Archive for February, 2012

Astrophotography Highlights From The London Chess Classic, 7 December 2011

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

Passing along an interesting link (and note) sent by Steve Capp, SAS Member and reigning king of the Darling Hill Big Dobsonian owners (and the last amateur astronomer you want to play chess against on an overcast night). Embedded here are a few images from the great read at chessbase.com.

Dr. Christian Sasse, Vishy Anand, John Nunn at the astronomy session.

Being a chess player, I have been following a world class chess tournament in London this week. One Grandmaster from London (Dr John Nunn) along with the world champion (Viswanathan Anand) are really interested in astronomy.

John Nunn’s image of Rho Ophiuchus Nebula. Click HERE for a larger version.

During the tournament yesterday, after round four, they gave a lecture along with Dr Christian Sasse on astronomy. It’s pretty good. The first part of the talk is about the images that John has taken and then it moves more into the equipment and software. World Champion Viswanathan Anand has taken up imaging which I found cool.

The site is: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=7739

Celestron NexStar 130SLT For Sale In CNY

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

UPDATE: The Scope Has Been Sold.

Greetings fellow astrophile!

In the interest of reaching the larger CNY astronomy community, the SAS is happy to post information for people in the CNY area about astronomical equipment for sale. The SAS takes no responsibility for any aspect of the sale itself, but simply provides an outlet to members and nonmembers alike.

The following scope is available from Janet O’Mara (janetomara@gmail.com).

From Janet: I purchased it about 3 years ago but have never used it. I am including an accessory lens kit along with the scope. I am hoping to get $325.00 for it.

Additional information can be found at: www.celestron.com/astronomy/telescopes/celestron-nexstar-130slt.html

Product Identifiers

Brand: Celestron
Model: NexStar 130SLT 31145
MPN: 10001011
UPC: 050234311458

Key Features

Lens Size: 5.1 in. (130 mm)
Focal Length: 25.6 in. (650 mm)
Optical Diameter: 5.1 in. (130 mm)
Optical Design: Newtonian
Mount: Altazimuth

Technical Details

Max. Magnification: x 306
Finderscope: Optical
Motorized: Yes


Measurement: 306 x 130 mm

New York Center for Astrobiology – 2012 Astrobiology Short Story Contest

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Greetings (younger) fellow astrophiles!

I am pleased to announce that the New York Center for Astrobiology is sponsoring a writing contest for 9th – 12th graders. A brief overview of the contest is below, with the complete list of rules, story proposals, and lots of extraterrestrial parameters included in the linked PDF you can find at:


NOTE: I urge you to have wikipedia open as you read the two plots. Some good explanations and a whole lot of potential inspiration lies within!

This contest is sponsored by the New York Center for Astrobiology, a member of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute program, headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY. The New York Center for Astrobiology at RPI also involves scientists at the University at Albany (SUNY), Syracuse University, and the University at Arizona. The multi-disciplinary team of scientists from these four institutions is working to better understand the origin and distribution of life on Earth and on other planets in the Galaxy. For more information about the New York Center for Astrobiology, please visit its website at www.origins.rpi.edu


> An award ceremony will occur in early May 2012 for students, teachers, and parents with scientists and high school teachers associated with the New York Center for Astrobiology

> $200 for each of the best stories (up to 4 to be selected)

> An interview with the winning authors on WAMC Northeast Public Radio in Albany, NY

About the Contest

> Open to all students in grades 9-12 from Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. Eligible students within that grade-range can be from public schools, private schools, and home schools.

> One entry per student. Entries must be authored by one individual only.

> Entries must have a minimum of 500 words to a maximum of 1600 words. The format must be double-spaced; 12-point font; 1-inch margins. Graphs, images, tables, and citations are optional, and would not count toward the length-limit.

> If sent by mail, entries must be post-marked no later than Friday, March 2, 2012. If sent electronically (pdf and doc files), the entry must be received no later than 5:00 PM EST on Friday, March 2, 2012. Results of the contest will be announced by mid-April 2012.

> Entries will be assessed by a team of (i) high school teachers with expertise in the sciences, literature, and the arts, and (ii) scientists associated with the New York Center for Astrobiology.

The short stories can range from being highly scientific to being fictional. The intent is to select up to two entries per Story Option, in which one may be highly scientific and the other may be highly fictional. In both instances, each would have been judged to be of outstanding quality. The contest-organizers fully recognize that the assessment criteria (described on page 3) will yield disparate scores for these two styles of short story. That range of scores will be calibrated by the team of reviewers.

To Enter

Mail a printout of your entry with the cover sheet to the following address: Prof. John W. Delano; Associate Director, New York Center for Astrobiology; Dept. of Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences; 1400 Washington Avenue; University at Albany; Albany, NY 12222 Alternatively, you can submit your entry as an e-mail attachment (.doc or .pdf) to Prof. John Delano at the following address: jdelano@albany.edu


For questions about this contest, please contact Professor John Delano by either telephone (518-442-4479) or e-mail (jdelano@albany.edu).

TACNY Sweet Lecture – Forensic Science: Real-Life CSI – Tuesday, February 7

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

A TACNY (Technology Alliance of CNY, of which the SAS is a member organization) Sweet Lecture (not to be directly confused with a sweet TACNY Lecture) is happening on the OCC campus this coming Tuesday (February 7). Information from the TACNY website for “Forensic Science: Real-Life CSI” is provided below.

When: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 5:30 pm
Where: Whitney Applied Technology Center Room 101 at Onondaga Community College

Anita Zannin, owner and forensic consultant at AZ Forensic Associates, will present Forensic Science: Real-Life CSI, a talk about forensic science and bloodstain pattern analysis, as part of the the Technology Alliance of Central New York’s 2011-2012 Sweet Lecture Series. The event is also sponsored by the Syracuse section of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

People interested in learning more about forensic science are invited to attend the free Sweet Lecture presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Whitney Applied Technology Center on the Onondaga Community College campus. Networking starts at 5:30 p.m., the speaker is introduced at 6 p.m., the presentation is slated to run from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the event ends at 8 p.m. following questions from the audience. Admission is free and open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing sweet.lecture@tacny.org by Jan. 31, 2012.

Anita Zannin has been an expert witness in state and federal courts, and has worked on criminal and civil cases in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. She recently appeared on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” talking about evidence used in the case of Warren Horinek, a former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer who was found guilty of killing his wife based on the testimony of a bloodstain pattern analysis expert, which others believe to be wrong. Zannin graduated magna cum laude from Buffalo State College with dual bachelors degrees in forensic chemistry and criminal justice. She earned her master’s degree in forensic science from Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she currently is an adjunct professor. She is also a visiting professor at Francisco Marroquin Law School in Guatemala. Zannin earned her certification as a competent forensic expert in bloodstain pattern interpretation from the Institute on the Physical Significance of Human Bloodstain Evidence, which only six people worldwide have earned.

Zannin will discuss the science of forensics and bloodstain pattern analysis, topics that have risen to prominence due to the popularity of television shows such as “CSI.” She will talk about how technology has transformed this field of investigation and share her thoughts on the future of forensic science. Zannin will also discuss some the many cases she has worked on.

To help us plan, please email your RSVP

We look forward to seeing you there – please pass the word!