From the President...

November 2011 President's Perspective

September and October were fun months for the ASN!

September saw us do a rather fun activity we have never really tried before-- a picnic. The date was September 24th, and the place was Wilson Commons. The weather did not cooperate, at least, not at first. There were unforecast thunderstorms all over the place that day. One of them 'brushed by' the picnic just as I got there (late, from too many errands that needed doing!). But it was fairly warm, and didn't last long. In fact, by evenings' end, there was some pretty decent stargazing to be had. Everyone who participated, despite being wet from the 'natural sprinkler' had a good time!

We took some of what we learned from the September picnic and applied it to our Fall Overnight Star Party and Messier Marathon (October 29th). We were once again at a private home in Palimino Valley where we had a warm place to go warm up (it was quite chilly that night) as well as prepare food. We had good (not great) conditions, and a number of people (myself included) 'toughed it out' all night.  I did my first complete Messier Marathon in a couple of years, and did quite well. Personally for me, I found a new way to observe Virgo Cluster galazies, and saw every one but M104 (which no one saw). I doubt that this will be the last time at this location!

Late 2010 and 2011 are looking to be spectacular for Astronomy. On the morning of December 10th, there is a total lunar eclipse. This eclipse ends just as the moon sets here, and the ASN will be observing from the Planetarium. I will be next door at KNPB TV, assisting with a live streaming video feed to WPBT TV in Miami (the folks who produce 'Stargazer').

ASN member Jim Fahey is leading up publicity for the lunar eclipse, as well as for the annular solar eclipse on May 20th. This event occurs in the late afternoon, and Reno will be one of the best places anywhere to see it. This is a big deal for our club, and for the Planetarium. We will be working with the Planetarium, as well as KNPB TV, to make this event extra special. We will most likely be doing our eclipse viewing from the new observatory on the Redfield Campus. This will be perhaps the biggest deal for us for many, many years, and I hope it will be one we will all have fond memories of.

Finally, help support your club by participating in the many observing activities coming up. Even though our members-only parties are over for the year, there are a number of school and public star parties coming up. Even though I really enjoy 'digging for faint fuzzies', I also really enjoy introducing members of the public to astronomy with tried-and-true-- but still dazzling objects. Some of the best observing of the year is coming up. So even if there are no organized club star parties, some of us may orgainze informal star parties if the weather cooperates. So stay tuned to the forums for these sorts of activities. Sometimes the most informal activities are also the most fun.

Hope to see you at the meeting-- or better yet, just hear you under dark skies!

Tim Stoffel

Category: President