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.

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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.

GAAC Speaker Friday Night 5/12: Ed Los, Rescuing Valuable Historic Astrophotos

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At this month’s GAAC meeting, 8:00 Friday night, May 12, at the Lanesville Community Center, we are thrilled to host Ed Los, a long-term member of the “Digital Access to a Sky Century team at Harvard” (DASCH). Ed will bring us up to date on the project to digitize over 500,000 images of the night sky collected on glass photographic plates between 1885 and 1993.

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Image: Portion of Plate b41215 of Halley’s comet taken on April 21, 1910 from Arequipa, Peru with the 8-inch Bache Doublet, Voigtlander.

These images offer us far more than mere historic value. They have greatly advanced what we know of the composition of stars, their inherent luminosities and distances, and, as a 100-year record of the skies, they are sure to continue to inform our understanding. Already as part of this ongoing project more than 162,000 plates, along with data from a card catalog and 1200 associated log books, have been scanned into digital files, to preserve them and make them more readily available to researchers.

Ed will explain the ongoing project and its importance to our knowledge of the night sky, and will tell us some of the many ways that these data are even now helping us understand the universe around us. We’re very pleased to have Ed as this month’s presenter, for what is sure to be an entertaining and informative evening at GAAC. We hope to see you there.

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets on the second Friday of the month at 8:00 at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan Street, Lanesville. All are welcome; no special knowledge or equipment is needed to have a great time. There is plenty of free parking, and there is no cost. For more on the astronomy club see our website or Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter, @gaacster. Come see us!

 

GAAC’s Welcome to Amateur Astronomy Night!

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Friday night, April 14, from 8:00 pm to 9:30 is the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club’s “Welcome to Amateur Astronomy Night.”

This annual event is always a favorite. We’ll be featuring a group of quick, ten-minute presentations on topics of interest to anyone interested in pursuing astronomy, as well as a roomful of different binoculars and telescopes to inspect and ask questions about, and all the great conversation and goodies you’ve come to associate with GAAC meetings.

You’ll be able to find out more about what you need to get started, how to do astrophotography, places to shop and how much to spend, what you’ll be able to see, the advantages of different telescope optical designs and brands, and much more. And we’ll be raffling off a really nice pair of binoculars!

It all happens at 8:00 pm on Friday April 14th, at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan St. in Lanesville. All are welcome, there’s plenty of free parking, and there is no cost. No special knowledge is required to have a great time. See you there!

Gloucester Area Astronomy Club annual Astrophotography Night

On Friday night March 10, at 8:00 pm, the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club will bring you our annual Astrophotographers on Parade!

In this annual festival of GAAC astrophotography some of our best photographers will each show off a few of their favorite pictures they’ve taken of galaxies, nebulae and other objects. They will explain what each one is, how big and far away it is, and any issues they had getting the shot.

This 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 enormous objects they photograph. Come early to see friends old and new, grab a good seat and some great goodies, and share some terrific conversation. See you on the 10th!

 

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets from 8:00 to 9:30 pm on the second Friday of every month except August at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan Street in Lanesville. There is no cost. There are no dues or fees, all are welcome, and you don’t need any special knowledge or equipment to have a great time. Lots of free off-street parking.

GAAC Holiday Party Friday 12/9

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At our annual Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Holiday Party, Friday December 9, 8:00 pm at the Lanesville Community Center, we’re lucky enough to have Dr. Mario Motta with a presentation on his latest astronomy science project, an investigation of a white dwarf star (WD 1145+017) in Virgo that is orbited by the remains of a disintegrating small planet or asteroid.

The star seems to be tearing apart a small planet, leaving multiple small planetesimals and cometary trails in its wake. The story of the destruction of an actual planet is going to lead to a really interesting evening.

Mario’s been following and charting the disintegration, and is going to share his process and results with us on the 9th. It’s always fun to hear speakers who can report first-hand on actual astronomical events, and our December 2016 holiday party will be one of those rare nights.

Join us!

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets on the second Friday of the month at 8:00pm at the Lanesville Community Center, 8 Vulcan Street, Lanesville. There are no dues or fees, and all are welcome. Find out more about GAAC at http://gaac.us, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GAACpage, or on Twitter, @GAACster.