Astronomy Day 2013

There are all sorts of "Days" on our modern calendar.  Astronomy Day is coming up on April 20th.  There are actually 2 Astronomy Days a year.  The first spring Astronomy Day was started in 1973 by Doug Berger.  He was the president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California.  Doug's idea was to set up many telescopes in city areas and give the public a glimpse of what is up there.  A fall Astronomy Day was added in 2007.  This years Fall Astronomy Day will be October 12th.

This unique opportunity gives us a chance to show our family, friends and anyone else who would like a chance to look through the telescope, what we love about Astronomy.  Your club is having an event at the Sparks Marina from 3PM to 10PM.  We will have solar telescopes there for viewing the sun in the day and member telescopes will be available for the evening viewing.  We will have giveaway stickers, tattoos and pictures from NASA and there will also be a program to view in one of the gazebos.

It is always fun to share our passion for celestial viewing with others.  Plan on stopping by on Saturday, April 20th at the Sparks Marina.  If you can't make it, try to have a star party of your own.  Either way, have a great Astronomy Day!

Category: Other Members

Oct-Nov 2012 What's Up This Month

October 2012

Moon Madness
New Moon Oct 15th
Full Moon Oct 29th

Flying Rocks
Oct 6-10: Draconids, Constellation Draco, Peaks Oct 8th
Oct 2- Nov 7: Orionids, Constellation Orion, Peaks Oct 21st
Oct 1-Nov 25: Southern Taurids, Constellation Taurus, Peaks Nov 5th
Oct 1- Nov 25: Northern Taurids, Constellation Taurus, Peaks Nov 13th

Sunrise east Celestial…

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Category: Other Members


The name immediately brings to mind visions of extraordinary strength, courage and bravery. He is the most famous mythological hero of ancient Greek legends. The Romans adopted this hero from the Greeks and changed his name from Heracles to our more familiar name Hercules. He was the son of the god Zeus (the Roman name is Jupiter) and his mother was Alcmene, a mortal woman. This made him a demigod (half man-half god). The ancient Greeks celebrated him as both a god and a hero. He survived the “Twelve Labours” and then sailed with Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. His first “labour” was to slay the Nemean lion whose hide was impervious to arrows and weapons. Hercules choked the beast to death after he had used his club to subdue it. After killing the beast he skinned the lion with its own claws. He then used the hide as an impenetrable shield draped over him like a cloak with the lions’ skull as his helmet. This is just one of the many incredible stories told throughout Grecian history about Heracles.

Given this history you might think the constellation Hercules is one of the biggest and most easily seen in the night sky. This is far from the truth. The central portion or body of this hero is a trapezoid with his arms and legs extending from each corner. The Keystone is the astronomical name given to this trapezoid. It is clearly defined in the sky when you locate this constellation.
Now let us begin a slightly difficult journey through the night ‘skyway’ finding our destination the Great HERCULES Supercluster or M 13. Let’s start at URSA MAJORs’ tail. This should be a familiar place.…

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Category: Other Members

Doing Science with a Spacecraft’s Signal

Doing Science with a Spacecraft’s Signal

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Provided to ASN via the NASA Space Place.

By David Doody

Mariner 2 to Venus, the first interplanetary flight, was launched August 27 fifty years ago.  This was a time when scientists were first learning that Venus might not harbor jungles under its thick atmosphere after all. A Russian scientist had discovered that atmosphere during the rare Venus transit of 1761, because of the effects of sunlight from behind.

Mariner 2 proved interplanetary flight was possible, and our ability to take close-up images of other planets would be richly rewarding in scientific return. But it also meant we could use the spacecraft itself as a “light” source, planting it behind an object of our choosing and making direct measurements.

Mariner 4 did the first occultation experiment of this sort when it passed behind Mars as seen from Earth in July 1965. But, instead of visible light from the Sun, this occultation experiment used the spacecraft’s approximately 2-GHz radio signal.…

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Category: Other Members

Greetings Burner Astronomers

The Black Rock Astronomical Society will be up and running on the Playa during the Burning Man from August 27 to August 31.  The approximate location will be 5:20 and C (in Burner speak).

There will be two telescopes and one binocular that will be great for viewing the…

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Category: Other Members