Blog Archives

New arrivals in SJAA Library!

Hello there,

Thanks to generous donation by some nice people in our community, SJAA library now has few more interesting books –
Star Ware – Philip S. Harrington
Norton’s 2000.0 Star Atlas and Reference Handbook – Arthur P. Norton
The Cambridge Star Atlas – Wil Tirion
Uncovering the Secrets of the Red planet – Mars – Paul Raeburn
365 Starry Nights – Chet Raymo
Astronomy – Fred Hoyle
Looking at the Earth – Priscilla Strain & Frederick Engle
A Dictionary of Astronomy – Dr. Robert Maddison
Don’t Know Much About The Universe – Kenneth C. Davis
The Accelerating Universe – Mario Livio
Thursday’s Universe – Marcia Bartusiak

And thanks to Eric Randall, we also have some fantastic new DVDs in our collection –
Astronomy Magazine – Infinite Cosmos DVD Series
Episodes available –
Biggest Things in Space
Astrobiology
Can We Make it to Mars?
Catastrophes That Changed the Planets
Colonizing Space
Constellations
Cosmic Collisions
Dark Matter/Dark Energy
How Big, How Far, How Fast
How the Solar System was Made
Life Beyond Earth
The End of Earth: Deep Space Threats to Our Planet
The Journey to Palomar
The Search for Cosmic Clusters
To the Moon
Unexplained Mysteries
Wildest Weather in the Cosmos

Stop by and check these out!

As always, if you have any questions/suggestions/comments/feedback, please email me at librarian.sjaa@gmail.com.

Thank you!
Sukhada

Posted in Anouncements, Blog


1st Sunday Sept 7th Solar

Observe The Sun Safely! Never look at the Sun without a proper filter!
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting.
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Great Weather, Terrific Scopes and Folks, Spectacular Prominences and 170 Sunspot Count (NOAA) =
Could not ask for More

CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE
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5 Scopes and 20 Folks at 1st Sunday Solar Observing at Houge

A grab and go spotting scope and Questar scope filled the need to see the plethora of fantastic sunspots and solar faculae today. And 3 H-alpha scopes filled the bill to see a prototypical loop prominence, a 200,000 mile hedge row prom and several tree branching proms.  Here’s a pic of the spots from Solarham.com:
9-7-2014-SolarHam

Note the white webbing of Solar Faculae around the sunspots. Teruo’s Pentax Spotting scope equipped with a glass filter @30x caught all the major hot regions on today’s Earth facing photosphere.

Below – Paul M. scope caught truly veteran solar views and Wolf W. 100mm catches its first plasma light.
Sola-Sept2014-02 Sola-Sept2014-03

Thanks to our volunteers Terry K, Teruo U., Wolf W., Paul M. and Michael P.. And special thanks to Dave Ittner would helped get the club’s scope set up today and Rob Jaworski for bringing cooler/drinks and also facilitating coverage of our Solar Sunday by a local newspaper.

 
Posted in Blog, Solar


NASA Ames 1st open house in 17 years

NASA Ames Open House

Saturday October 18

Check our Martian Landscape area, wind tunnels, labs….

Perhaps a SJAA Group Trip? Post us a note below…

More Details here:

http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_26468180/moffett-field-nasa-ames-host-first-open-house?source=rss

 

Posted in Anouncements, Articles, Blog, Education & Reference Info


Grandview Campground – Trip Report – July 2014

The following is an observing and site report submitted by SJAA members Jose Marte and Gary Chock

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(From Gary)
Here’s a report on our visit to Grandview Campground on Tue & Wed July 22-23, 2014.

Grandview Campground is in Inyo National Forest on the way up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. It is about 8 to 9 hours from the Bay Area depending on your driving pace. It is at 8560′ elevation. There are 26 campsites nicely spaced with trees between offering privacy and shielding from other camper’s lights and campfires. No water, pack your trash. At least 3 vault toilets. At this altitude, the only wildlife problems seem to be squirrels (no bears).
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recreation/recarea/?recid=20268

Weather-wise, we were lucky. A monsoonal weather pattern was in place over the Sierras for ~2 weeks and dissipated just before we left the Bay Area. It reformed Sat July 26 after we left.

While Bishop was baking in 105 degrees in the daytime, Grandview was in the 80’s in the daytime and in the 50’s overnight.

IMG_Grandview_Site4_000_NorthTo the left is a photo of the north horizon at campsite 4.

Seeing and transparency was excellent for the nights we observed. Great horizon-to-horizon views of the Milky Way. We easily viewed dark nebula. Barnard’s E near Altair. Also the cloudiness around the Sagittarius Star Cloud was well defined. M31 Andromeda Galaxy was wide and ethereal with M32 and M110 in view.

We met up with some astronomers from Southern California – visual and imagers. They visit regularly, traveling from Orange County and Tehachapi. While we experienced great weather, seeing, and transparency, they mentioned times it got down to 16 degrees. Other times windy.

I will keep in mind Grandview for a revisit, planning on keeping things flexible and check the weather a lot. Hopefully synchronizing excellent weather, seeing, and transparency. Here are convenient links for checking.
http://cleardarksky.com/c/GrandVCAkey.html?1
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?textField1=37.3333&textField2=-118.1889#.U9qQ42Nhu6I
http://mammothweather.com/
http://bishopweather.com/

There are two observations I enjoyed that exemplified to me the excellent dark skies we had at Grandview Campground.

Viewing M7 Ptolemy’s Cluster with my 20×80 binoculars, the stars of this splendid open cluster were brilliant points in a dark field that seemed to be suspended in three dimensions. The binocular-mind integration effect seemed to connect the star-vertices with faint blue filaments. Stunning.

Viewing M13 The Great Hercules Cluster with my 10″ Dob, the stars of this spectacular globular cluster were fine pinpoints in a velvety dark field. My mind connected these points, arranging them in three dimensions as facets of a diamond. Wondrous.

(From Jose)
I joined Gary Chock for a visit to The Grandview Campground (GV) in the Inyo-White Mountains, nearby Big Pines in California. Gary’s comments regarding the seeing/transparency darkness accurately describes just how terrific conditions were for observing. I’ve only been involved in the hobby for just over a year, but the couple of nights we camped were easily the best sessions I have experienced.

I’m an observational astronomer using a 14″ Orion Dobsonain telescope. I don’t use computer guided tools just a Telrad, 9×50 finder, and usually paper finder charts. Basically, I was able to find everything that I intended to see. The only limiting factor was the fact that I needed to sleep and plus my inexperience at being in a premium dark site. It is hard deciding what to look for when everything seems possible to find. My enthusiasm probably caused me to waste some time and energy because I found myself swooping from one side of the sky to the other, feasting on eye-candy, rather than honing in on a particular location.

To describe the conditions I will elaborate on one object. Just about every astronomy book points out the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, as being “bright” and “spectacular”. To me this has been a source of frustration, and even a minor disappointment, since it is invisible from my driveway in San Jose. At our local, semi-dark sites (Mendoza Ranch or RCDO) M51 is readily available and appears to be a low-contrast, lop-sided figure-eight. It is brighter and larger but still a “faint fuzzy” without detail. At the Grandview, however, (~165x) I could see its spiraling arms and I didn’t really need to use averted vision! Very cool and yes, spectacular. In fact, and this could be from the delirium of lack of sleep, I thought I saw M51, naked-eye, as a fuzzy, dim star.

This trip was actually my second time to the White Mountains. Last August, during the Perseids, I spent a night at the Patriach Grove, one of the areas where the amazing Bristle Cone Pines grow. (FYI camping is not allowed at the Patriarch Grove.) It is just a few miles away from the Grandview Campground but at 11,000 feet. Again, observing conditions were fantastic, but I didn’t bring enough warm clothing and spent most of the night, uncomfortably cold in my car.

If you intend to go the Inyo-White Mountains be prepared for extreme cold and heat. But also be prepared for extreme natural beauty. Even if you encounter the misfortune of a cloudy night, you will still be in one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. The view of the Eastern Sierra peaks, rising upwards of 10,000 feet from Owens Valley is absolutely magnificent. Aside from the great astronomy, there is fantastic hiking, birding, fishing, geology, and even archeology to experience in the Eastern Sierras. It is only about eight hours away from San Jose and plus you’ll have the pleasure of driving through the backcounty of Yosemite National Park and seeing Mono Lake. Furthermore, this area is vast. Finding a campsite or lodging is very easy compared to Yosemite.

Editor’s Note: Documenting your visits to dark sky sites or any other astronomy related place is a good way to help you remember your visit, as well as help you develop your observing skills.  Just as writing and rewriting your class notes in college in itself helped you study and master the material, writing and keeping notes of trips helps you become a better visual observer.  Please consider submitting any site notes or observing reports to the SJAA for posting on the blog or for publishing in the newsletter, The Ephemeris. You’ll be glad you did!

Posted in Articles, Observing Reports, Trip Reports


Perseids – Fear Not the Moon – start now

Fear Not the Moon, Perseids Always a Great Show so look for it this weak starting now.

CLICK TO ENLARGEClip_4

Read more at: http://www.universetoday.com/113776/fear-not-the-moon-perseids-always-a-great-show/

Posted in Anouncements, Articles, Blog


1st Sunday August 3rd Solar

Observe The Sun Safely! Never look at the Sun without a proper filter!
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting.
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We are *finally* past solar max. So is the Sun dead quiet? Not Quite!
Is Summer over as soon as the days get shorter? Nope – the sunshine hums along. It’s even more the case with the solar cycle. Sol Min is 5.5 years away! The sunspot count on the 1st Sunday of August was 158 (NOAA). Plus we had one spectacular prominence which stood out from the others and changed its shape over the course of the party (below are a few pics). Please do note though – as the sun does quiet down – the chance of seeing an active day on the 1st Sunday of every month will wane. So we now have a back-up date of the 2d Sunday for solar viewing. We’ll keep you tuned in through announcements!
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
2014-08-02Wh9 IMG_4973Ha9Above is how the sun looked over the weekend in standard and H-alpha filters. Thanks to Robert Duvall.
 
Sun3Aug-02
Again, please make a mental note. As the sun does quiet down the chance of seeing an active day on the 1st Sunday of every month will be lower. So we now have a back-up date of the 2d Sunday. We’ll keep you posted for the stellar views!
Posted in Articles, Blog, Solar


SJAA Yosemite Trip Report

Yosemite Trip A Success

We were concerned about the fire and clouds but the reality was we showed Saturn, Iridium Flares, the host of significant objects inside and outside our galaxy to folks from Europe, Africa, Oceania, the Americas and Asia.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE

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Credit M. Packer

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Credit M. Packer

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Credit J. Jones

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Credit: G. Chock

One highlight of the weekend was an Iridium Flare passing over during pre-star party talk. Morris Jones asked “what’s the difference between astrologers and astronomers?” Answer: “Astronomers predictions come true” Where-in Morris told audience to look up for the flare and score – the satellite passed overhead to the delight and applause of audience.

03-Yosemite_2014

Credit M. Packer

Thanks to our SJAA volunteers. Left to Right: Morris Jones, Philip Lieu, Don Lieu, Jane Houston Jones, Jim Van Nuland, Terry Kahl, Gary Mitchell, Kenichi Miura, Paul Mancuso, Michael Packer,  Jose Marte, Greg Bradburn, Gary Chock, Rus Belikov

Other highlights of the weekend: scope views of climbers on Halfdome, M55 in a large dob, Swan and Veil (nice view Terry and Gary). Saturn of course – it rings but also it’s moons. M6, M7 and lots of planetary nebulae  in Aquila (thanks Rus). Also several shooting stars both nights along with the Crème de la crème – Pleiades “un-occulted” or rising over Half Dome in the wee hours. Below are some pics of the weekend.

04-Yosemite_2014

Credit M. Packer


 

05-Yosemite_2014 06-Yosemite_201407-Yosemite_2014

 

   08-Yosemite_2014 09-Yosemite_2014

14-Yosemite_2014

Credit G. Chock

13-Yosemite_2014

Credit G. Chock

Morris snapped this shot of a grouse that stopped by:

11-Yosemite_2014

Credit M. Jones

Posted in Articles, Blog, Trip Reports


1st Sunday July 6th Solar

Observe The Sun Safely! Never look at the Sun without a proper filter!
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting.
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“1x” Solar Glasses Visiable Sunspot, Sunspot Count over 200, Plus Spectacular Prominences Equals One Great 4th July Weekend of Solar Observing
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Keven Lahey, Robert Duvall, Bill O’Neil, Jeff Gose, Teruo Utsumi, Paul Mancuso and Michael Packer were just some of the folks who hung out at the 1st Sunday of month solar party and this 4th of July Weekend did not disappoint.

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CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE
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Sunspots looked fantastic through solar filtered binoculars.
Don’t not look through your binoculars without proper solar filters – doing so will cause permanent eye damage!
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By far the coolest aspect of the solar disc today was the sheer number of sunspots (213 NOAA). Sunspots usually come in pairs and the larger one looked like wings of a butterfly according to Robert D. – or perhaps moth wings that emulated fake eyes to detract prey (Michael P.). What ever your imagination – the detail of the umbra and penumbra was intricate as nature can be (below left image). Another neat detail to be observed was near textbook example of filamentary prominences arcing around one sunspot source. No question here. The focus of these semicircular arcs clearly were spot on the spot that caused them. Can you see which spot we’re talking about in the below right image?

The sun with Standard Solar Filter and H-Alpha (click an image to enlarge).

2014-07-06Wh9 IMG_4785Ha9

Here are more images of the day:

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Jul6-Solar-05 Jul6-Solar-04

 

Jul6-Solar-03

 

Jul6-Solar-06

 

Posted in Blog, Solar


Happy Fourth All

I took this pic at shoreline park and it reminded me too much of the crab nebula so here it is:

 

4th-12

 

Posted in Articles


My Favorite Things, Vol 1.4 – Online Class and Asteroids

[I’ll continue from my previous post next month since the stuff here is time sensitive.]

Robert Armstrong
I first met him as I started to become involved w/ the SJAA board. I quickly learned that there was wisdom in every thought and opinion he shared. When he spoke, everyone listened. His long standing support for the SJAA, his wisdom, and everything embodied by his presence will be missed.


Online Astronomy Class
Someone I work with referred me to coursera.com. All classes are free and if you take a class while it’s offered, you can earn a certificate. I found “Galaxies and Cosmology” given by a Caltech professor. This class already ended so I’m taking it self-paced. There are short quizzes mixed into the video lectures. This class has tests at the end of each week and no other assignments or final exam. You do need 1st year calculus to really understand the concepts.  (I missed this in the first short quiz: ∫10 ex dx. Sigh.)

Allergic to math (or at least calculus)? I’ve also sign up for “From the Big Bang to Dark Energy”. There is a “basic” track that requires just high school algebra/geometry and an “advanced” track for those who are gluttons for punishment  It runs for four weeks from 8/5 to 9/1  I’d encourage EVERYONE to sign up and get the certificate. You can always ping me for help. If you decide to jump in, do let me know!


Ceres and Vesta

S&T and other sources have noted that the asteroids Ceres and Vesta are now visible. They’ll both continue to be in the same binocular view for a while. I’ve seen them the past couple weeks and, courtesy of Tom Pillar, saw them at Rancho through his telescope in a 2° field of view. It turns out they’ll be closest together around July 4th. Because they’re small, you have to know exactly where they are. Otherwise there’s no way to distinguish them from stars.

If you haven’t seen them yet, you should! Being able to see both Ceres and Vesta in the same view is a rare occurrence. Although they’re both in the asteroid belt, their orbits are somewhat different. It turns out they get close to each other only once every 16 years. The next time they’ll be within 5° of each other will be Feb. 2030 and, drum roll please, the next time they’ll be within 2° is 2081!

So how do I know that? Did my Magic 8-ball tell me? Ha! Anyone who has known me a while knows that I make heavy use of Sky Safari. If you care to try the same exercise as I did, just follow along. This works well if you have the plus or pro version. If you have the basic version, you don’t have the capability to show field of view circles, so there’s no direct way to tell angular distance as asteroids fly by.  You can also do this with other software, but it’s MUCH easier if you have field of view circles.

Let’s set up field of view circles and turn off certain objects. In Sky Safari zoom in or out so your display is about 30° wide. You can search for Ceres or you can move your view so Mars is visible. As of this writing, they’ll be slightly above and to the left of Mars. Select Ceres and hit “Center”.

Go to “Settings” -> “Deep Sky Objects” and turn off deep sky objects. Similarly under “Solar System” turn off planets, but turn on asteroids, names, and at the bottom set the limiting magnitude to 11.0. To help you gauge the part of the sky you’re looking at, turn on constellation names. Also make sure your horizon is off (or on with either “Transparent With Line” or “Translucent Area”). [Note: All this is to prevent various objects from becoming distractions, like planets, as the whiz by at high speeds.]

Set one field of view circle to 10° and another to 4° and turn them both on. For Sky Safari version 3 go to “Display” and change the fields next to “Finder”, “Wide”, “Narrow”. For version 4 go to “Display”, turn on two “Custom Filed of View”, tap, and enter a new field of view. Hit “Done” to return to the view screen.

You should now see Ceres in the middle of the two field of view circles. Since we’ll have Ceres centered in the circles, anything inside the 10° circle will be at most 5° away, and anything in the 4° circle will be at most 2° away.

Select the “Time” menu set your time to 10pm. Select “Day”. Now hit the fast forward button. You’ll see Vesta move away and other changes as Sky Safari shows you how the sky changes as the days fly by.

You’ll notice the other (relatively) bright asteroids come and go. Eventually you’ll see Vesta swing into view around Feb. 2030. Hit the fast forward button again to stop and again to restart. Fast forwarding can take a long time, so you may want to bump up the numerical increment on the left to 10 or higher. If you’re running on a Mac (or other program on a laptop or desktop), the fast forward is faster (and looks smoother), so your increment won’t have to be as high. When something interesting comes into view, you can stop and bump the increment back down to one.

Here are the dates I found where Ceres and Vesta are close together:
2/2014 – 8/2014: ? (How close will they get?)
2/2030 – 5/2030: 3°
2047: ?
2065: ?
4/2081 – 6/2081: 1°, but visible only during pre-dawn hours

To find the exact angle between two objects, select the first object (if not already selected), select the second object, and hit “Info”. You’ll find the angle under “Angular Separation”. Be sure to reselect Ceres and center before restarting fast forward, otherwise Ceres will disappear from view.

Once you have this under your belt, you should be able to predict any imaginable event the solar system offers!

Posted in My Favorite Things


In Memory to Dr. Armstrong

Write up by Mark Wagner
In Memory
Dr. Robert F. Armstrong
July 22, 1938 – June 17, 2014
Los Gatos, California 

The SJAA and amateur astronomy have lost a dear friend with the passing of Dr. Robert Armstrong.  It was an unexpected and sad loss for all who knew him, and the many who benefited from his quiet generosity.

Robert was known to many simply as Dr. A.  He had a keen love for astronomy, regularly taking his 20″ telescope to Fremont Peak, was a fixture each year at the CalStar dark sky star party, and traveled the world to experience numerous  total solar eclipses.  He served on the SJAA Board of Directors for many years, handling the officer duties of Treasurer.  Always gentle, kind and positive, he embodied the club as an open and welcoming organization, supporting and promoting new ideas for making amateur astronomy more accessible to the public, and members of the SJAA.

Professionally, Dr. Armstrong was an infectious diseases specialist, practicing in Los Gatos.  Several members of the SJAA, and their families, owe their lives and those of their family members to Dr. A’s expertise and advice.  All who knew him saw his deep caring for people, in how he connected on a very personal and human level.

Dr. A. had a fine, quiet, and playful sense of humor, and a great understanding of human nature.  Never heard raising his voice in anger, he was one of those people, who are really few, who could always be counted on.  Robert set a great example for all.

With the SJAA, his dreams were for the club to have a first rate solar telescope, and to acquire land at a dark site so amateur astronomers could have a place of their own to enjoy their hobby.  He recently helped guide the club in acquiring a wonderful solar telescope which now is used monthly for public viewing.  It is an appropriate legacy he leaves the SJAA, as none shined so brightly as Dr. A, at the SJAA.

Dr. Armstrong will long be missed by the SJAA, his friends, and those whose lives he touched.

Posted in Anouncements, Articles, Blog


LOTS of new books in our library, exclusively for the kids!!!

Hello there, 

Thanks to a generous donation from one of our board members, Ed Wong…SJAA Library now has 14 awesome books for the little ones! BIG thanks, Ed!!! 

Here are the books that we recently added to our collection – 

  1. Find the Constellations
  2. Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations
  3. The Everything Kids’ Astronomy Book
  4. Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations
  5. The Kids Book of the Night Sky
  6. Exploring the Night Sky: The Equinox Astronomy Guide for Beginners
  7. There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System
  8. Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations
  9. Telescope Power: Fantastic Activities & Easy Projects for Young Astronomers
  10. The Moon Book
  11. National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space
  12. National Geographic Readers: Planets
  13. Faraway Worlds
  14. Night Sky Atlas

All of these books are very kid-friendly, with lots of fun pictures and easy explanations. Stop by the book cabinet to check these out, next time you are Houge Park for one of our events! I hope our budding astronomers group will enjoy reading these books!!! 

For more information on SJAA Library, please check out – https://www.sjaa.net/sjaa-library/

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at librarian.sjaa@gmail.com. 

Sukhada

Posted in Articles


Indie SiFi To Play in San Jose

For those not going to GSSP, COHERENCE might satiate at least a need for intriguing Sci-Fi.

! Plus mark the date for SJAA SCI-FI Night: Saturday August 9th !

COHERENCE

Camera 12 on June 27th

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Coherance_2013

More The X-Files than Star Wars

“On the night of an astronomical anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events. Part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama, COHERENCE is a tightly focused, intimately shot film that quickly ratchets up with tension and mystery.”

Official Website:

http://coherencethemovie.com/

Camera 12 showing:

http://www.cameracinemas.com/cgi-bin/movies.cgi?cmd=dm&m=15-11-49-4-4-2014-5533

Posted in Anouncements, Blog


Reset the Net

Posted in Articles


Summer Exploratory Trip to the Pinnacles

This a report on exploratory trip to the Pinnacles last night 5/31

Last night me and (Dave I, Tom P, Gary C, Guna P, Lee H, Teruo U, Manoj K, Bharath K,) from the SJAA met down at the Pinnacles for a summer exploritory to see how viable viewing from the Pinnacles camp grounds would be. As we arrived, the campsites we had were on opposite sides of an access road. The campsites were large enough to fit all of us in one of the sites. So we decided to setup tents and gear in one of the campsites and park half of the other cars in the opposite site since there was a parking limit per site. As we were setting up it was obvious to the campers on both sides of us that we were not going to the regular campers. Needless to say the big Dobs and Big Binoculars got the attention of those around us which gave us a good opportunity to talk about the club and invite people to our website and HP. Of course the other campers wanted to have some views through our scopes too.

I guess I should list who brought what

Dave I – 17.5 inch Dobstuff Dob
Lee H – 25x150mm battle ship binoculars
Ed W- Oberwerk 28x110mm binoculars
Tom P – Televue NP101 & Astrotech AT72 refractors
Gary C- Astrotech AT72 refractor & Celestron 20×80 binoculars
Teruo U – 18 inch Obsession Dob
Manoj – 16 inch Hubble Optics Dob & 8inch? Dobstuff Dob
Guna P – Explore Scientific ED102
Bharath K – Orion ED80
Nhan N – Orion ED80

So the night started off viewing the Moon and Jupiter. I was able to spot Jupiter with the my binos during the just before sunset followed by Dave finding it with his Dob. We were able to see the bands on it and the sun was still up!!! The crowd gathered around to see views offered of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn just as the sun had set. As a bonus we were able to see the Moon occult a bright star next to it (SAO 96786)

By 11pm some of the crowd started to dwindle down and I was able to get my first SQM reading of 20.56 (RCDO is about 20.50) There was still a lot of lights on from the nearby campers and the restrooms.

By around 1am the campers had gone to bed and the lights were out. Second SQM reading of 21.77!!! the Milky Way was blazing across the sky. If you have never viewed the Milky Way under dark skies it truly is a sight that is to behold. With my binos panning for the M8 – Lagoon Nebula through M24 -Sagittarius Star cloud to M11 – Wild Duck cluster it’s amazing how many stars are visible with the dark dust lanes in between them.

Other nice things viewed during the evening were: the Markarian Chain, M83, M104, The Leo Triplet, M31, M51, M64, M13, M92, M95, M96, M81, M82, M97, M105, M106, M108, M109. Bonus objects were the NG7000 – North American Nebula and Eastern & Western Veil Nebulas looked fantastic in the binos.

By 2:30am it was getting cold and most of us were starting to pack up for the night. Overall it was a good night. We learned things about the site that will help us for future trips, for some of the guys that went it was the first time they viewed under dark skies, we were able to give some publicity for the club.

-Ed

Posted in Articles


1st Sunday June 1st Solar

Observe The Sun Safely! Never look at the Sun without a proper filter!
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting.

Holy Solar H-Flares!

It was a warm day under the sun but the H-Alpha Solar flares did not disappoint. Here are two exposures taken with a LX5 point and shoot held at the eyepiece:

Click Any Image To Enlarge

 01sunpromSolar   02sunpromsSolar

The H-Flare on the right was a good 200,000 thousand miles high. Sunspot count was in the 50’s.

Terry had her portable H-Alpha and Bill had his C5 along with the club’s scope. Michael brought his 80mm with Herschel Wedge and Narrow Band Green.  Below are two people shots of the day. About a 12 folks stopped by to take a gander.

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Posted in Blog, Solar


Astronomy + Memorial Day Potluck, South Bay Hills invite

Hi All,  if you don’t have Monday afternoon plans join the The Villages Astronomy club for pot luck dinner and guest speaker Brian Day from NASA

The event kicks off at 4:30 with some folks from the San Jose Astronomy Association and their Solar Telescopes (ie at least me, Michael, with my own solar scope and Hershel wedged refactor) to view a very active sun. Bring your solar, night scope or just yourself/family. The Villagers are very nice folk that join our Houge events every so often. Here are the details:
 The Villages Astronomy club will host a pot luck dinner and provide complementary grilled burgers and hot dogs.  Join in and bring your favorite dish! 

After solar viewing and food there will be a talk titled: “Exploring the Moon with NASA.”  Brian Day will overview NASA LUNAR activities with a focus on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission. Bring your laptop or smart phone and he will show you some steps to do your own exploration. WiFi on site.

As evening falls, several telescopes (bring yours), partnered with knowledgeable Villager astronomy members  – will share views, check out NGCs and take any requests.

Join us for the full event or feel free to pop in for a specific area of interest! There is also a radio telescope HAM base.
Where and when:
Monday, May 26th, Vineyard Center
Solar Viewing 4:30 – 5:30
BBQ and Pot Luck:  5:30 – 6:30

Please RSVP, to plan accordingly for complimentary BBQ and seating for our Guest Speaker.
RSVP  Trish: 408-384-1043 trishmb AT yahoo DOT com
trishhmb@… <mailto:trishhmb@…
DIRECTIONS
From 101 take the Yerba Buena exit 
• Drive east on Yerba Buena to San Felipe (2.3 miles)
• Turn right on San Felipe Road
• Make a left turn at Villages Parkway continue to the entrance gate
• After you enter the Villages, continue on the Villages Parkway to Fairway Drive
• The Vineyard Center is at this intersection on Fairway Drive
• You can either cross the street into the parking lot, or park on the street

Mag 7 and -26.74 Packer

Posted in Anouncements, Blog


Results: Matching Funds For Lick – Sandy Faber Talk

Dear All,

The Thanks goes to you!

LickLick

Lick received $1582 in donations from Sandy Faber’s Talk

Based on this preliminary number, SJAA will write a check to Lick for at least $3082. We had a few IOUs and we hope to see those funds come in to ensure we max out. So please send to our address below.

From support of our Solar , Quick STARTt and Advance Loaner program, Library and now the support the Lick Observatory, SJAA is freakin’ proud to be apart of this community.

Check out this page in a week or bit more for final update. Thanks again all and thank you Sandy.

Clear Skies,

San Jose Astronomical Association

San Jose Astronomical Association
PO Box 28243
San Jose, CA 95159-8243

(ps Bob Fles please send your email ATTN membership to sjaa.mail@gmail.com)

Posted in Anouncements, Articles, Blog, General Meeting, Programs


Astronomy Day at MKL Library

Observe The Sun Safely! Never look at the Sun without a proper filter!
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting.
Astronomy Day A Visual Rock Concert!
CLICK ANY PIC IN THIS BLOG TO ENLARGE
1-2014-AstroDayWith A Sunspot number of 123 (NOAA) and several active regions, notably AR2055, 2056 and 2057, El Sol was a plasma rock on a roll during National Astronomy Day 2014.
2014-05-10Wh9 SunSpotcloseup 2014-05-10-3860Ha9
Photo credit Robert Duvall – Thanks Robert!
Click the May 10th Sun images above to enlarge. The H-Alpha Flares – solar prominences – were also putting on a great show. All in all we shared astronomy with about 75 patrons of the library and SJSU Campus.

Enjoy the below pics and much thanks to MLK Library support from Ashour Benjamin, Reed Duong, and Deborah Estreicher. You guys Rocked! And to SJAA Volunteers Marion Barker, Paul Colby, Terry Kahl, Kevin Lahey, Bill ONeil, Michael Packer, and Teruo Utsumi – you all jammed!

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Posted in Articles, Blog, Programs, Solar


My Favorite Things, Vol. 1.3 – Trek/There’s More

Star Trek

It’s amazing what this 60s TV show did. It lit up the imagination of the public and inspired the generations since to pursue science and engineering. NASA recently presented an award to William Shatner. He narrated this short Space Shuttle history video.

 

Electromagnetic Spectrum Blindness

Sometimes there’s more than “What you see is what you get.”

For the past 400 years we’ve had great improvements in telescopes. Just a look at a few images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope will convince anybody that’s true. And with that you might not even think to ask: “Is there’s more?”

Imagine being colorblind and able to see only green. You’d be able to read this blog (unless someone was really mean and set your computer to display any color but green), drive a car, and do any number of other things, but still…. Then if you gained full vision, you couldn’t help but see all the things you couldn’t perceive before.

Until the advent of electronics in recent decades, we were in a manner of speaking electromagnetic (EM) spectrum blind — we could see what’s in the sky through only a tiny part of the EM spectrum. Notice in the diagram below how narrow the range of visible light is compared to the entire spectrum and how much the atmosphere blocks.

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[source: Wikipedia]

We’ve had radio telescopes for decades and in just the last 10 to 20 years we’ve started to get good images in the infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma-ray. In other words we can “see” just about everything else now. Now try to imagine the excitement astronomers experienced as they were first able to observe in each of these new EM regions.

Different EM regions give different clues. Like any good detective (Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, anyone?), astronomers are putting these different clues together.

One nice example of this is shown in a recent S&T article about a specific supernova. The first frame shows radio, then infrared, then visible, then X-ray, and finally all four. (Obviously, except for visible, the images are shown in a false color since we can’t directly see them.) Each shows the same region of space but different aspects of the supernova. Read the article for details.

This type of multispectral imaging has become more prevalent over the past several years, and this trend will only continue to grow.

So what happens now that we’ve been cured of EMSB? (What an acronym!) Does this mean there are no other means to observe the universe? I’ll let you think about it until next month. You’ll see!

Till next time, Clear Skies!

Posted in Articles, My Favorite Things