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Sunday, November 19 2017 @ 07:16 pm EST

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Own a $475 value 6" Celestron Reflector for as Little as $5

General NewsFRIDAY IS THE DAY!!! One of the luckiest Friday the 13th's in your life if YOUR name is drawn for this 6" telescope and a FREE 1-year membership in AOAS which will be given away at 8:00pm. Who will win? One of only approximately 162 tickets sold, and those are EXCELLENT chances! Winner will be called Friday, July 13th by telephone at 8:00pm SHARP!

AOAS is raffling off this Celestron 6" f/8 StarHopper Dobsonian telescope this summer. Manufacturer's suggested retail price of this telescope is $475.00. The lucky winner may walk away with this great "first telescope" for as little as a $5 donation ticket. If someone wants to increase their chances of winning, they may consider paying $20 to earn 5 donation tickets. Regardless of what anyone wants to spend, your donation is tax-deductible and you DO NOT need to be present at the drawing this July in order to win.

This 6" Celestron telescope will be raffled off to a lucky winner this July. Tickets may be yours for a donation of $5/ticket, or get 5 tickets for a $20 donation. MSRP of this telescope is $475.00


It has been some time since AOAS offered anything as a prize in a raffle drawing, but we've decided to try raising money by this method at the February meeting. We chose this 6" f/8 Dobsonian mounted reflecting telescope as the best choice since we know how much some lucky winner will be able to see and do with it. Many of us, myself included, have owned a 6" or 8" Dobsonian as a first telescope and we all enjoyed many years of great viewing with them.

Now, some lucky person will own their own 6" telescope come this July when we hold a drawing for the winner. Whoever's name we choose DOES NOT have to be present to win, and we will make arrangements with the winner to deliver the telescope in case they are not in attendance at the location and at the time of the drawing.

Each ticket we sell has the donor's name and phone number on it. Every ticket sold will be placed in a bin, and the ONE winning ticket will be drawn from that bin. We'll announce the winner's name and make contact with them immediately to let them know they have won their very own fine quality telescope.

In addition to the telescope, the winner will also receive their first year of membership in AOAS free as an additional free gift. We want to help whoever wins this telescope to be able to use it to the best of their ability, and to the maximum capacity of the instrument itself. Literally thousands of objects are within the reach of a quality 6" reflecting telescope, and we'll be there to help guide the winner of the telescope as they begin a fascinating journey through our wonderful universe.

Tickets will be available at every event, meeting and star party wherever AOAS holds an event between now and July. To get a chance to win this telescope for yourself or for someone you love, just ask to donate $5 for each ticket received, or donate $20 and receive 5 tickets instead of the regular 4. That will effectively increase your chances of winning, and even if you don't happen to be the winner, everyone who makes a donation can count that donated amount as a tax-deductible contribution to AOAS. AOAS is a registered 501 - (C) - 3 non-profit organization since 1987.
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Perfect Afocal Digital Astrophotography, Part 1

By Leonard Lynch

Figure 2
Top to Bottom - Coolpix 950, Coolpix 990, Coolpix 995, Coolpix 4500
A few months ago, I developed a renewed interest in astronomy and joined this fine club. I can''t express how fortunate I feel to have such a fine group of people to share an interest with. Every event that I have attended, from the Astronomy In The Park events last year, to the club meetings and star parties (that weren't rained out) this year, were like “Family Events.”

Figure 1
Example of Vignetting
One of my interests is astrophotography. I have an excellent Nikon 35mm camera and one day, I will buy the necessary attachments and take the time to figure out polar alignment. For now, Perfect Afocal Digital Astrophotography is my goal in life.

For the “newbies” that don't know the term, afocal astrophotography is simply the act of focusing an image in your eyepiece on the telescope, and then positioning a digital camera at the eyepiece and snapping away. The eyepiece focus, camera alignment, camera steadiness and camera/eyepiece proximity are all critical for good pictures, but I have seen some really good pictures taken by holding the camera to the eyepiece by hand.

I have a Sony CD500 digital camera, that takes wonderful pictures of everything terrestrial. When it comes to the afocal use of this camera, however, there is a problem. The lens moves in and out during focusing and manual zooming, and this, combined with the large diameter lens, causes a phenomenon called “vignetting” (pronounced vin-YET-ing.)

Vignetting means that the camera image looks similar to tunnel vision, that is, a small round image surrounded by blackness — like looking into a toilet paper roll. See Figure 1. I will not go into what causes this, as it is a little confusing to me, but I will try to work around it. Zooming the camera IN will eliminate most, if not all, of this in most digital cameras — but NOT with mine. Perfect Afocal Digital Astrophotography is not possible using this camera.

So, I searched the Internet to see how other like minded Amateur Astronomers were doing it. Most agree that the “only way to go” is with a Digital SLR camera. “Forget about afocal astrophotography, take your shots at prime focus, with a DSLR camera.”

Basically, like many of you, I cannot afford a thousand-dollar Digital SLR camera. I have too may other telescope accessories to buy, and recurring bouts of “aperture fever” to think about. Some of the most popular cameras for afocal astrophotography are the Nikon Coolpix 950, 990, 995, and 4500 model digital cameras. The 950 has a 2.1 mega-pixel chip and it is the oldest camera model. The 990 and 995 are 3.2 mega-pixel. The 4500 model is the newest model, with a 4 mega-pixel chip. The more mega-pixels, the more resolution the final picture will have. These cameras have small lenses that do not move externally when focusing and zooming, and have another feature that I like, a swivel in the middle of the camera so the LCD Screen can be adjusted to view the image when held at odd angles. Vignetting can be completely eliminated on these camera by zooming in slightly. Unfortunately, none of these cameras have been manufactured for several years. They are only available on the used market. See Figure #2.
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Chew on This!

NASA Space Placeby Diane K. Fisher

Looking down on the jaws of the Mars Rock Crusher, we see a magnetite rock get crushed into smaller and smaller particles.
The Mars robotic rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are equipped with RATs, or Rock Abrasion Tools. Their purpose is to abrade the surface patina off the Mars rocks so that the alpha x-ray spectrometer can analyze the minerals inside the rocks, rather than just on the surface.

But future robotic missions to Mars will be asked to go even further below the surface. Scrapers and corers will gather rock samples of substantial size, that, in order to be analyzed by a spectrometer, will need to be crushed into a fine powder.

Crushing rocks on Mars? Now there’s a problem that brings to mind a multitude of possible approaches: Whack them with a large hammer? Squeeze them until they explode? How about just chewing them up? It was with this latter metaphor that the planetary instrument engineers struck pay dirt — so to speak.

Thanks to NASA's Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program, a small group of NASA engineers came up with the Mars Rock Crusher. Only six inches tall, it can chew the hardest rocks into a powder.

The Mars Rock Crusher has two metal plates that work sort of like our jaws. One plate stays still, while the other plate moves. Rocks are dropped into the jaw between the two plates. As one plate moves in and out (like a lower jaw), rocks are crushed between the two plates. The jaw opening is larger toward the top and smaller towards the bottom. So when larger rocks are crushed near the top, the pieces fall down into the narrower part of the jaw, where they are crushed again. This process repeats until the rock particles are small enough to fall through a slit where the two plates are closest.

Engineers have tested the Mars Rock Crusher with Earth rocks similar to those expected to be found on Mars. One kind of rock is hematite. The rusted iron in hematite and other rocks help give Mars its nickname "The Red Planet." Another kind of rock is magnetite, so-called because it is magnetic. Rocks made by volcanoes are called basalts. Some of the volcanoes on Mars may have produced basalts with a lot of a mineral called olivine. We call those olivine basalts, and the Rock Crusher chews them up nicely too.

Visit www.jpl.nasa.gov/technology to read the latest about other NASA technologies for exploring other planets and improving life on this one.

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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The Opposition

Lunar & PlanetaryIn astronomy, there are all kinds of alignments. Every month our moon crosses a point in space when a straight line exists between the exact centers of the Earth, the center of the Moon and the center of the Sun. It actually does this twice each month, and the terms we use to describe that magical moment, that certain exact moment in time when the centers of all three come into a perfectly straight line is called Full Moon and New Moon, depending on which side of Earth the Moon is located.

There are also alignments between the planets of our solar system and our Earth and the Sun, too. This is the subject for this article, and those alignments are known as OPPOSITIONS and CONJUNCTIONS. Its a challenge to describe these terms accurately and succinctly so that the definitions are easily understood, and I'll do my best to help you reach a comprehension of just which is which, and what is what.

OPPOSITIONS


The moment of an opposition, or a Full Moon, or a conjunction for that matter, are all a split second in time, and technically, you could pin it down to a nanosecond in time, when every nanosecond until that special one and every one after that special one is either leading up to that point in time or it is receding from that point in time. While it is true for every object in the solar system, its the times of the Full Moon and New Moon that are the most obvious due to the moon's rapid movement through space.

But when this happens with the planets of our solar system, it is either an opposition, or a conjunction, and these are totally different from each other. I admit to some confusion about these terms when I was a younger student of astronomy, and I hope to help my readers with their own misinterpretations of these terms. We have to start with one of those moments in time when the exact centers of Earth, our Sun and the center of one-or-another particular superior planet can also form that perfectly straight line. We call THIS special moment in time, OPPOSITION! It is ONLY when a SUPERIOR PLANET lies opposite the Sun in the sky as seen from Earth that is called an OPPOSITION. The Superior Planets are those beyond Earth, and asteroids are also included in this group. The key thing about this is that all these astral bodies are FARTHER away from the Sun and that's what puts them in that position where they can lie OPPOSITE of the Sun as seen from Earth.
FULL MOON - An exact point in time, indicating an exactly straight line between the centers of Earth, Moon and Sun.


Picky, picky, picky, right? Well, a little bit. But this is something that most people do NOT completely realize nor fully understand. You have to get it in your head that the solar system, every object in our solar system is in constant motion either in orbit around our Sun, or around one of the planets. For a society that is at times very picky about when an exact moment in time is, we don't think to apply this concept to the terms Full Moon, New Moon, or opposition. Indeed, studies have shown that most people think that Full Moon is several days in length, and up to 3 or 4 days either side of that actual special instant in time.

I make such a fuss over this because tonight is June 5, 2007, and Jupiter reaches "opposition" this evening at exactly 6:00pm CDT. That's according to Astronomy magazine, which is a publication that understands the importance of getting it correct. Most of the science of astronomy is also that picky since mathematical models and formulas depend on it. When any PLANET comes to opposition, that also happens to be the time when that object is closest to Earth for that particular apparition, or for that year. For Jupiter the distance is half-a-billion miles away. Next year, the date of opposition for Jupiter will be on a different day than it is this year, and at a different instant in time.

Click Read More for more information on OPPOSITION.
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Q: How Do I Use My New Telescope? Pt 2-Star Charts

TelescopesIts about time, isn’t it? I mean getting around to this follow-up article for learning how to use your now not-so-new telescope. If you’ve followed my suggestions in Q: How Do I Use My New Telescope? Pt 1-The Finder Scope, then you’ve likely also pointed your scope at several other objects, maybe even at some of the brighter lights in the night or early evening sky. Some of those brighter objects might have been planets, and in this respect, if you didn't use any charts you can claim that you've actually made your very own independent discoveries of Saturn, or mighty Jupiter, or maybe even Venus.

Star Charts! Everybody needs them and uses one based on what your individual tastes are for how they look and how easy they are for YOU to use. Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines give monthly charts, but are these the best for you?
But the vast number of objects that you’ll want to see in your telescope are exceedingly dim. One of the best ways to find these objects is to use a star chart, and perform what’s called “the Star-Hop method” of locating deep-sky quarry.


I did the same thing and independently discovered Saturn on a cold, clear winter night behind my apartment in Oklahoma City in 1984, as I pointed the little 60mm at a bright “star”, and focused it in. I literally GASPED out loud as the rings of Saturn came into sharp detail. That was it......I was hooked for life!

Everyone is a little different, sometimes a LOT different, but the next logical step for learning how to get all you can from your telescope is to use a good set of star charts. I say set because I personally believe its impossible to produce a single star chart with everything on it. But how detailed do YOU need a set of charts to be? We should probably start with the same charts I started with, which is the monthly centerfold chart of Astronomy magazine. (Sky & Tel has similar charts) These charts have their good points and their bad points, and I'll try to explain why I find this to be.

At the time I seriously started into astronomy in 1984-1985, locating things from charts was done by visually identifying certain stars in the sky and on the charts at the same time. Too small of a chart didn't allow for many more stars to be included that are sometimes crucial to finding what you're after. The larger the chart the more dim stars are depicted on the chart and that means many more smaller stars that you'll see in the night sky from a dark location.

Planispheres are neat little rotating "wheels" that can help orient the user to see what's up for tonight, or six months from now, and at any time of night. Together with the centerfold charts, they allow for much better understanding of what's going on at any time than either the centerfold charts or the planispheres by themselves ever will.
Case in point: A triangular pattern of dim stars isn't shown on centerfold charts because they're too small....the stars of the triangle are too dim. But the larger chart does show them along with the tiny oval almost dead-center of the triangle which is the next object you need for your list of selected targets. I may not have found this dim little oval galaxy with just centerfold charts. If I hadn't gotten my Sky Atlas 2000, I could've possibly STILL been trying to find some of my Herschel 400 objects. Those stars were just barely visible in a dark sky and the little galaxy at the center was easily found and recorded. That's the star-hop method .....comparing stars shown on a chart with what is actually SEEN in the night sky and carefully moving your telescope towards a certain star or pattern of stars to bag your quarry. Its easier than it sounds, too!

My Good Points on "Centerfold" Charts
First, these charts are a FREE inclusion in several magazines each month. They also reveal the changing appearance of the sky as the months pass by over a year's time. The reader sees how the constellations are forever marching towards the west, while new constellations keep appearing on the eastern horizon and replacing what sets in the west. That was something that really grabbed me at the very outset of my self-taught course on amateur astronomy.

Click Read More for the rest of the story, and for more suggestions on other star charts.
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Scale of Our Galactic Neighborhood

General NewsTo an ant, we're giants. To an amoeba, the ant is a giant. If we go the other way we feel like the world is huge until we consider what Mother Earth looks like beside Jupiter, and Jupiter seems pretty small next to our Sun, which we call Sol. Let's take a fun little joy ride around our local neighborhood in this arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Be prepared to feel, well, insignificant by the time we're only a thousand light-years from home.

The rocky planets of our solar system, from Earth to lowly Pluto. This is but the starting point in a little tour of our local star out to around 1,000 light-years away to the red giant star Arcturus.
To our fellow creatures on Earth, our home seems vast and large. And yet I'm constantly imagining how small we are compared to other objects in our solar system, like Jupiter and Saturn. Its one of the more fun things we can use to help the uninitiated in astronomy to get a sense of scale from the very, very large to the very, very small. Its easiest for our visitors to start with how big we are, as humans, and how big other things are compared to that.

Consider the relative sizes of the 5 so-called "rocky" planets within our solar system, these being Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury. I include Pluto even though its technically an outer planet, due to it being a non-gaseous, non-giant planet. Even our own moon is larger than Pluto, but we're only comparing sizes of the nine planets for this article.
Comparing relative sizes of the inner planets to the outer planets. Are we feeling small yet? Not quite.....
This is the only time we'll feel like our own Earth is large as we continue outwards from the inner solar system.

As we bring the outer planets to the table, Earth shrinks down to a very small size equal to about 3X the size of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. The rings of Saturn aren't included leaving only the comparative sizes of the spheres themselves. But now we have some idea of what the true relative sizes of the 9 planets of our solar system are when brought close to each other.

Click on Read More for the rest of this story, and by-the-way, to begin feeling very, very, VERY small indeed!
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The Ions of Dawn

NASA Space Placeby Patrick L. Barry

Artist's rendering of Dawn spacecraft, with asteroids. Largest are Vesta and Ceres. Credits: Dawn Spacecraft — Orbital Sciences Corporation; Background Art — William K. Hartmann, Courtesy UCLA.
Click image for larger view.
This summer, NASA will launch a probe bound for two unexplored worlds in our solar system's asteroid belt — giant asteroids Ceres and Vesta. The probe, called Dawn, will orbit first one body and then the other in a never-before-attempted maneuver.

It has never been attempted, in part, because this mission would be virtually impossible with conventional propulsion. “Even if we were just going to go to Vesta, we would need one of the largest rockets that the U.S. has to carry all that propellant,” says Marc Rayman, Project System Engineer for Dawn at JPL. Traveling to both worlds in one mission would require an even bigger rocket.

This is a trip that calls for the unconventional. “We're using ion propulsion,” says Rayman.

The ion engines for the Dawn spacecraft proved themselves aboard an earlier, experimental mission known as Deep Space 1 (DS1). Because ion propulsion is a relatively new technology that's very different from conventional rockets, it was a perfect candidate for DS1, a part of NASA's New Millennium Program, which flight-tests new technologies so that missions such as Dawn can use those technologies reliably.

“The fact that those same engines are now making the Dawn mission possible shows that New Millennium accomplished what it set out to,” Rayman says.

Ion engines work on a principle different from conventional rockets. A normal rocket engine burns a chemical fuel to produce thrust. An ion engine doesn't burn anything; a strong electric field in the engine propels charged atoms such as xenon to very high speed. The thrust produced is tiny — roughly equivalent to the weight of a piece of paper — but over time, it can generate as much speed as a conventional rocket while using only about 1/10 as much propellant.
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A Little Old Time Selling

General NewsVan Buren's annual "Old Timer's Days" Festival is May 12 and 13, 2007, and AOAS members are there to raise funds for the club. With the decision to raffle off a 6" Celestron StarHopper Dob, we hit the bricks early on the morning of Saturday, May 12, and set up a display with our award winning AOAS t-shirts and the 6" right out front, and then we started our hawking for donations, "Say, would you like to take a chance at winning this fine 6" telescope? It might be yours come this July 13th for as little as a $5-bill."

AOAS members Donna Gentry and Sylvia Timmons position themselves for selling as we begin a long, humid Saturday trying to raise funds for AOAS. Photo by author.
Man, am I tired! It wasn't a good night rest-wise for me on the 11th, and I was up at 6:00am getting things ready to take downtown to the Old Timer's Days Festival. I didn't spend more than about 3 hrs total over the day, but between the loading, the spending time greeting the public and soliciting donations, then packing up everything until tomorrow's follow-up gig, I'm simply DAWG TARD and hurting from head-to-toe, as we say 'round these h'yer parts. Unfortunately, that's what it takes to make this fund-raising thing happen, you gotta DO something to GET something. For our other AOAS members who helped out today, and that'll be back again tomorrow, we flat worked our tails off to make this a successful effort, and I thank you for such a great effort from everyone.

"Yes you did," "No I didn't," "Yes you did," "No I didn't," Yes you did," "No I didn't,".........
Other AOAS attendees for the first day of the festivities were, Roberta Parks (provider of the overhead cover...THANKS ROBERTA), Dale Hall, Joe Roam, Chuck Larson, and Jon Stone, Jr. Ed Wemmerus and myself, along with new member Leonard Lynch helped out on Sunday, along with return performances by Roberta, Sylvia, and Jon. We had a pretty good 2-day run. The tally for the event was $425 from ALL our efforts since buying the telescope and buying our booth space. Now we're making profits for AOAS, and we hope to see more than $1,000 in the bank by the end of summer. In 2 days, we had 58 more raffle tickets sold, several club t-shirts sold, and even a couple new members. Ed spent half of the entire day on Sunday talking it up and selling everything he could. As I heard Dale Hall say on Saturday, "That Ed is about the best pitch man I've ever seen!" I believe I'll have to agree. As of now, we've sold 74 tickets TOTAL, and Ed has been responsible for nearly 1/2 of all those by himself. I bow to your expertise, Ed! Way to GO!

The rest of the tickets won't sell themselves, and ED can't do it all by himself, so how about sending us an email or a letter to buy your own ticket for this great 6" beginner's telescope and FREE 1st year membership in AOAS so we can help you to learn what your new telescope can do. I'll be happy to mail you a single ticket, or even the bargain-priced 5 tickets for a mere $20 donation. Since its all tax-deductible, you'll never even miss it when you claim it on your 2007 taxes next year. COME ON, its a win-win situation any way you look at it.
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Clouds from Top to Bottom

NASA Space PlaceBy Patrick L. Barry

A CloudSat ground track appears as a red line overlaid upon a GMS-6 (a Japanese weather satellite) infrared image. CloudSat is crossing the north-central Pacific Ocean on a descending orbit (from upper-right to lower-left) near a storm front. The radar data corresponding to this ground track (beginning in the center panel and continuing into the lower panel) shows a vertical cloud profile far more complex than the two-dimensional GMS-6 imagery would suggest. Thicker clouds and larger droplets are shown in yellow/red tones, while thinner clouds are shown in blue.
Click image for larger view.
During the summer and fall of 2006, U.S. Coast Guard planes flew over the North Pacific in search of illegal, unlicensed, and unregulated fishing boats. It was a tricky operation — in part because low clouds often block the pilots' view of anything floating on the ocean surface below.

To assist in these efforts, they got a little help from the stars.

Actually, it was a satellite — CloudSat, an experimental NASA mission to study Earth's clouds in an entirely new way. While ordinary weather satellites see only the tops of clouds, CloudSat's radar penetrates clouds from top to bottom, measuring their vertical structure and extent. By tapping into CloudSat data processed at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Monterey, CA, Coast Guard pilots were better able to contend with low-lying clouds that might have otherwise hindered their search for illegal fishing activity.

In the past, Coast Guard pilots would fly out over the ocean not knowing what visibility to expect. Now they can find out quickly. Data from research satellites usually takes days to weeks to process into a usable form, but NASA makes CloudSat's data publicly available on its QuickLook website and to users such as NRL in only a matter of hours — making the data useful for practical applications.

“Before CloudSat, there was no way to measure cloud base from space worldwide,” says Deborah Vane, project manager for CloudSat at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

CloudSat's primary purpose is to better understand the critical role that clouds play in Earth's climate. But knowledge about the structure of clouds is useful not only for scientific research, but also to operational users such as Coast Guard patrol aircraft and Navy and commercial ships at sea.

“Especially when it's dark, there's limited information about storms at sea,” says Vane. “With CloudSat, we can sort out towering thunderclouds from blankets of calmer clouds. And we have the ability to distinguish between light rain and rain that is falling from severe storms.” CloudSat's radar is much more sensitive to cloud structure than are radar systems operating at airports, and from its vantage point in space, Cloudsat builds up a view of almost the entire planet, not just one local area. “That gives you weather information that you don't have in any other way.”

There is an archive of all data collected since the start of the mission in May 2006 on the CloudSat QuickLook website at cloudsat.atmos.colostate.edu. And to introduce kids to the fun of observing the clouds, go to spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/cloudsat_puz.shtml.

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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ASTRONOMY DAY 2007! Pt. 1 - April 21

Education OutreachWhat if Astronomy Day happened twice in one year? In 2007, it DOES! This year we'll celebrate Astronomy Day on April 21 in the Spring, and we'll do it all over again this Fall on September 15.

Hackett Public Schools have asked me to come and visit their classrooms 4 times so far in this 2006-2007 school year, and on this occasion I presented a Night Sky Network program on extra- solar planets and the scale of our Milky Way galaxy to the 3rd thru 6th grade Gifted & Talented students. We'll give some of these same presentations at ASTRONOMY DAY 2007 PT. 1 at the Nature Center near Barling, AR. - Photo by Gayla Edwards, Hackett School Gifted & Talented instructor; used by permission.
It has been quite some time since AOAS celebrated an Astronomy Day with any sort of concerted effort. I am ashamed to admit that, but it's time to start reorganizing and putting our best efforts into a local event. Luckily, at least from my point of view anyway, this will be a special year since its the first year that has ever seen TWO Astronomy Day dates. TWO chances to atone for all our missed opportunities in the past. We'll hold our first event in collaboration with the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center on April 21st, and this fall we'll hold our second Astronomy Day 2007 at the UA Fort Smith campus.

April 21 - 12:00 noon to 4:30 and then Dusk until 11:00pm
Karen Westcamp-Johnson is the Park Interpreter at the Nature Center and she has helped us to acquire the Center's large multimedia room for our displays and for our video presentations as well. We will put together several presentations using our Night Sky Network toolkits and the materials they contain, and we'll also have 2 or 3 DVD presentations, such as on the joint NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft now performing its mission to Saturn and it's largest moon Titan. We also have a DVD presentation about the Hubble Space Telescope in it's 15th year of operations describing much of what it discovered in 2006 and another excellent program might be the DVD "Cosmic Collisions" about the obvious pitfalls of objects hitting Earth, but the newly realized benefits of all sorts of things "going bump in the night" as well.
Member Larry Taylor lifts a young visitor to the eyepiece of his telescope at a visit we made to Hackett in 2006. We'll need "all hands on deck" to assist with public viewing for the evening of April 21 at Wells Lake near the Nature Center. Photo by Gayla Edwards, used by permission.
Our displays and presentations will be active from 12:00 noon until 4:30pm when the Nature Center closes for the day. Later in the evening on April 21, we'll return to the Nature Center area to the picnic area on the shore of Wells Lake for a public Astronomy Day Star Party. We'll set up our telescopes by 7:30 and observe from dusk until at least 11:00pm that evening. We'll need several members with your telescopes for this event.

We'll have a discussion and some preliminary planning for this first event at the Messier Marathon this Saturday evening, and again on April 6th at our next regular AOAS meeting when we'll finalize some plans and modify others. There are many things that you can do as a member of AOAS to help this Astronomy Day become a success. You might help with the displays and presentations or you may want to wait and come out to setup your telescope to help with the star party that evening. Either way you choose, we will need as many members helping as possible, and I hope that we have several members step up to ask, "What can I do to help on Astronomy Day 2007 Pt. 1?"

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