Greg Redfern of the website What’s UP? The Space Place gave us all a good reason to stay awake at conventions: he played a video of the Chelyabinsk meteor exploding over Russia in 2013. The shock wave damaged 7,200 buildings and injured over 1,500 people. Needless to say, the playback over the sound system was LOUD.
Mr. Redfern was one of four speakers at this year’s VAAS (Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies) convention. The other speakers were:Dr. George Spagna, Associate Professor of Physics, Randolph-Macon College, who gave us an overview of astronomy at Randolph-Macon College.
Dr. Michael Skrutskie, Chair, Dept. of Astronomy, University of Virginia, showed us the results of his study on mapping the Solar System’s most powerful volcano (Loki Patera on Io) with the world’s largest telescope (the Large Binocular Telescope).
And Dr. Robin Garrod, Assistant Professor of Astronomy & Chemistry, University of Virginia, demystified the molecular complexity of the gases and dust throughout space.
Randy Tatum, a long time RAS member exhibited his collection of videos, photos, and drawings over 45 years of studying our Sun.
The convention took place in Ashland, VA, at Randolph-Macon College. After the talks, we were treated to a tour of the Keeble Observatory, a door prize drawing, which included a set of the first five books of Annals of the Deep Sky, from Willmann-Bell Books, and a Revolution Imager system, we headed to Poor Farm Park, for a picnic and observing.
It was a phenomenal day. A big thank you to the RAS volunteers that made the big day possible–they were: Terry Barker, Mearl Balmer, Jim Blowers, Colin and Michael Grace, Angie Hutchison, Joe Racette, Madhup Rathi, Tom Stepka, Betty Wilson, Gary Cowardin, Robert Williamson, and Jim Browder.