Astrophotography Program at Feb 9 Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Meeting

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Image Copyright © 2018 Phil Orbanes, GAAC

As I write, it’s yet another cold, grey day, but GAAC has the perfect antidote to February — on Friday night, February 9 at 8:00pm, we will bring you our annual evening of astrophotography.

Five of our best astrophotographers will each show off a handful of favorite pictures they’ve taken of galaxies, nebulae and other astronomical objects, and will tell you what each one is, how big and far away it is, and any interesting issues they had getting the shot.

This event is always a colorful, fun and exciting evening, one that will leave you with a new appreciation of what these folks do, as well as a lot of new knowledge about the strange, distant and compelling objects they photograph.

Come early to see friends old and new, grab a good seat and some great goodies, and share some terrific conversation and some wonderful views. See you on the 9th!

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm on the first Friday of the month at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan St in Lanesville. See the website for more info, or the Facebook Page, or follow us @GAACster.

All are welcome, and there is no cost. Plenty of free off-street parking.

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Come to the GAAC Holiday Party Dec 8!

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GAAC is extremely fortunate to have Sky & Telescope Magazine Senior Editor Kelly Beatty as our speaker for the December 8 Holiday party, with a riveting presentation on “The Sputnik Years.” Kelly will show us how it all happened, who was involved, and what some of the many important historic results of that event have been.

October 4, 1957 marked the beginning of the Space Age, with the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union. The satellite sped by over the heads of the world, and the space race was on. Everything that came later, from John Glenn to Neil Armstrong, from the Mercury rockets to the moon landings, to the Voyagers and the Rovers, to New Horizons’ visit to Pluto, follows from this one little satellite.

Kelly Beatty has been honored twice by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. In 2005 he received the Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service, and in 2009 he was honored with the inaugural Jonathan Eberhart Journalism Award. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Astronomical League Award (in 2006) for his contributions to the science of astronomy and the American Geophysical Union’s Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism (2009).

Kelly holds a Bachelors degree in geology from the California Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University. During the 1980s he was among the first Western journalists to gain firsthand access to the Soviet space program. Asteroid 2925 Beatty was named on the occasion of his marriage in 1983, and in 1986 he was chosen one of the 100 semifinalists for NASA’s Journalist in Space program.

GAAC meets on the second Friday of every month at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan street in Lanesville. All are welcome, and there is no cost. No special knowledge is necessary to have a great time. For more info on the club see the website at http://gaac.us, the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/GAACpage, or follow us on twitter, @gaacster.

Final GAAC Sawyer Library Talk of 2017

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On Saturday afternoon October 28 at the Sawyer Free Library, from 2:00 to 4:00 we will have the final astronomy program of 2017 at the Sawyer Free Library, presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club.

Astrophotographer and astronomy club stalwart Phil Orbanes will discuss, in an entertaining and colorful presentation, a dozen famous stars and their lifestyles, from Aldebaran to Sol, from the intemperate “live fast and die young” crowd to the more introspective and generally cool-headed class M red dwarves.

Phil will explain the ways in which astronomy’s HR diagram of stellar life cycles can be explained by the sidewalk outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and which star would show up where, from Barnard’s Star to the Dog Star. This will be a fun and informative program you won’t want to miss.

Next, Dr. Mario Motta will present a photographic record of his trip to see the great total solar eclipse of 2017. Mario spared no effort to find an observing spot out west where the weather would allow the best viewing and recording of the eclipse, and he will share the story of his trip and the terrific photos of the actual eclipse with the audience.

We’ll see a marvelous array of photos of the eclipse from start to finish, including some amazing shots of totality taken by Dr. Motta and by others as well.

October 20 Meeting of the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club

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GAAC is a week later than usual this month! The Oct 20 meeting, 8:00 pm at the Lanesville Community Center, will be well-worth the wait, with Dr. Bill Waller and a presentation titled “Surfing the Galactic Froth.”

This is pretty cool. As it turns out, space is not so empty after all, but instead is shot through with frothy stuff.

According to Dr. Waller, this phenomenon arises mostly from microscopic grains of dust, irradiated and warmed by stars within our Galaxy’s disk, and concentrated in nebular regions of recent star formation and subsequent stellar death.

There’s a lot we can learn from these complex emissions, which provide a record of processes that have structured and powered supposedly empty interstellar space for the past 100 million years. Some of these features can be described in terms of “filaments,” “loops,” and “shell fragments,” while others appear more random – appearances that are consistent with turbulence and other processes.

In his usual colorful and irreproducible style, Dr. Waller will consider some of the hot stars, intense stellar winds, and supernova explosions that power the galactic froth, and will present recent images of this nebular emission from three nearby galaxies.

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets on the second Friday of the month (except for this October!) at 8:00 pm at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan St in Lanesville.  More information of the club can be found on the website at http://gaac.us, the facebook page, at http://www.facebook.com/gaacpage, and on twitter, @GAACster.

There is no cost, and there is plenty of free off-street parking. The public is warmly invited; there is no special knowledge required to have a great time.

Friday 7/14 GAAC Meeting Program Note: The Lives of Famous Stars

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At the July 14 meeting of the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club, 8:00 pm at the Lanesville Community Center, Phil Orbanes will reveal some indecorous truths about a dozen famous stars and their lifestyles, from Aldebaran to Sol, from the intemperate “live fast and die young” crowd to the more introspective and generally cool-headed class M red dwarves, whom, for example, you would be less likely to meet in a bar.

In a colorful presentation, and with a wink and a nod, Phil will let us know the ways in which astronomy’s HR diagram of stellar life cycles can be explained by the sidewalk outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and which star would show up where, from Barnard’s Star to the Dog Star.

Phil takes as his point of departure a passage from GAACster Bill Waller’s The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide, where we learn that “[like] snowflakes — and people — each and every star has its own distinct appearance and behavior.”

Beginning from this simple premise, Phil paints a fascinating picture of the lives of an even dozen of the most famous stars, from nearby Proxima Centauri to distant, and decidedly less well-behaved, Sirius. We’ll even see that Hollywood and Gemini are not all that different: like Lassie, Castor is really a half-dozen stars.

This meeting will be a lot of fun. And like most GAAC meetings, you’ll leave knowing something really interesting that you didn’t know when you arrived. July 14, 8:00 – 9:30 pm, Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan Street.

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets on the second Friday of the month at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan Street in Lanesville. More information on the club can be had on their website, http://gaac.us, the club Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/gaacpage, and on twitter, @GAACster.

Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Meeting Friday Night 6/9 @8:00

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Friday’s program at the Lanesville Community Center will feature a presentation by our own Paul Duval on his September 2015 trip to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, home to a remarkable astronomy exhibition.

The exhibits included a planetarium and even an amateur astronomy exhibit. Paul went on a one hour inter-planetary walk through a scale model of the solar system, and got a chance to observe through a number of exotic and historic telescopes.

In addition to the featured presentation by Paul Duval, Friday night is also Jim Koerth night at GAAC. Jim, one of GAAC’s founding members, will be pulling up stakes and moving to North Carolina in the next few weeks, so come in, have some cake, and say bon voyage to an original GAAC stalwart.

deutschesYou won’t want to miss Jim’s farewell or this colorful record of Paul’s trip — come early for a good seat, good things to eat, great conversation, and to see and hear all about adventures of a GAACster in the Deutches Museum.

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets at 8:00pm on the second Friday of every month at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan Street in Lanesville. For more info on the club, see the website, Facebook page, or follow the club on Twitter, @GAACster.

GAAC/HPSP Star Party Saturday Night, May 27!

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Photo Credit: Roger Porter

Weather permitting, Halibut Point State Park and the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club will be hosting a star party Saturday evening, May 27, next to the HPSP Visitor Center. Everyone is invited! Come look through the club’s telescopes at a thin crescent moon, Jupiter and its moons, and an array of distant deep-sky objects like galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. Unless we have overcast skies, GAAC will have telescopes set up from dusk to 10:00 pm for public viewing. Of course there is no cost.

Please park in the paved lot off of Gott Ave and walk the short distance up the hill to the Visitor Center, and please keep white lights to a minimum, so everyone’s eyes get a chance to adapt to the dark.

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets at 8:00 pm on the second Friday of the month at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan St. in Lanesville. There is no cost, and the public is welcome. For more info on the club, see the websitethe club’s Facebook page, or on Twitter, @GAACster.