Incoming President's Perspective October 2013
- Category: President
- Created on Sunday, 20 October 2013 15:23
Dear ASN members,
I set out to write an article announcing the election results and giving my vision for the next year in the ASN.
But I have to say, the message from our outgoing president is a hard act to follow! Timba not only gave the election results but an excellent recap of our activities and astronomical events during the time he was president. I encourage everyone to read his inspiring message in this month’s newsletter. Timba, you have my personal thanks for your leadership over the past 2 ½ years.
It was only recently that I considered running for president. I enjoyed my year as vice-president (for the second time) because of the opportunities it gave me to get to know everyone better and learn the inner workings that made the ASN tick in the past year. I’m impressed with our strengths and knowledge in the field of amateur astronomy! We are learning a lot from each other as well.
I’m looking forward to working with Jim Fahey, who is taking over as our vice-president. I’d like to add my appreciation and thanks to Jeff and Robbin who are continuing on in their officer positions (Historian and Treasurer), my welcome to Steve Zettler as our new Secretary, and my personal thanks to Rob Dunbar for his excellent work as our secretary in the past year.
Past President's Perspective October 2013
- Category: President
- Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 03:39
One of the important functions of the member's meeting in October of each year is the election of officers for the year. For the first time in many years, there was actually a race for President. Our then Vice President Dennis Jamison decided to run against me. (It is hard to write when you have a cat trying to nip your hand every time you try to type!) All other races were unopposed, so we only held an election for President.
In any case, the election was held. Everyone in the room witnessed the whole process. There were no dead voters, voting machine malfunctions, or 'hanging chads'. But in the end, something was still wrong with the election. I lost ;)
In all seriousness, congratulations to Dennis Jamison on being the new President of the ASN. Jim Fahey is our new Vice President. Steve Zettler is our new Secretary. Robbin Scholl remains on as treasurer, and Jeff Wolff says on as Historian. A big 'thank you' goes out to outgoing Secretary Rob Dunbar for all his hard work as Secretary. And an 'atta boy' for the officers continuing on in new or incumbent roles.
President's Perspective October 2013
- Category: President
- Created on Monday, 30 September 2013 02:54
Fall is upon us after a summer that was all too short! (They say the years go by faster as you get older, and I am finding this to be very true!) Unfortunately for me, the Golden State Star party was my last time under the stars with my 'scope. Between the gout attack in my wrist at the end of that event and the 'throwing out' of my hip later that month, I have been in recovery mode ever since. The injuries make standing for any length of time challenging. But, things are finally getting better. This weekend, I (apparently) passed a very important test: I worked two grueling days with CBS Sports covering the UNR football game for TV on September 28th, followed by a full day 'slopping the cats' at the zoo. When it was all over, I actually felt better!
The 'unofficial' ASN Fall Picnic is now history. I am hoping that those that went had a good time. I don't know what kind of skies you had for that event yet, but we had a lot of overcast for the football game. (This made life very interesting for me and the Senior Video Engineer for the game. Between the intermittent overcast, a partly sunlit field and dusk occurring during the game, we both remarked this was the hardest game either of us had 'shaded cameras' for, in many years!)
The next big event is the upcoming Messier Marathon/Fall Overnighter at the home of ASN member Robbin Scholl. We have done the last several events at this location, and everyone seems to like this location. It is a good dark sky site, with low horizons. It has a warm place to retreat to, and catch a few zzz's when you need it, and a place for snacks. I hope that many folks show up for this event, and that it is a good time. Unfortunately, I committed to the Reno Celtic Festival many months back for that weekend, so I will be unable to join you. (I am also finding that the zoo folks would like me to increase my availability on Sundays, which may mean fewer events like this for me.)
The Sky Above
- Category: Member Articles
- Created on Saturday, 01 June 2013 05:03
So you ‘ re interested in astronomy ( the study of the cosmos) and you’d like to learn more about the night sky. Let’s start by dividing the celestial sphere (the visible universe) into segments or regions. This has already been done for us by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). There is a finite number of eighty-eight regions (constellations) that cover our visible universe from earth. That’s not such a big number and it gets even smaller if you live in the northern hemisphere because there are quite a few constellations that are not visible to us from here. Let us focus on a very important group.
Many people say to me, especially at public star parties that they don’t know any constellations except the BIG DIPPER ( Ursa Major) and ORION. My reply is usually “ Everybody has heard of the ZODIAC and its twelve constellations.”
Now a little ‘science lesson’ to help you locate these celestial bodies. The sun , moon and planets all travel in a specific path or band across the sky. This is called the ecliptical plane or ‘ecliptic’. Cuneiform writings from Mesopotamia circa 2000 B.C. have revealed to us that ancient astronomers gave names to the groupings of stars (constellations) as they watched the sun, moon and planets pass through them each year. The Greeks adopted them from the Babylonians and passed them on to other civilizations. The word ZODIAC is a Greek word meaning a group of animals. Ancient Egypt adopted many, as well as India and China. As time passed these constellations became known as the Zodiac and over time the number of them has varied between twelve and eighteen.
We now have twelve signs of the zodiac. Each one covers 30 degrees of the sky for a total of 360 degrees which completes the ecliptic. Let’s name these famous constellations: Aries ( the ram), Taurus ( the bull), Gemini ( the twins), Cancer ( the crab), Leo ( the lion), Virgo (the virgin), Libra (the scales), Scorpio (the scorpion), Sagittarius (the archer), Capricornus (the sea-goat), Aquarius (the water-pourer), and Pisces (the fish). You may have noticed that I did not start with Aquarius but instead Aries. Technically the zodiac begins where the sun falls on the first day of spring (the vernal equinox) which is in Aries.
When you go outside and see the path the sun cuts across the sky or the path of the moon, look for the constellations we named before and try to see the creatures that ancient astronomers saw many years ago. In my next article I will focus on a few of these constellations revealing more details about them and objects found within their fixed boundaries as well as constellations nearby. I intend to pick ones that are visible between 9 and 10 PM our time.
Come explore the night sky!
- Category: Programs Committee
- Created on Thursday, 06 May 2010 09:29
Spring, Summer and Fall are typically the best observing times here in northern Nevada. However, as you can see by the list of events to the left, we have events planned all the time. Check out our calendar to see all of the events planned for this year.
We have events planned for all members of the community:
· Public Star Parties. In addition to our regular telescope viewing at Rancho San Rafael Park on the first Friday of every month (weather permitting), we are asked by many park rangers to host activities during the summer months. During these events we pull our telescopes out and view many of the brightest and most fascinating objects in the sky.