VBAS Calendar

January 2018
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28 29 30 31 1 2 3

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Von Braun Astronomical Society

January 2018 Planetarium Shows

Written by Administrator

We Host a Public Planetarium Show Every Saturday in the Wernher von Braun Planetarium that Begins at 7:30 PM

Pioneer and Voyager - Saturdays, January 6, 13, & 27  at 7:30 PM

Voyager 1 and 2 achieved 40 years of operation and exploration this August and September, 2017. Despite their vast distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily. This month VBAS kicks off our 2018 show schedule with an in-depth look at the Pioneer and Voyager programs that started man's journey to the outer solar system and beyond. Join VBAS as we look at the wonderful discoveries made by these early missions and how they laid the foundation for the success of the recent Juno and New Horizons missions. Our shows start promptly at 7:30, come early to get a good seat and enjoy the pre-show collage of the wonderful images taken by our VBAS imaging team and other observatories. Presented by Don Reed, VBAS Vice-President on January 6 & 13 and by Gen Crook, VBAS Director of Education and Programs on January 27.

 

Winter Skies - Saturday, January 20 at 7:30 PM 

The winter sky is full of some the brightest stars in the night sky and some well known constellations. Join Brenda Rogers, veteran VBAS presenter, for a warm look at the chilly winter sky.

Remember that if weather permits, there will be telescopes open for viewing.

If you have your own telescope, feel free to set it up after the show. If you need some assistance with setting up or operation your telescope, our ever helpful observing crew will try to help you  so that you can better enjoy the night sky.

Admission for Saturday Planetarium Shows:

Admission is $5 for Adults, $3 for Students, and free for children under 6, as well as VBAS members. Weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to look at some of the wonders of the universe through our telescopes following the planetarium program with the help of our experienced and knowledgeable observing crew.

For information about our Planetarium shows, as well as special group scheduling, and pricing, please contact our Planetarium Director, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or our Director of Education and Programs,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Monthly Society Meeting

Written by Administrator

Next VBAS Monthly Meeting is Friday, January 19 at 7:30 PM. Pizza at 7:00 PM.

***Please note that our program for January has been revised for this opportunity to have Dr. Preece speak at VBAS.

Dr. Rob Preece, Associate Professor of Astrophysics of the Dept. of Space Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, will talk about the very recent exciting result of the joint observation of gravitational waves (by LIGO/Virgo) and a short gamma-ray burst by our instrument (Fermi/GBM), as reported in the press last Oct.16.

Don Reed

Vice-President

Dr. Rob PreeceAssociate Professor Robert Preece is a world-class expert on gamma-ray spectroscopy; as a co-investigator for the Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor on NASA's Fermi Space Telescope, launched on June 11, 2008, he is uncovering the clues that will reveal for the first time the incredibly efficient mechanism that gamma-ray bursts use to harness the immense energies that are visible across half the universe.

He received his B.A. in Math and Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1982, a M.Sc. in Physics from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1990 from the Physics Department of the University of Maryland in College Park. He then moved to Huntsville, Alabama, and joined the BATSE gamma-ray astronomy team at Marshall Space Flight Center as an NRC postdoc. He started at UAH as a researcher in 1993. In 2013, he joined the faculty of the newly-formed Department of Space Science at UAH as a founding member.

 

New Books in the Library

Written by Administrator Sunday, 26 November 2017 20:49

Our Librarians, Jeff Bennett and Amanda Campbell have acquired some new books for the Library. Please click on the Library link in the menu above and check them out.

   

A Brief VBAS History

Written by Al Reisz Sunday, 07 November 2010 20:45

 

In 1954 Huntsville High School student Sam Pruitt wrote a letter asking Dr. von Braun, then at Redstone Arsenal, to build an observatory for school children interested in astronomy. Von Braun didn’t hesitate in organizing his colleagues, students and others in the community to build our observatory on Monte Sano. Von Braun was our society’s first president [then known as the Rocket City Astronomical Association (RCAA)]. After his death we re-named our society in his honor. VBAS is an astronomical society for amateur and professional astronomers. VBAS is a special astronomical society in that our origins began with the citizens who fervently believed in space exploration before it began. In the early 1960s NASA scientists used the telescopes at VBAS to help select lunar landing sites for the Apollo program. VBAS history is storied with space exploration pioneers such as Oberth, von Braun, Stuhlinger, Swanson and Angele. Many of our members were involved in developing the Saturn V, the rocket that sent the Apollo astronauts to walk on and explore the Moon. Our planetarium has a shield of the Saturn V third stage fuel tank top half serving as our projection dome. VBAS is a society that provides the public with opportunities for telescopic viewing of the night sky. We have astronomy programs, star parties and astronomy related special events. Still true to our beginnings we continue to give presentations in astronomy and star tours to student and other groups. We welcome those of you with interests in exploring the stars to join us.

26 June 57 The Rocket City Astronomical Association (now the Von Braun Astronomical Society) put out the first edition of the locally edited Space Journal, a new magazine dealing with space travel and the astrosciences. The first issue was dedicated to Dr. Hermann Oberth, who is known as the

26 June 57 The Rocket City Astronomical Association (now the Von Braun Astronomical Society) put out the first edition of the locally edited Space Journal, a new magazine dealing with space travel and the astrosciences. The first issue was dedicated to Dr. Hermann Oberth, who is known as the "father of astronautics." Left to right: Dr. Hermann Oberth, Dr. Wernher von Braun, RCAA (VBAS) President, and Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger.

VBAS is the second observatory that Wernher von Braun was instrumental in building. As a student at the Lietz boys high school that he attended in Berlin, at the school’s North Sea campus on the island Spiekeroog, he influenced the school to buy a telescope and build a small observatory in 1927. He selected a reflector with a 95-mm objective lens.

Al Reisz,

Past-President

   
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