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Holiday Party this Friday Night

AAS members are invited to join the festivities at the annual Holiday Party Friday night at 7:30. This is a pot luck dinner, so bring your favorite side dish or dessert. Later we will vote for the 2018 image of the year. Domingo will bring two telescopes (a Celestron C11, and an Orion 8″ dobsonian) to loan out.  Weather permitting, he will set them up to view the comet as well. This year the event will be at a new location, so log in and view the details here. This location is under consideration for future General Assembly meetings, so look around and see if it will make a good meeting place. See you then!

Dec 8 Star Party at Pedernales is Confirmed

Forecasts for this evening disagree, but we’re taking a chance and going ahead with the star party at Pedernales Fall State Park, 5:00-8:30. Come out if you trust the forecast that shows clearing skies.
We won’t be able to set up at the Star Theater due to a muddy parking lot. We’ll be at the picnic/swimming area. Follow the signs.

From the park ranger: You can just tell the office that you are there with AAS to help with the star party, and we’ll give you a free permit to enter. If coming in after the office closes, just use the self pay station and write down “Austin Astro Volunteer” on the permit tag.

For more information see this page: Star party event

Want to borrow a telescope from the club?

Domingo will be bringing 5 telescopes available to loan to AAS members. Come and get your scope!

Public Star Party on Nov 10 at Inks Lake State Park

 

Come out to our November public star party at Inks Lake State Park!

This public is invited to share our telescopes to observe the sky. We’ll show such objects as planets, the moon, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and more.  Festivities will take place at Inks Lake’s Central Park just southwest of the park store.The evening will begin at 5:00 p.m. for night time observing until 8:30p.

There is no charge for the star party itself, but visitors must pay the park entry fee of $6 for ages 13 and up, with children 12 and under free. If you are coming just for the event, no reservations with either the park or us are required. If you want to stay overnight, go to https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/ for more information about individual parks.

Some visitors like to have chairs, although mostly folks are moving around from telescope to telescope to observe and the area does have some benches. A flashlight with a red bulb is good, but we have red cellophane we can use to cover a white light. One thing not to bring is a dog, unless it is a service animal; we prefer not to have dogs around the telescopes in the dark. Smoking is not permitted in the area of the telescopes because the smoke can damage optical equipment. Public consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed in state parks.

If the weather on a scheduled star party day seems questionable for viewing, you can check this website or call the state park office.

Follow the yellow arrows to park headquarters, the red dot, where you will check in and get a ticket for your car. Proceed to Central Park marked in blue and flanked by two red parking areas on the west and east side of the field.

 

Featured Speaker: General Assembly Meeting on Friday, November 9

 

Our Speaker this month is author and professor Dr. C Renée James, who will talk about:

Where Spacecraft Go to Die

Inspired by Kepler’s recent death (it’s not quite dead!), I began thinking about all the different planetary missions and how they met their ends. There were the murders (Cassini, Magellan), the catastrophic accidents (Mars Climate Orbiter), and the slow fades to old age (Kepler, Pioneer, Voyager). We’ve had so many amazing missions, and they’ve had such a variety of interesting deaths.

From the amazon.com author profile: Dr. James has been distracted by shiny objects in the Universe for as long as she can remember. Trained as a stellar spectroscopist at the astronomy department of the University of Texas at Austin, she later abandoned determining the chemical abundances of metal-poor stars in favor of exploring astronomy and the history of science with the enthusiasm of a kid playing in the mud after a good rain. She has written extensively for both Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazines, and was awarded the Popular Science Writing Award by a division of the American Astronomical Society. Meanwhile, she’s been teaching introductory astronomy for non-science majors at Sam Houston State University since 1999, and is a favorite among students, receiving the Professor of the Year award from the physics students and being nominated for the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Her unique methods also earned her a Gold Star award from NASA’s IGES for inspiring uses of Hubble in education. What people enjoy most about her writing and teaching is her down-to-earth, humorous way of conveying some of the most esoteric and non-intuitive facets of science. In the words of one awe-stricken reader, “Approaching this kind of stuff without scaring people with techno-speak is close to magic.”

 

For more information about the meeting date, time, and location, click through to this event posting.

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