BASS Meeting Saturday, January 21st, 7PM at SBO

Saturday, January 21st, 7PM at Sommer-Bausch Observatory (SBO), in the downstairs lab/classroom. The feature talk will be a look at doing astronomy and astrophysics on the web just for the fun of it, by Dr. Steven Hartung.

For the Love of the Thing

The word amateur has an original meaning that is very different from some of our modern connotations. The the modern interpretations range from someone who is not a professional and engages in an activity without pay, to something that is shoddy and of unprofessional quality. In the French origin of the word, the amateur is a lover, one who does a thing for the love of it. In the case of astronomy and astrophysics, amateurs of the field can participate in many new ways via the web, without ever needing to use a telescope. Via various web resources you can:

  • View and classify galaxies
  • Find exo-planets
  • Discover comets
  • Identify gravitational lenses
  • And a whole lot more

Join The Crowd

Even if you own a telescope, you may not be as enthusiastic about going out and observing in the depth of night in January in Colorado. But with a warm home and an internet connection, you can participate in real space science investigations. So grab a warm drink, your favorite slippers, and you laptop and see what you can find in the universe.

It turns out that humans are still better at pattern matching than most computer algorithms for a wide variety of objects and visual representations.  In order to take advantage of this fact, crowd-sourcing has become widely used as an effect method of detecting, classifying, and even training automated software. Plus, many projects have made their crowd-sourced applications fun and entertaining to use. If you happen to make one of the more interesting discoveries, most projects will include your name on the scientific paper describing what was found.

In addition to crowd sourcing, other ad hoc communities have grown on their own around public data sets.

In this month’s talk we will show you what some of these projects are up to and where you find out more about them. A great place to start is Zooniverse.org, but we will also discus some other platforms and projects.

BASS Officers

This is also the first meeting of 2017, so we start the meeting with BASS members casting their ballots for the 2017 officers. All positions are filled and there are no contested positions, but our bylaws call for a ballot vote to be completed annually. The officer candidates on the ballot for 2017 are:

  • President – Steve Hartung
  • VP – Suzanne Traub-Metlay
  • Secretary – Dave Bender
  • Treasurer – Will Thornbug (2yr term)

In addition, Alison Friedli will remain on for the second year of her two-year term as webmaster.

We would also like to thank Wayne Green for 7 years of stepping up to fill the roll of VP. Wayne carried a lot of the meeting organization and outreach operations over that time. Wayne intends to remain an active member of BASS, but will be focusing his efforts more on doing research with small and medium sized telescopes. Anyone interested in research-grade observational astronomy, or image processing and analysis, should contact Wayne.  He has several telescopes coming online and many opportunities in telescope commissioning, data collection, image pipeline development, and image analysis.

Parking near SBO (building 422 on the map), use lot sections 419 and 423:

CU-BASS-Parking