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Archive for May, 2011

Public Viewing And Member Lecture Announcement – September 23/24 Lecture By David Bishop

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The following post announces an upcoming SAS lecture. This page will be linked to on several site pages and facebook and is the official record of the event for any other web announcements on the topic. Please feel free to post the information elsewhere.

The SAS is pleased to announce a second lecture for the 2011 viewing season. David Bishop may be known to several of the older members for his fantastic presentations and visuals in the recent past, and we are pleased to have him returning to Darling Hill after a long hiatus. This lecture will be held during the September 23/24 viewing session, likely to begin an hour before sunset (approximately 7:00 p.m.). A brief introduction to David is provided below.

David Bishop is a former president of both the Mohawk Valley and Rochester Astronomy clubs. He has been active in astronomy for many years a delivered his first talk to the SAS group in 1993. He maintains a web page on Supernovae (rochesterastronomy.org/supernova.html, and you can read more about the history of this page at richobservatory.com/Site/Article.htm) which is has been the subject of many articles and sited in many papers. Last year asteroid 70401 (more at ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=70401+Davidbishop, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/70401_Davidbishop, and see it at flickr.com/photos/43846774@N02/4445564044/) was named in his honor.

This lecture will be announced in upcoming Astronomical Chronicles and on the website. This lecture is currently open to SAS members and the public.

Public Viewing And Member Lecture Announcement – July 29/30 Collimation Lecture And Demonstration By Robert Piekiel

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The following post announces an upcoming SAS lecture. This page will be linked to on several site pages and facebook and is the official record of the event for any other web announcements on the topic. Please feel free to post the information elsewhere.

The SAS is pleased to announce that the first member lecture in quite some time is being given by CNY astronomer extraordinaire “Barefoot Bob” Piekiel. Bob has, among other activities, been a fixture at the Baltimore Woods observing sessions in recent years and is a wealth of information about scope design and use, much of which he’s published for the benefit of others in several books (including Making Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope Optics, ATM’s Guide to Setting Up A Home Optics Shop, Tips for Making Optical Flats, Collimating Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes, and his voluminous digital work Celestron: The Early Years.

Bob Piekiel lecturing at the 2008 Summer Seminar.

His lecture and demonstration on scope collimation will be held on July 29/30, with the 30th being the primary target in order to provide a slower early evening for those wishing to bring their own scopes to practice. Further explanation is provided below:

Bob Piekiel will be giving a talk and demonstration on how to collimate and test telescopes indoors using artificial stars and also with optical flats. This is something we can all do on cloudy nights to not only have fun and learn, but also get more use out of our equipment. Using artificial stars “across the yard” only works for certain scopes of certain sizes, where as using a flat on a bench required hardly more room than the telescope itself. Some telescope buffs find it extremely frustrating to set up and align the flat, but I’ll show you how to do it in seconds!

While Bob will start simple and get more complex, no math is needed (well, maybe a tiny bit), and you will be surprised to learn a few tricks about flats and telescope tolerances that you’ve probably never been told. The workshop is intended for EVERYONE, beginner or advanced.

Bob will have his two newest books for sale “Tips for Making Optical Flats,” and “The ATM’s Guide to Setting up a Home Optics Shop,” along with his four excellent previous books (including the magnum opus “Celestron: The Early Years.”

Bring your questions! It’s been a couple of years since his last SAS workshop and he knows that you will have them!

This lecture will be announced in upcoming Astronomical Chronicles and on the website. If you are interested in bringing your scope, please let the SAS know by email (sas@somewhereville.com) or in the contact form at left (a comment will do) in order to make sure enough space is available in the scope room (or outside if the weather holds). This lecture is open to SAS members and the public.

Darling Hill Will Be OPEN For Public Viewing Tonight, 8:00 p.m. (Saturday, May 7)

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

While downtown Syracuse and surroundings are currently quite cloudy (but pleasant nonetheless), the evening skies are supposed to see considerable clearing, producing clear skies before 10:00 p.m. Use your best judgement as to when to to trek up to Darling Hill, but the grounds will be open by 8:00 p.m. for setup, enjoying the sunset, and observing the crescent Moon.

NOTE: Thursday night was VERY COLD at the Hill. If you plan on spending any amount of time looking through the different scopes, hat + gloves will make your session much more enjoyable.

There are no ISS fly-bys predicted for tonight (Mike + Larry can leave their smartphones holstered!), but the three visible Iridium Flares for tonight are listed below (courtesy of heavens-above.com).


Date Local
Time
Intensity
(Mag)
Alt. Azimuth Distance to
flare centre
Intensity at
flare centre
(Mag.)
Satellite
07 May 23:03:14 -1 14° 262° (W ) 143.2 km (E) -6 Iridium 6
07 May 23:12:17 -6 11° 263° (W ) 12.6 km (W) -6 Iridium 7
08 May 03:31:26 -5 42° 276° (W ) 13.2 km (E) -8 Iridium 68

Public Viewing Is CANCELED Tonight (May 6) But Looks Promising For Tomorrow (May 7)

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Last night’s opening was quite cold and started with poor visibility, but the night ended with several highlights, including clear views of a brilliant thin crescent Moon just after sunset, Saturn, M51, and Gemini-contained NGC members 2371-2 (a good example of how the new O III filter enhances overall detail in some objects) and 2392 (the Eskimo Nebula). Tonight is expected to be overcast in Tully but tomorrow night looks promising for clear (if not entirely transparent) skies. Stay tuned tomorrow afternoon for an official update.


NGC 2371-2. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_2371-2 for more info.

Darling Hill Will Be OPEN Tonight, 8:00 p.m. (Thursday, May 5)

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophile!

New Moon and Clear Skies. This rare combination is not to be ignored! The Clear Sky Clock indicates clear skies well past midnight and all forecasts say overcast skies and/or rain for the Friday Public Viewing Session, so several members will be opening the observatory and taking advantage tonight. Saturn will likely be the focus of several scopes tonight, but the last viewing session proved to be eventful for both shooting stars and galaxies.

It will be quite cool tonight, so do bring another layer just in case. Darling Hill will be open by 8.