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.


November 2, 2020
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    November 2, 2020  7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

    Free and Open to the Public 

    This meeting will be via Zoom.  
    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: 

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87645012713  

    The Zoom link  will also be emailed to all VAS Members.

    Note:
    Jack will start the meeting at 7:30 pm, but you can join starting at about 7:15 pm and make sure you connect correctly.     

    Observing Asteroid Occultations
    By George Viscome

    A million known asteroids,... a few billion stars,... it's only inevitable that every night a star up there "winks" at us (as an asteroid briefly eclipses it). But which one? And from where on Earth can this be seen?.....
    Only recently can these "occultations" be accurately predicted. And when it happens, amateurs with rather small scopes have the ability to measure the asteroid's size, shape, (and orbit) - often with even better resolution than can be obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope!
    This talk, will blend a unique mix of average, everyday backyard observing with small scopes, in with cutting-edge wizardry in equipment and computers. For the astrophotographers, we'll look at unique ways of using cameras. For computer-savy folks we'll explore computer programs that interface with the computers at JPL and Harvard. For those who simply just like the visual aspects, we'll see how you can easily get a listing of some of the nicer "events" to simply watch through the eyepiece - many of which are predicted to occur to an accuracy of a few seconds (so it isn't a time-consuming chore to catch them). We'll explore star charting programs and look over some interesting past observations.
    Observing occultations allows amateurs to work side-by-side with professionals. And having a big telescope on a mountaintop often isn't any more important than having a little 6-inch Dobsonian. Usually it's simply where you happen to be observing from that matters most! 

    Following the main presentation, our recurring monthly presentations will include

    Constellation of the Month  by Terri Zittritsch

    See more details

     

     

December 7, 2020
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    December 7, 2020  7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

    Free and Open to the Public 

    This meeting will be via Zoom.  
    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 also be emailed to all VAS Members.

    Note:
    Jack will start the meeting at 7:30 pm, but you can join starting at about 7:15 pm and make sure you connect correctly.     

    Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Push-To and Go-To Telescope Computer

    By Robert Horton

    With the advent of very low cost, but very powerful microcomputers, as well as open-source toolchains and a seemingly infinite well of example programs available on the web, it is now possible to put together telescope control computers with as much (or more!) functionality for much less expense than the commercial systems that are available today. 

    In this talk, I will show how I built a DIY Digital Setting Circle system that I have attached to the VAS's 14"-Irene Dobsonian Telescope (figure 1). This box interfaces to two 10,000 tick encoders that are attached to the Altitude and Azimuth axis of the telescope and helps you to select and point to bright stars, the planets, all of the Messier and Caldwell objects as well as many beautiful double stars. There will be a quick overview of the hardware and software development as well as a demo of the easy-to-navigate menu system that you would use during an observing session.

    Next, I will talk about the OnStep Go-To controller that I have put together and plan to mount on my 17.5" Dobsonian in the near future. This system provides fully motorized control of the telescope through many interfaces, including a Smart Hand Controller with over 24,000 objects, WiFi (or BlueTooth or Ethernet) to your laptop/tablet/cellphone with a custom App or through the ASCOM interface to planetarium programs such as SkySafari, Stellarium or KStars. The OnStep system has been (and continues to be) developed by Howard Dutton and has a large on-line following and a very active forum. Many types of telescopes have been built or retro-fitted with the OnStep system with great success, as shown in the Showcase pages. 

    Following the main presentation, our recurring monthly presentations will include

    Constellation of the Month  by Terri Zittritsch

    See more details