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.


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: 

    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86358706682  

    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

     

     

January 4, 2021
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    January 4, 2021  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.     

    Eldorado Star Party 

    By Steve Grimsley

    Steve went to the Eldorado Star Party in central Texas last month with a new scope and photo rig and captured 12 wide field images of the sky there.

    Following the main presentation, our recurring monthly presentations will include Constellation of the Month  by Terri Zittritsch

    See more details

     

     

February 1, 2021
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    February 1, 2021  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.     

    Astronomical (Non-) Trivia Contest

    By Mark Moyer

    We’ll explore a miscellaneous list of astronomical facts (about astronomical objects, amateur observing, astrophysics, the history of astronomy, and space flight). We’ll pose them as questions for a self-scored trivia contest, you can test your knowledge of astronomy or just have fun guessing the answers. The answers are not merely trivial factoids. Each one is chosen because an understanding of the answer gives us a deeper knowledge of some aspect of astronomy. Each question and answer will be followed up by an explanation that describes something significant about the heavens or our study of the heavens that will be both interesting and enlightening. So even if you join us just to listen in, you should find it fun and thought-provoking!

    Following the main presentation, our recurring monthly presentations will include Constellation of the Month  by Terri Zittritsch

    See more details

     

     

March 1, 2021
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    March 1, 2021  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.     

    The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram and Stellar Evolution

    By Steve Quigley

    Astronomy is a unique science.  With few exceptions, everything in Astronomy is based on light, and what information we can glean from it.  The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram is an excellent example of this.  This presentation will cover the techniques, events, and people who contributed to the development of the H-R diagram.  You’ll meet Germans, Italians, Danes, Indians, English, and American scientists whose work contributed to the “final” product.  Much of the action will take place at Harvard, and there you’ll be introduced to the “Harvard Computers.” This is a very basic summary of the work that led to the H-R diagram, and the insight it gives us into the concept of Stellar Evolution—the life and death of stars…… and all from understanding the message of the photons.

    Following the main presentation, our recurring monthly presentations will include Constellation of the Month  by Terri Zittritsch

    See more details