VBAS Calendar

April 2018
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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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VBAS Sponsors

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Von Braun Astronomical Society

Monthly Society Meeting

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting is SATURDAY, April 21 at 1:00 PM.

This month's regular meeting has been moved from the usual third Friday to the third Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM and will run until dark. This will be a "swap shop" type event, where members may sell some astronomical gear they are no longer using and, as such, there will not be a traditional program this month. VBAS has been doing a little spring cleaning of the telescope storage room and has a number of small scopes and a few larger scopes that will be sold at some very good prices. Some of the VBAS scopes that will be sold were donated to us but are not really good fits for our outreach or after-show observing efforts. The "swap shop" event will be conducted on the observing field and is weather dependent. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to the next Saturday, and so on if that day is rainy as well. The event is open to all VBAS members and the general public, though there will be a small fee for non-members wishing to sell equipment.

Please note that all sales are private-party sales between individuals and VBAS assumes no liability for any equipment or transactions between individuals. All VBAS items are sold "as-is" without any warranty. VBAS credit card processing will only be available for equipment being sold by VBAS. Sale terms between individuals should generally be considered cash, so bring plenty :)

If you would like to set up and sell some of your astronomy related equipment, whether you are a VBAS member or not, please contact me via email for more details.

Don Reed

Vice-President

 

April 2018 Planetarium Shows

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

Apennine Mountains/ Frank Schenck/VBASLunar Missions - Saturdays, April 7, 14, & 28 at 7:30 PM

On Sept. 5, 1959, a space probe launched by the Soviet Union sent back information prior to impacting the surface of the Moon. A month later, another Soviet space probe sent back the first pictures of the far side of the Moon. After that the Soviet Union and NASA launched over 60 robotic space probes to study the Moon, prior to the Apollo program which first landed humans on the Moon in 1969. Join us at the VBAS planetarium to learn about the Moon, and how we had and are continuing to study it with space craft. Presented by Frank Schenck, VBAS Director of Facilities and Equipment.

Hubble Space Telescope - Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 PM Hubble Space Telescope/NASA

It seems that almost every week brings news of discoveries made with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble may be the hardest working orbiting telescope of all time. Come explore the far reaches of the universe with us as we see it through Hubble’s ‘window'. Presented by veteran VBAS presenter, Beth Bero.

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 .

 

Messier Marathon - May 11

On Friday, May 11, our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, has planned a Messier Marathon on the VBAS observing field. This a fun event with focus on trying to locate as many of the objects in Charles Messier's famous catalog of 110 deep sky objects. The Messier objects are among the brightest deep sky objects, so even with a meager telescope one has a decent chance of spotting many of the objects. This is also a great opportunity to get to look through many different telescopes. Set up of telescopes will start around 6:00 PM with observing to follow once it begins to get dark and then after the meeting.

The immediate backup day for clouds/rain is May 12.

   

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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