VBAS Calendar

August 2015
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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 2015 Planetarium Shows

Our Public Planetarium Shows Begin at 7:30 PM

True Color Image of Pluto - Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRINew Horizons at Pluto- Saturdays, August 1, 8, 22, & 29 at 7:30 PM

Planet or dwarf planet, does it really matter? Pluto has long been considered an oddball planet since its discovery, but over the decades we’ve learned much about what it is and what it isn’t. During the month of August, James Brelsford will be exploring observations made by the New Horizons spacecraft’s July 14 flyby of Pluto. Come hear of new discoveries from a place in our own solar system that the awesome Hubble Space Telescope can only barely resolve.

Shadow Play (Eclipses) - Saturday, August 15 at 7:30 PM

What causes eclipses and why? How often do eclipses happen and when is the next eclipse of the Moon or the Sun? You'll learn the answers to these questions as we investigate those rare occasions when the Moon, Earth and the Sun are all lined up just right. Presented by Gena Crook, VBAS Director of Education and Programs.

See you there!

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.

 

Monthly Society Meeting

Written by Administrator

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting will occur Friday, September 18 at 7:30 PM. Pizza at 7:00 PM

Please check back for the updates.

Steve Patrick

Vice-President

 

Youth and Adult Observing Session - Sept.4

Written by Administrator

VBAS will host a Youth and Adult Observing Session on September  at 7:30 PM. Our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, will present a planetarium program on "Eclipses" and following the program will lead an observing session for all those attending (weather permitting). This is a free event.

   

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

 

Youth and Adult Observing Session - October 2

VBAS will host a Youth and Adult Observing Session on October 2 at 7:30 PM. Our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, will present a planetarium program entitled "Soap Opera in the Sky" and following the program will lead an observing session for all those attending (weather permitting). This is a free event.

   

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.

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