BASS Meeting Saturday, June 18th, 7PM at SBO

Flying a Satellite

Our guest speaker will be David Wescott, a Software Engineer at Laboratory for  Atmospheric and Space Physics. He will be discussing his experience as a flight controller for  the commissioning of the  Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) spacecraft.

After the talk, we will go up to the telescope observing deck, weather permitting. Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn are all gracing our night sky right now.

 

Our previously announced speaker, Dr. Bo Reipurth, will be joining us in July.

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

CU-BASS-Parking

 

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

We have reschedule Dr. Metlay from our previously announced April meeting, which was canceled to due a severe winter storm alert. She will be our speaker on Saturday May 21st, at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory on the CU Boulder campus.

The Five Moons of Pluto

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Our featured speaker this month is Dr. Suzanne T. Metlay. We will meet in the classroom/lab downstairs in the Summers-Bausch Observatory (SBO) at 7pm. Parking is free in lot sections 419 and 423 (see map below).

Charon and the other moons of Pluto have been revealed by the New Horizons spacecraft to be fascinating worlds. Using the latest imagery from NASA, let’s explore the dark deposits of Mordor near Charon’s north pole, then take a look at the red crater on Nix. Styx and Kerberos have their own surprises too! Investigate the family of objects orbiting our solar system’s 1st known dwarf planet as professional geoscientists struggle to explain what we see and why it’s there. Let’s celebrate the success of the New Horizons mission as this well-engineered marvel continues on to its next encounter in the Kuiper Belt and let’s reflect on what we may yet learn.

Suzanne Metlay is full-time faculty in Geoscience Teacher Education at Western Governors University, a fully online non-profit university founded in 1997 by 19 governors of western states, including Colorado. Previously, Suzanne taught astronomy and geology at Front Range Community College in Longmont and Fort Collins, was Operations Director for Secure World Foundation in Superior, and served as Education Programs Manager at CU-Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium.

Suzanne has a BA in History and Science from Harvard University and a PhD in Geology and Planetary Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She was awarded the Antarctica Service Medal from the Department of the Navy and National Science Foundation for fieldwork conducted as a participant in the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) in 1991.

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

CU-BASS-Parking

BASS Meeting this Saturday, March 19th, at 7PM, Sommers-Bausch Observatory

Amateur Astronomy Series, Part 3, The Mount

To start out 2016 on a fresh foot, we are linking a series of meetings on the practice of amateur astronomy and the making and testing of telescopes. We will approach this from the perspective of the hobbyist, for amateur in it’s classical definition means “for the love of the thing”, not something shabby.

At the last meeting we looked at mounting the primary and secondary mirrors and a focuser in a truss tube system. This month, we will demonstrate a “Barn-door” mount. This is a simple mount that you can make at home, even if you have limited maker skills, that will allow you to track the sky. These mounts can even be used for wide-field imaging with long exposures. The prototype that we will present was built for less than $20, and a crafty person who scavenges well can build one out of scrap for almost nothing.

Observing to follow on the SBO deck telescopes, weather permitting. Dress warm!

BASS Meeting this Saturday, February 20th, at 7PM, Sommers-Bausch Observatory

Amateur Astronomy Series, Part 2, Building Up A Newtonian Telescope

To start out 2016 on a fresh foot, we are linking a series of meetings on the practice of amateur astronomy and the making and testing of telescopes. We will approach this from the perspective of the hobbyist, for amateur in it’s classical definition means “for the love of the thing”, not something shabby.

At the last meeting we looked at how to setup a Foucault tester to evaluate a mirror. At this month’s meeting we will look at mounting the primary and secondary mirrors and a focuser in a truss tube system. With these parts in place, you have a complete dark sky telescope capable of visual observing of everything from planets, to nebulae, to galaxies.

Observing to follow on the SBO deck telescopes, weather permitting. Dress warm!

BASS Meeting this Saturday, January 16th, at 7PM, Sommers-Bausch Observatory

Amateur Astronomy Series, Part 1, Foucault Testing

To start out 2016 on a fresh foot, we are going to link a series of meetings on the practice of amateur astronomy and the making and testing of telescopes. We will approach this from the perspective of the hobbyist, for amateur in it’s classical definition means “for the love of the thing”, not something shabby.

It’s that after Holiday season time, when new amateurs with new telescopes are wanting to deepen their experience with observing. For the next few meetings we will look at optics at spanning the range from casual observer to the dedicated
amateur telescope maker. For our outreach crowd we will refresh the discussion to have with our guests at outreach events. Several of our members are currently making their own scopes. Seems like a great time to spend meeting time playing around with the scopes that bring us so much enjoyment.

We will base our explorations this week off the Foucault tester and the Ronchi Ruling. These are traditional methods that give exceptional detail on the quality of an optic. When you here that a telescope has a mirror that correct to a 1/4 wave or even a 16th of a wave, what does that really mean and how can you tell? Well, we will endeavor to provide some answers. They use equipment that can built in a garage, or borrowed from someone in the area who has already built one.

These next few meetings will be distilled into short summary sheets to assist with outreach work as well.

2016 Officer Elections

It is the January meeting once again, so once again we will ask BASS members present and in good standing to cast a ballot. All members who paid dues through the end of the year in 2015, or who have already paid 2016 dues are members in good standing.

BASS Meeting this Saturday 12 December, 5-7:30 PM at Hartung’s

Annual Holiday Potluck Meeting

5:00-7:30 PM at the Hartung house in the Gunbarrel neighborhood of northeast Boulder. We are trying the idea of holding it a little earlier in the evening this year to allow people to move on to other holiday events if they find their calendars full of opportunities. Bring a dish, beverages will be provided by the hosts. The dish should be something that can serve 5-10 with small plates. An appetizer format works well. We will have a little social time to talk about astro subjects, and about BASS in 2016.

BASS Meeting this Saturday 21 November, 7PM at SBO, “The Big Picture”

BASS Meeting this Saturday 21st November, 7PM at Sommers-Bausch Observatory (SBO) on the CU Boulder campus.

The feature talk will be “The Big Picture”. Some of you may be aware that BASS President Dr. Steve Hartung has taken a new position as a research scientist in a satellite imaging company. He will present on methods used in creating large mosaic images, such as those scanned by satellites orbiting  Earth, Mars, moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or any other object view up close with multiple passes.

Observing to follow, weather permitting.

Early Evening Lunar Eclipse Sunday 9/27/15

There is a lunar eclipse starting around sunset this evening. BASS has been asked to help with the expected large turnout at Fiske Planetarium on the CU Boulder campus. BASS will be on the open lawn and sidewalk area in front of the planetarium. I surveyed the site lines last evening, and there are multiple places that should give a good view of totality (sorry for the late notice, but we’ve been waiting to see if the university could come up with a better location with a view of the eastern horizon, but no better location was able to authorized by the U, so we will use the lawn in front of Fiske).

Important times:

Moonrise: 6:46pm

Sunset: 6:49pm

Partial Eclipse begins: 7:07pm

Total Eclipse begins: 8:11pm (the crowd will generally peak just before this time)

Maximum Eclipse: 8:47pm

Total Eclipse ends: 9:23pm (the crowd usually dissipates rapidly after this point)

Partial Eclipse ends: 10:27pm

For those who are able to help, I recommend small and portable equipment. Tripod mounted binoculars and small wide-field telescopes are best. Particularly binoculars, as the moon will appear extremely 3-D in the dimed light conditions of the eclipse. We also may have to move around a little due to obstruction by buildings and trees with the relatively low angle of the moon in the early stages of the eclipse.

 

Thank you very much if you can come out and help at Fiske. If you aren’t able to make it, at least take a few minutes to go outside and take in the view, it should be pretty interesting.

BASS Meeting Saturday September 19th

Our guest speaker this month will be Dr. Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). The talk will be on “High Impact Science”, because sometimes to do science, you have to blow things up.

Dr. Durda has spent many years studying various aspects of asteroids, including the dynamics of asteroid collisions with each other and with planets. In order to explore the characteristics of these extreme velocity impacts, sometimes it is useful to actually do experiments with models here on Earth and then use that information to inform computer simulations. Using the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range, he and his colleagues are able to accelerate small projectiles up to 5 km/s and fire them at various materials. In addition to data from the remnants, spectacular high speed videos result.