VBAS Calendar

August 2017
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

APOD
Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD

Monte Sano State Park

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Von Braun Astronomical Society

August 2017 Planetarium Shows

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

Are You Ready for the Great 2017 Eclipse? - Saturdays, August 5, 12, & 19 at 7:30 PM

Total Solar Eclipse/NASA

On August 21, 2017, there will be a solar eclipse visible across most of the continental United States. Schools in the past have kept students indoors to avoid the possibility of the them looking at the sun. VBAS wants to encourage the schools and the public to get out and experience this wonder.

The purpose of this presentation is to prepare everyone. Presented by Brenda Rogers (Aug. 5),  Tom Burleson, VBAS President (Aug. 12), and Roy Young, VBAS Planetarium Director (Aug. 19) and will answer the following questions:

How to safely view the eclipse? Why eclipses occur? Where will the shadow fall? What could the weather be like? What will the eclipse be like in Huntsville?

This presentation will not be a dry lecture format but will include audience participation in explaining many parts of the eclipse. Plus the presenter will share some fun ways to view the eclipse.

During this year, VBAS will be offering this presentation to local schools as a teacher workshop.

Saturn - Saturday, August 26 at 7:30 PM

Saturn, the second largest planet, the sixth planet from the Sun, known for its beautiful rings. This huge planet, (you could fit over 700 Earths inside of it), is less dense than water, and theoretically it could float on water. While even small telescopes today will show Saturn's beautiful ring system, Galileo was not able to see that Saturn had rings, he thought it had two large moons. Saturn/VBAS F. Schenck

This presentation will be about the history of Saturn observations, what we know about Saturn now, and what to look for when you see it in a telescope.

If you never have seen Saturn in a telescope, we will have VBAS telescopes ready to show you Saturn after every Saturday night planetarium show as long as Saturn is still visible next few weeks. Presented by Frank Schenck, VBAS Director of Facilities & Equipment.

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

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting is Friday, August 11 at 7:30 PM. Join us for pizza at 7:00 PM. **Please note that this is the second Friday and not the usual third Friday of the month. Due to the numerous activities many of our members are undertaking for the total solar eclipse on August 21, it was decided to move the meeting. ***Swanson Observatory Construction

The August program is about the History of VBAS and will be presented by Gena Crook.

Gena Crook is preparing a "History of the Von Braun Astronomical Society." This history will be presented to the Sky and Telescope eclipse tour group that is coming to visit on August 16th. At the VBAS monthly society meeting on August 11th, Gena will do a trial run of the presentation. She requests that members offer constructive criticism, historical fact corrections, suggestions for improvement, etc.

Don Reed

Vice-President

 

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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