Nova awarded to Jim Fahey

The ASN presented its Nova award to Vice-President Jim Fahey at our monthly meeting in July 2015.  This award is given on special occasions when we wish to recognize outstanding contributions to the ASN and amateur astronomy in general.  Our membership voted to recognize Jim’s leadership and enthusiasm for public outreach astronomy, which is the core of the ASN’s purpose.  

Over the past two years Jim arranged, conducted and supported numerous star parties at public schools, city and county parks, campgrounds and the Dark Sky Festival at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Jim’s enthusiasm has encouraged other ASN members to experience the rewards and satisfaction of sharing their hobby of astronomy with anyone who wants to take a look in a telescope and learn something about the universe.  Thank you, Jim!!

Nova Award July 14, 2015Nova Award July 14, 2015

Category: President

ASN’s 24” Scope sees First Light

ASN’s 24” Scope sees First Light

The ASN’s 24” truss-tube dobsonian has not been used since approximately 2010.  In January through June 2015, the scope was restored and rebuilt by current ASN members. First light was in Palomino Valley on July 11, 2015!

Our 24" scope was built by ASN members in 1991 and rebuilt in…

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Category: President

ASN Star Parties and Events (Rev 10-19-14)

Recurring Star Parties

ASN members help conduct weekly star parties at the UNR Redfield Campus MacLean Observatory, off the Mt. Rose Highway, every Friday of the month (weather permitting; event will be cancelled if skies are overcast).  Contact the UNR planetarium for cancellation info and other questions.

The ASN provides monthly…

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Category: President

President's Perspective August 2013

Summer has come, and is quickly going by! We have warm, but short evenings to observe the heavens, and all the summer treats they have to offer. Oh, the riches of Scorpius, Sagittarius and Ophiuchus! Globular clusters, planetary nebulae and emission nebulae oh my! Further north, we have such wonders as the Ring Nebula, the North America Nebula, and my all-time favorite, the Veil Nebula!

The premiere event of the summer, the Golden State Star Party (GSSP), has come and gone already. This was my second time at this event, and it was just as good as the first time. Well, almost. My time at the star party was cut short by a gout attack in my left hand, which left me with a painful and useless hand. I ended up going home a day early because of this. However, even with a hurting hand, I could still push around the club's 20 inch 'scope, and learn how to effectively use it. As luck would have it, the digital setting circles on it had acted up, so all use of this 'scope was by viewfinder and knowing where the interesting objects were. Although I could not go looking for the 'faint fuzzies' I wanted to try to see, I can now use it to locate a number of good objects without a computer, enough to conduct a public star party with it, as need be. ASN member Jeff Wolff is giving up this 'scope as he now as a really cool 14 inch dob with a great mirror and motor drives. I will likely take over taking this 'scope out to club and some public star parties, as I have a means of storing and transporting it. (And work continues on trying to make the 24 inch 'scope a more useful instrument, although this is not proceeding as fast as I had envisioned.)…

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Category: President

President's Perspective June 2013

It's been a busy past few months! I wish I could say it was all about astronomy, but it wasn't. Much of it had to do with a bill before the Nevada legislature (SB245) that would have banned the ownership of animals like big cats and primates, even for most zoos, wildlife facilities, magicians, etc. in Nevada. If passed, our zoo would have to close within a few years, due to lack of animals. It was a lot of work, but a group of very dedicated and determined animal owners and their supporters (which I am involved with, as a big cat keeper) fought to have this bill killed! Add to this two trips for work, and a work-related project that has taken almost every free weekend I have had since March, and you can see why I have been quiet. But enough of that!

Now, in the 'best-laid plans' department: Most of you know that ASN owns a 20 inch and a 24 inch Dobsonian telescope. The 20 inch, in the care of ASN member Jeff Wolff, is frequently seen at club events. But not the 24 inch. Why? It's big. it's tall. It's heavy! A big ladder is needed to reach the eyepiece at zenith, which makes it less than safe for most public star parties. With a focal length of 3048 mm, you are pushing your luck with any eyepiece smaller than about 20 mm, and it has a rather narrow field of view for a f5 telescope. Thus no one wants to go to the considerable trouble of hauling it to a star party. But I like the 'scope and since it is stored at my place, I have been learning how to use it. And like Jeff, I have been working on improving it, by adding things like digital setting circles. My goal was to have this 'scope ready for the Golden State Star Party, where it can be seriously used and evaluated for a few days to see what it is really capable of.…

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Category: President