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Kopernik Observatory & Science Center Winter Star Party – Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

The Kopernik Observatory & Science Center is hosting a Winter Star Party this coming Saturday, January 28. Information from the flyer is provided below (and the PDF of the flyer is available for download). For information call (607) 748-3685 or visit www.kopernik.org.

Is Astronomy really better in the Winter? Find out what happened this past year in the world of astronomy. Learn about meteors and meteor showers and learn about dark matter theories and how they affect our understanding of the Universe.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

5:30 PM: Kopernik Observatory Members-Only Reception (coffee & donuts provided)
6:00 PM: Astronomy: The Year in Review
7:00 PM: Meteorites
8:00 PM: Dark Matter Halos – Discrepancy Between Simulations & Observations

Program

Our understanding of the Universe continues to expand almost as rapidly as the Universe itself. Dr. Nicholas Guydosh of the Kopernik Observatory & Science Center will present a “Year in Review” of some of the latest Astronomical discoveries and images.

An estimated 500 meteorites reach the Earth’s surface each year. These visitors from space bring with them a wealth of knowledge from our solar system. Patrick Manley, of the Kopernik Astronomical Society, will display his meteorite collection for viewing. Come join us to learn about meteorites, their origins, what they are made of, what wonderful secrets they hide inside. Discussions will cover the basics of identification of meteorites and meteor-wrongs as well as meteorite hunting practices. Please feel free to bring in your suspected finds for a brief visual assessment.

Many discrepancies exist between simulations of dark matter halos and observations of galaxies. Betsey Adams, a PhD candidate at Cornell University, will present some of her current research which involves finding the lowest mass, gas-rich, galaxies using data taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. One of the most well known discrepancies is the mismatch in the number of dark matter halos versus galaxies. In order to reconcile the discrepancies many solutions have been proposed; from a loss of the luminous matter from the dark matter halos to a modification of dark matter. Various solutions will be discussed revealing the current consensus.

After the programs, if it is clear, view Venus, Jupiter, the Moon, the Orion Nebula, double stars and a multitude of deep-sky objects through Kopernik’s powerful telescopes. When you need to warm up you can come back inside our warm building and visit our computer room to run night sky simulation software and build a 3D glow-in-the dark constellation. See on-going demonstrations of our 3D imaging Geowall and Ham Radio Satellite Station.

Admission

Kopernik Members: Free
$5.00 Adults
$3.00 Students/Seniors
$16.00 family maximum

Just In Case – Darling Hill Observatory Will NOT Be Opening For The December 10 Eclipse

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

As a few calls and emails have come in – the December 10 Lunar Eclipse will not be visible from the East Coast and will, in fact, only be somewhat visible to early-morning risers on the West Coast. The forecast calls for considerable cloud cover as well on the evening of December 9th, so we will also not host a still-can’t-see-the-eclipse nighttime lunar observing session.

For pictures and interesting descriptions and discussions about the even we won’t be able to see, check out the following: earthsky.org/space/how-do-i-watch-the-total-lunar-eclipse. And expect some fantastic pictures to be posted to astronomy website in the next 48 hours…

Acclaimed Canadian Astronomer Dr. David Levy’s Logbooks Now Online

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Sent along by our own Prof. McMahon from the HASTRO-L (History of Astronomy Discussion Group) listserve…

It isn’t often enough commented upon, but a considerable amount of the really interesting neighborhood (celestial, that is) observational astronomy is performed by amateurs (some examples can be found in stories by ABC, physicsworld, Discovery, or just google it) from the observation of impacts on Jupiter to the recording of increasing light pollution to the tracking of meteor show quantities to, perhaps most famously, the discovery and tracking of comets. David H. Levy has been a recent star in this area and, for those ever wondering how astronomers keep track of their discoveries and more general observations, the announcement below provides you a link to Dr. Levy’s complete set of logbooks.

For those wondering how to organize a logbook, taking a look at 10-year intervals to see how Dr. Levy worked towards perfecting his technique is quite instructive.

November 29, 2011

Contacts: Deborah Thompson / Randall A. Rosenfeld
thompson@rasc.ca / levylogbooks@rasc.ca / +1 416-924-7973 (DT)

ACCLAIMED CANADIAN ASTRONOMER DR. DAVID LEVY’S LOGBOOKS NOW ONLINE

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) in conjunction with Jarnac Observatory is pleased to announce the launch of the David Levy Logbooks archive. The project offers full and free access to digital facsimiles of over sixteen thousand observing sessions by David H. Levy chronicling more than half a century of astronomical exploration and discovery: http://www.rasc.ca/logbooks/levy.

Dr. David H. Levy, co-discoverer of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, is one of the most acclaimed amateur astronomers of our time. He is the discoverer or co-discoverer of twenty two comets and more than 150 asteroids, and is the first person to have discovered comets visually, photographically, and electronically. Dr. Levy is a well-known popularizer of astronomy, who has spent a lifetime advancing the active engagement of others in the rich cultural pursuit of astronomy by personal example and through live appearances, and print and electronic media. The conviction that astronomical observation, both recreational and scientific, provides a way to discover more about our place in the universe and to better know ourselves is shared by Dr. Levy and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), an organization of which he has been a member for nearly as long as he has been an astronomer.

The David Levy Logbooks offer a glimpse into one man’s personal engagement with the night sky, an engagement as dynamic and pristine now as when he commenced his records at age eleven with a partial solar eclipse in 1959. In the logbook pages readers will encounter his personal entries of notable discoveries — comets and near earth objects found with Eugene M. and Carolyn Shoemaker through the Palomar Asteroid and Comet Survey (PACS), including the unfolding drama of Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacting Jupiter — interspersed with records of variable star observations for the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) and searches for the RASC’s COMET and NOVA Section, along with recreational observing of deep-sky objects (DSO) and solar-system phenomena. An attractive feature of the logbooks is their witness to astronomical friendship — accompanying Dr. Levy’s notes are the autograph comments of those who have observed with him, ranging from Clyde Tombaugh the discoverer of Pluto, to observers as young as Dr. Levy was when he started in astronomy. Observational sketches, photographs, and quotes from literature reflecting astronomy can be found throughout, attesting to the wider cultural matrix in which astronomy is embedded.

Complementing the digital logbook facsimiles are several interpretive essays, one introducing the logbooks by Dr. Roy Bishop, a long-time personal friend and mentor of Dr. Levy’s, and another setting the logbooks in historical context by RASC Archivist R.A. Rosenfeld.

Few primary sources of significant amateur scientists are available in their entirety on the web. The logbooks should be of interest to all intrigued by the variety of 20th- and 21st-century practices of astronomy, and should prove a resource for those researching the history of amateur astronomy, pro-am collaboration, continuities and adaptation in modes of discovery, astronomy education and public outreach, and the scientific notebook as a literary genre, a locus for memory, and an agent for creating filiations and structuring scientific communities. The pages of the David Levy Logbooks can also aid amateur observers in finding their own voice and style of astronomical note taking through emulation, modification, and antithesis.

* * *

The David Levy Logbooks are a joint project of the Jarnac Observatory and the RASC through its History Committee. The project team consists of Roy Bishop, David and Wendee Levy, Walter MacDonald, R.A. Rosenfeld, and Nanette Vigil.

Founded in 1868, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is the nation’s leading astronomy organization bringing together over 4,200 enthusiastic amateurs, educators and professionals from Canada and abroad. The Vision of the RASC is to inspire curiosity in all people about the Universe, to share scientific knowledge, and to foster collaboration in astronomical pursuits, and our Mission is to encourage improved understanding of astronomy for all people, through education, outreach, research, publication, enjoyment, partnership, and community.

Meade ETX-125ATs and LX-90ACF For Sale From Johnson Camera (In CNY)

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

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 scopes are available at Johnson Camera (6565 Kinne Rd Ste 1, Syracuse NY 13214, 315-446-0290, sales@johnsoncamera.com).

We have a new ETX-125AT for $425 (reg $499) and a new ETX-125AT for $599 (reg. $699). There only two available. There is also a new 10″ Meade LX-90ACF on display (reg. $2649) that we would sell for $2449.

Attempted Viewing Of Asteroid 2005 YU55 TONIGHT, November 8 (Tuesday)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

As many, many news sources have reported, asteroid 2005 YU55 is making its closest approach to us tonight at 23:28 Universal Time (6:28 p.m. EST), where it will be flying through Delphinus, grazing Equuleus, and settling into Pegasus for a several hour stay. Darling Hill Observatory will open tonight in an attempt to see this 1/4 mile long object as it approaches within 85% of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

NOTE 1: This is will be a dim object, visible as a pinpoint of light at even high magnification. Large binoculars and +6″ scopes are required to observe this object at all.

NOTE 2: The Moon is 96% full tonight, which may aid in complicating the hunt for this dim object. If you’re attempting to find this object yourself, some high-quality star charts will make your life much easier.

Some sources of info:

* www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/133013563.html

* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_YU55

* www.astronomy.com/en/News-Observing/News/201/11/Asteroid…8.aspx

Darling Hill Observatory Should Be Open By 5:30 p.m. If you can’t make this one, consider it’s next closest approach in 2041!