Calendar

All events are free and open to the public.  Outdoor events are subject to cancellation or postponement due to to weather–check our Facebook or Twitter feed to get the latest scheduling updates.


September 14, 2020
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    September 14, 2020  7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

    Free and Open to the Public 
    This meeting will be via Zoom.  The plan is to add the Zoom meeting link just below a few days before the meeting (or email info@vtasto.org).  It is recommended you install the Zoom interface as it will speed up the time it takes to join the meeting.  Go to Zoom.us to download the interface application.

    Zoom meeting link:  TBD

    The Zoom link  will be emailed to all VAS Members.

    Note:
    Jack will start the meeting at 7:30 pm with a prelude to how this meeting will go, but you can join starting at about 7:15 pm andmake sure you connect correctly.       

    Part 2 of 2: 

    The 2020 Opposition of Mars:

    Our Last Chance to See Mars This Favorable until 2035

    Of all the planets visible; Mars is surely the one that has cultivated the most human imagination and interest. Approximately every 15.7 years; Mars has a close approach to Earth. In the late Summer and Autumn of 2020; Mars will have a fairly close approach to Earth. At the time around Mars’ close approach, amateur size telescopes will have some reasonable views of Martian surface features. Mars is the only planet in our Solar System (besides Earth) that we have a reasonable chance of seeing the actual surface features such as volcanoes and canyons. Mars is a dynamic planet with surface features that show subtle changes over time due to the effects of the Martian atmosphere. The Martian planet displays changes such as variability in cloud formations, shrinking ice caps, and occasional dust storms. This talk is designed for visual amateur observations through telescopes of 4” – 8” aperture. This showing of Mars is our last chance to see the Red Planet in a favorable position until the year 2035.

    Part 2 Outline:

    A. Factors effecting Mars Observations: Instrumental

    B. Amateur Telescopes for Visual Mars Observations

    C. Filters for Mars

    D. Observing Mars: Survey of Various Visual Features

    E. Changing Mars Phenomena: Atmospherics

    F. Mars Moons

    G. Summary

    The presenter; Gary T. Nowak is a long-time member of the VAS and is a former club president and former board member. His specialty is advanced visual amateur astronomic searches with telescopes and binoculars. The presenter has built several telescopes over the years which included grinding and polishing his own telescope mirrors. His first recorded observations with a telescope were in 1968. He has been observing Mars since 1971. In 1999, he discovered a Nova visually with binoculars. He is a member of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO).

    See more details

     

     

October 5, 2020
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    October 5, 2020  7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

    Free and Open to the Public 
     This meeting will be via Zoom.  The plan is to add the Zoom meeting link just below a few days before the meeting (or email info@vtasto.org).  It is recommended you install the Zoom interface as it will speed up the time it takes to join the meeting.  Go to Zoom.us to download the interface application.

    Zoom meeting link:  TBD

    The Zoom link  will be emailed to all VAS Members.

    Note:
    Jack will start the meeting at 7:30 pm with a prelude to how this meeting will go, but you can join starting at about 7:15 pm andmake sure you connect correctly.     

    “You Can Almost Touch the Stars”

    By Tom Field

    Even if you wanted to touch a star, they’re all impossibly distant. Despite these great distances, astronomers have learned an enormous amount about stars. How? The most common method to study the stars is called spectroscopy, which is the science of analyzing the colorful rainbow spectrum produced by a prism-like device.

    Until recently, spectroscopy was too expensive and too complicated for all but a handful of amateurs. Today, though, new tools make spectroscopy accessible to almost all of us. You no longer need a PhD, dark skies, long exposures, enormous aperture … or a big budget! With your current telescope and FITS camera (or a simple web cam or even a DSLR without a telescope) you can now easily study the stars yourself. Wouldn’t you like to detect the atmosphere on Neptune or the red shift of a quasar right from your own backyard?!

    This talk, with lots of interesting examples, will show you what it’s all about and help you understand how spectroscopy is used in research. Even if you are an armchair astronomer, understanding this field will enhance your understanding of the things your read and the night sky. We’ll do a live Q&A after Tom’s 45-minute presentation.

    Speaker Bio: Tom Field is has been a Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine for the past 7 years. He is the author of the RSpec software (www.rspec-astro.com) which received the S&T “Hot Product” award in 2011. Tom is a popular speaker who has spoken to hundreds of clubs via the web at many conferences, including NEAF, the NEAF Imaging Conference, PATS, the Winter Star Party, the Advanced Imaging Conference, SCAE, and others. His enthusiastic style is lively and engaging. He promises to open the door for you to this fascinating field!

    See more details