,” Leslie Bochenski

 

ALCON 2016 registration is open! ALCon is the annual convention of the Astronomical League, held in a different location in the US each year. ALCon is an excellent opportunity to speak with and learn from other astronomers and experts in various fields. This year, ALCon is in Washington, DC – only a couple hours away, August 10-13. Registration and more information is at alcon2016.astroleague.org .

 

Powhatan State Park skywatch, Saturday, August 13, 8:00 PM:

Please join us at the trail head parking area for a skywatch in under the dark skies of Powhatan. Once you enter the park drive to the end of the state road maintenance and turn left into the trail head parking area. A Google map to the skywatch location is on our web page at richastro.org under the RAS Update tab or at at

https://goo.gl/maps/UWShywTzf5D2     John Bamett is the lead astronomer for this skywatch.

 

RAS Board of Directors Meeting, August 15, 7:00 PM: Meeting is at Extra Billy’s on West Broad St. Dinner reservations will be made for 6:00 PM for those that wish to eat.

 

Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, August 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. Sunset is about 8:00 PM — should have a near full moon to view in the evening prior to sunset.

 

RAS Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, September 13, 7:30 PM, Science Museum of Virginia: Please join us for the meeting and, if you can, for dinner before the meeting about 6:00 PM at Chicken Fiesta across the street from the Museum. For those that cannot attend the meeting in person, we will stream video of the meeting (internet bandwidth permitting) at http://ustream.tv/channel/richastro

 

Staunton River Star Party, October 24-30: Registration is now open for the Staunton River Star Party at Staunton River State Park More info at http://www.chaosastro.com/starparty . The park is near Clarksville, Scottsburg, and South Boston, Virginia and is designated as an IDA Dark Sky Park.

 

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/2016-star-parties/

 

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, 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 hangouts, please contact president@richastro.org.

 

Belmead in Peril! As many of you know, Belmead in Powhatan, where we have held a number of skywatches, indoor presentations, and several fall picnics is planned to be sold. This is enormously disappointing on many levels. Aside from our specific interest in the property as a dark sky observing and outreach education site, Belmead is an absolute treasure. It has had a lifetime as an old southern plantation from the 1840’s into the 1870’s, followed by a second lifetime as a school for African American and Native American youth from the 1890’s into the 1970’s, and yet a third rejuvenation as an environmental and community center and a model of land stewardship. A Change.org petition has been created to request reconsideration of the decision to sell. Please consider signing the petition to support efforts to preserve Belmead. Hopefully there will be a positive outcome. We will provide updates as information becomes available.

 

Break

 

Presentation: “Gravitational Wave Detection —Wave Hello to the Gravitons Passing By,” Mike Lico



June 2016 Meeting Minutes

Jun 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

801st Consecutive Meeting

June 14, 2016

 

Greetings – approximately 42 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room

 

Announcements / Share Table

 

Library Report: Virginia Eckert

 

Welcome Visitors: Many

 

Events and Individual Observing:

RAS members

Science Museum

Astronomy Day

Belmead Observing Station

 

Belmead in Peril! As many of you know, we have developed a partnership over the past few years with Belmead in Powhatan, a beautiful, historic and relatively convenient dark sky location. Unfortunately, the owners of the property, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Philadelphia, have decided to sell the entire 2,200 acre tract. The local Virginia staff at Belmead was not involved in the decision and this turn of events was very much a surprise to them. More information is available at: www.richmond.comlnews/local/central-virginia/powhatan/.

 

A press conference is scheduled at Belmead on Saturday, May 14 at 2:00 PM. Friends and supporters of Belmead are encouraged to attend.  The event is NOT restricted to members of the media.

 

The decision to sell Belmead is enormously disappointing on many levels. RAS was in the process of expanding our partnership with Belmead by installing within the month a telescope storage facility from which scopes could be deployed for visitor and member use. We were also preparing an application to the International Dark Sky Association to secure Belmead’s designation as a dark sky reserve. Aside from our specific interest in the property as an observing and outreach education site, Belrnead is an absolute treasure, It has had a lifetime as an old southern plantation from the 1840’s into the 1870’s, followed by a second lifetime as a school for African American and Native American youth from the 1890’s into the 1970’s and yet a third rejuvenation as an environmental and community center and a model of land stewardship. It has most recently served us as a comfortable respite from urban light glow

 

RAS has sent a letter to the leadership in Philadelphia registering our displeasure and concern over the lack of inclusiveness in making this decision. There is also a petition at Change.org if you would like to add your name in support. Hopefully there will be a positive outcome.

 

Interesting article on light pollution on CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/1 1/health/light-pollution-atlas-milky-way-irptlindex.html

 

Upcoming Events

Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, June 17, 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, Saturday, June 25, 8:00 PM: Stargazing at Powhatan State Park – please join us and bring a telescope. We have a lead astronomer for this event, but could use a few extra folks with telescopes. We also need lead astronomers for events on November 5 and December 3. If interested, please contact president@richastro.org.

 

Belmead skywatch, Saturday July 2, 8:00 PM:

Public skywatch and sky tour at Belmead in Powhatan. The location of Belmead is at 5004 Cartersville Road, Powhatan, shown on this Google map at

https://goo.gl/maps/YLWSNnY5QpG2

Once you enter the Belmead property, follow the road approximately one mile to the mansion.

 

Green Bank Star Quest July 6-9, Green Bank, WV

 

York County Star Party, July 27- 31, York County State Park, York, PA

 

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/2016-star-parties/

 

ALCON 2016 registration is open! ALCon is the annual convention of the Astronomical League, held in a different location in the US each year. ALCon is an excellent opportunity to speak with and learn from other astronomers and experts in various fields. This year, ALCon is in Washington, DC – only a couple hours away, August 10-13. Registration and more information is at alcon2016.astroleague.org .

 

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.

 

Break

 

Presentation: ‘Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers,” Jerry Hubbell, astronomy author, VP of Engineering at Explore Scientific, VP of the Rappahannock Astronomy Club. Copies of Jerry’s book can be purchased from him or on Amazon.com, by searching for Gerald Hubbell. The title of the book is: “Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes from Home.”