Recon Status through May 2013

     Recon hosted a 4 day occultation training session at the Jack Davis Observatory in Carson City April 4-7 2013.  There were about 30 trainees in attendance.  Marc Buie, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, and John Keller, Director of the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education presented and hosted the seminar.

 There are 13 official Recon Occultation Stations spread out at about 50 km intervals between Tonopah and Tulelake.  The local stations are represented by Portola,  Maclean observatory in Reno and the Jack Davis Observatory in Carson City and Yerington.  Local team leaders are Dan Ruby, Jim Bean and Todd Hunt at Maclean, Davis and Yerington respectively.

 All stations are set up with at least 11 telescopes, Mallincam CCD cameras, IOTA gps timers and DVRs. 

 So far we have had one practice run with 211Isolda occulting 2UCAC38779678 on 4-18-13.  Our first official Kuiper Belt Object occultation campaign was Pluto occulting P130504 near Sagittarius on 5-4-13 at 08:28:22 UT.  It was a difficult event with lots of drama.  There was very little time between the star rising above the southern horizon and the occultation with as little as 3 minutes at some stations. The occultation occurred at declination -19:41:24.  Our recordings have been uploaded to Marc Buie at the Southwest Research Institute’s Planetary Science center in Boulder Colorado.  We are waiting for the final report but preliminary information shows that of the 15 stations reporting, 6 recorded the correct star field.

Our next KBO occultation event has not been determined yet.

 Warren Simison

Recon Team Leader, Portola.

Category: Programs Committee

Seeing Pluto with the ASN

Everyone knows something about Pluto, including most third graders.  Yet few people have actually seen it, including most astronomers.…

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Category: Programs Committee

School Star Parties

 School Star Parties
One of the community outreaches offered by the Astronomical Society of Nevada is free school star parties. I have always found this to be very rewarding. It is a simple way to kill misconceptions about science. The most common misconception is the North Star is the brightest star. Or that you can see any planet at any time. An ASN affliction is a no moon night, yet the public loves to see the craters and mountains of the moon. These misconceptions aside, I love the expressions students and parents have when they first look through a good telescope. Wow and Cool are the favorite expressions. I make it mandatory for parents to look through the telescope. I also give them an ASN business card. It is a comfort for parents to know, they can take their children to see the universe again on another night. I usually get at least one new member from a school star party. February was science fair month for Washoe County School District. Veterans, Lenz, Taylor, Warner, and Juniper Elementary School all invited us to give their students the opportunity to see the universe.


It is always nice to have more than one telescope at a star party. I want to thank Tony, Jeff, Peggy, Warren, and Phil, for bringing their telescopes out and sharing the fun. This was a new experience for Warren. He was amazed at the knowledge of some students about astronomy. Warren is getting to know his C11 for project RECON. Sharing resources at school star parties is no different than at public or members only parties (Paul, He liked my 8mm eyepiece too). Jeff’s refractor is a perfect star parties telescope, IPad and all the gadgets.…

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Category: Programs Committee

Camping with the Stars

Martis Creek Lake

We have two Star Parties at Martis Creek Lake, July 27 and August 31.…

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Category: Programs Committee

What to do with a comet?

A massive two-mile-wide comet will be visible from Earth in late 2013, possibly appearing brighter than the moon during November and December, according to astronomers.

I would like to brain storm with all members on what ASN could due during this time period.

Jim Fahey

Read more: What to do with a comet?

Category: Programs Committee