VBAS Calendar

February 2016
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

APOD
Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD
  • APOD Place Holder

    A new and exciting APOD will appear here today at 11:00 am Eastern Time (USA) after the LIGO press conference in Washington, DC has begun. A new and exciting APOD will appear here today at 11:00 am Eastern Time (USA) after the LIGO press conference in Washington, DC has begun.


Monte Sano State Park

Banner

Von Braun Astronomical Society

February 2016 Planetarium Shows

We Host a Public Planetarium Show Every Saturday that Begins at 7:30 PM

Mercury from MESSENGER's Wide Angle Camera/NASAMercury - Saturdays, February 6 & 13

Known since ancient times, Mercury is the smallest planet and closest to the sun. We will study its history, surface, days/nights, and years. we will also try to pick out a good location for an astronaut vacation home. Mercury is currently visible just before dawn in the eastern sky along with Venus (Pluto lines up near Mercury if you know where to point your telescope). Presented by Tom Burleson, VBAS Director of Planning and Research.

Winter Skies - Saturday, February 20

Join our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, for an evening learning about the winter constellations, stars, and some of the cool deep sky objects you can see with a telescope.

The Earth and the Moon - Saturday, February 27

Earth & Moon Mosaic by Galileo Spacecraft/NASA/JPL/USGS

February 27th is the Saturday we will focus on Earth and Luna. Please join us and we believe you will learn at least one thing you didn't know about our home in the universe. This program will include several activities for children, so please bring the whole family! Presented by Gena Crook, VBAS Director of Education and Programs and Cole Buford, VBAS Student Director.

If our skies are clear, you are invited to stay and observe the sky through our C-16 telescope, located on the roof. You will need to dress warmly for this, so please bundle up and bring your hat and gloves! Come and join us for the fun! We hope to see you there.

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

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

Horsehead Nebula by Don Reed/VBASThe next VBAS Monthly Meeting will occur Friday, February 19 at 7:30 PM.

Apennine Mountains on the Moon by Frank Schenck/VBAS

Join us for free pizza at 7:00 PM.

Have you ever thought about trying your hand at astrophotography? There is a wide variety of photographic technology that is available to amateur astronomers. Join us at the next VBAS Monthly Meeting to hear from two members of the VBAS astrophotography team. Frank Schenck and Don Reed will show us some of the photographs that they have taken over the last year. Don will tell us about the equipment that you could use to get started in astrophotography. Frank will share some of his photoprocessing techniques that are used to produce his images. If the weather and equipment permit, Don may be able to set up a telescope after the talk and demonstrate how to capture images.

Thank you,

Steve Patrick

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

   

M51 The "Whirlpool" Galaxy

Written by Administrator

This is one of the latest images we have taken with the Sims SBIG camera. It is of M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici, just off the last star in the tail of the Big Dipper. The image was taken on April 12, 2013 through our 6 inch Astrophysics StarFire apochromatic refractor on an Orion Atlas mount and was made by stacking multiple exposures taken through different filters in order to achieve the color image.  The smaller object (at the bottom of M51, in this picture) is its companion galaxy, NGC 5195. Jeff Delmas, Frank Schenck, Jared Cassidy, and Doug Horacek were the observing crew that acquired the image.

M51 Color image with 6 inch StarFire Refractor

 

First Light of the Richard Sims SBIG Camera

Written by Administrator Saturday, 23 June 2012 12:33

The night of June 22, 2012, brought "first light" to our new digital astronomical camera, which was made possible, thanks in part, from a donation by Terri Sims in memory of her husband Richard Sims.  Our new camera is a SBIG model STF-8300M, with St-i Autoguider/Planetary Camera, and FW8 Filter Wheel.  This is a monochrome camera, which uses filters and multiple images stacked together to achieve a color image, this allows all available pixels to be used for making the image and provides better resolution than single-shot color cameras.  M57 The Ring Nebula located in the constellation Lyra

Our plan is to use this on the Swanson 21 inch telescope and other society scopes to show the wonders of the universe to the public and make contributions in astronomical research.

Read more...

   
joomla template
Banner