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

President's perspective for September, 2011

Wow, how quickly a year goes by....we are already heading into September!

And what a summer it has been! For me, there was the Feline Conservsation Federation convention in June (where I got the chain mail short many of you have seen me wearing). Then the Golden State Star…

Read more: President's perspective for September, 2011

Category: President

President's perspective for June, 2011

Greeting, fellow ASN members!

Sorry I have been rather quiet around here. There are some periods of the year when my job seems to dominate, and April and May have certainly been in that category. But now, we are moving into summer. And just like it is the case for many animals (especially those with young), summer is a more carefree season for both work and astronomy.

The big story so far this year seems to be the weather. Cloudy (water vapor nebulae!), cold, windy, even snow as recently as May 29th. As I write this, the outdoor temperature (on June 3 at 12:30 AM) is hovering just above freezing. This kind of weather does not for good astronomy make. Lets us hope that as we get into June, that our 'carefree' weather will finally come!

'Weather or not', there is plenty of astronomy-related things to do in June. On Friday, June 3, we will get a chance to check out our new observing digs on the University of Nevada-Reno's Redfield Campus. There is some nice facilities there for telescope users, including some permanent piers. These have power and internet connectivity available for the many of you who use computers with their 'scopes. If you have not come out to any of our first Friday star parties, you ought to consider doing so. Getting to the Redfield Campus is easy. Just take the Mount Rose Highway to Wedge Parkway, and turn south (left for most of you) and drive into the campus.…

Read more: President's perspective for June, 2011

Category: President

President's Perspective for April, 2011

Greetings, fellow stargazers! (Oops, not my line!)

Last month, it so happened that the ASN's president, Chris Johnson, had to step down for reasons having nothing to do with the ASN. So, having never really thought about this when accepting the job of Vice President, I now suddenly find myself being President of the ASN.

Surprise? Definitely? A bad thing? Not at all! (I hope!)

As your new President, I hope to help the ASN continue doing what it does best-- promote astronomy in a variety of public and private settings. But besides keeping up our strong public outreach, I am hoping we can engage in activities designed to help our members develop their skills. And although the ASN has at the moment, a healthy bank account, I would like to see us continue to work at fundraising so we can invest in things we should be investing in (and this is both hardware and events) and at the same time keep our 'pocketbook fat'.…

Read more: President's Perspective for April, 2011

Category: President

2011 is a go!

2011 is off to a great start!

So far we are 100% for our public star parties. Our first star party was the public star party at Rancho San Rafael on 7 January. It was an extremely cold evening, but we still had a small turnout.

On 21 January we had…

Read more: 2011 is a go!

Category: President