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Astronomy Day 2024

Von Braun Astronomical Society will celebrate Astronomy Day on September 21st in person at Monte Sano State Park! Beginning at 1:00 p.m., events will include: solar viewing, mini-planetarium shows, rockets, vacuum-chamber demonstrations of what it’s like in space, and several other fun STEAM activities.

Astronomy Day is FREE and open to the public!

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Planetarium Shows

July 2024 Planetarium Shows

All planetarium shows begin at 7:30pm.

Admission opens at 7:00pm; $5/adult, $3/student, 6 and under free.

Telescope viewing afterwards on clear nights.


July 6 – Summer Skies

Traveling across the summer sky can be just as much fun as a summer trip! Join retired educator Beth Bero in this family-friendly adventure in the night sky. We will explore summer constellations, legends, motions of the night sky and current sky events.

Presented by Beth Bero

July 13 – Webb Space Telescope: The Journey So Far

Launched in December 2021, James Webb Space Telescope has revealed many unprecedented details of the universe during its initial two years of operation. Webb’s first images were released on July 12, 2022. Join us in a journey through space and time as we celebrate the anniversary of the first images. We will look at some of the recent images taken by JWST and learn what new things these images teach us about the cosmos.

Presented by Naveen Vetcha

July 20 – Why is Lunar Science ‘Going South’?

Why does everyone want to go to the moon’s south pole? What’s wrong with the moon’s equator or mid latitudes? Is it cold at the lunar pole? Will there be polar bears? Lunarians? Will they bring penguins for company? Isn’t it more difficult to get to the lunar pole than equator? And what’s wrong with the moon’s north pole? Are the people making these decisions lunatics? Why do scientists ask so many questions?
Don’t you want to come to the show and find out?

Presented by Eric Silkowski

July 27 – Summer Skies

What are we watching in the night sky this summer? I’m sure you have seen the Big Dipper and Orion, but have you successfully identified any other star patterns? We can help. We’ll be in the planetarium at 7:30 with a cool star projector and a dome shaped ceiling ready to point out summer constellations, tell stories, and just generally have fun looking at tiny points of light. Doors open at 7:00.

Presented by Gena Crook
Categories
Planetarium Shows

June 2024 Planetarium Shows

All planetarium shows begin at 7:30pm.

Admission opens at 7:00pm; $5/adult, $3/student, 6 and under free.

Telescope viewing afterwards on clear nights.


June 1 – Planetarium Centennial

The concept of a planetarium was started exactly one hundred years ago! We will explore a short history of planetariums through history and make predictions about the planetarium of the future.

Presented by Tom Burleson

June 8 and June 22 – Life in the Universe

One of the questions which humans have been asking for centuries is, “Are we alone in the universe?” This Saturday we will explore the types of life we might expect to find on other bodies in our solar system. During our presentation you might also learn some surprising facts about creatures here on Earth that are new to you! I hope you will join us.

Presented by Gena Crook

June 15 – Why is Lunar Science ‘Going South’?

Why does everyone want to go to the moon’s south pole?
What’s wrong with the moon’s equator or mid latitudes?
Is it cold at the lunar pole?
Will there be polar bears? Lunarians?
Will they bring penguins for company?
Isn’t it more difficult to get to the lunar pole than equator?
And what’s wrong with the moon’s north pole?
Are the people making these decisions lunatics?
Why do scientists ask so many questions?
Don’t you want to come to the show and find out?

Presented by Erik Silkowski

June 29 – Huntsville’s Place in Space

As we prepare to go back to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years, the importance that Huntsville

played both back then and right now is something to remember. Join VBAS President Michael Buford for a
look through the history of Huntsville’s amazing contributions in aviation, its massive importance during the
Space Race, and Huntsville’s place in space now and in the future!

Presented by Michael Buford
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Uncategorized

Swap Meet – May 17

Come to the Swap Meet on Friday, May 17, 2024

Free Pizza & conversation at 7:00 pm. Meeting, including annual Elections, at 7:30 pm. The May Monthly meeting at our planetarium on Monte Sano will feature a chance for you to bring, swap, sell and buy gently used astronomy equipment and books. Contact Joe Kutner if you have any questions at vicepresident@vbas.org

Each Third Friday of the Month meeting starts with FREE pizza at 7:00, followed by the meeting at 7:30. In May we will have our annual board elections as well as the swap meet. Hope to see you there!

Categories
Uncategorized

International Astronomy Day – May 18 2024

VBAS volunteers will be at the GigaParts Technology Superstore, 6123 University Dr, Huntsville on Saturday May 18 to provide advice and outreach from 9:30am on International Astronomy Day!

Telescope Clinic 10:00am -1:00pm.

Bring that telescope you just can’t get to work, or think you might have broken and we’ll take a look!

 

Eclipse Show and Tell 4:00pm-6:00pm.  Sign up to share your images and stories – even if you got clouded out!

 

Presentations to attend from Choosing your First Telescope to Stargazing with Binoculars and Getting Started in Astrophotography!

Learn about Light Pollution and what you can do about it with volunteers from Starry Skies South.

 

 

GigaParts has a large range of telescopes, binoculars, eyepieces, books and more to browse as well as plenty of other fun technology. And a snack bar!

Everyone welcome. Bring your friends to introduce them to your favorite hobby!  See you there.

Categories
Planetarium Shows

May 2024 Planetarium Shows

All planetarium shows begin at 7:30pm.

Admission opens at 7:00pm; $5/adult, $3/student, 6 and under free.

Telescope viewing afterwards on clear nights.


May 4 – In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

On Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!), let’s explore some of the real destinations in our universe that resemble key locations in the Star Wars films. Light Sabers allowed, attendance in costume
encouraged!

Presented by Alex Hall

May 11 – Planetarium Centennial

The concept of a planetarium was started exactly one hundred years ago! We will explore a short history of planetariums through history and make predictions about the planetarium of the future.

Presented by Tom Burleson

May 18 – The Real Death Star: Neutron Stars… with a helping of Nuclear Pasta

George Lucas gave us the fictional Death Star, but did you know the universe is full of real death stars? Neutron Stars, remnants of supernovas, are the real thing. They can produce beams of energy sweeping through space that can sterilize an entire planet. When first discovered as pulsars they were even thought to be aliens! Join us as we explore these extreme stars where ordinary matter is crushed into a very unappetizing dish called “Nuclear Pasta.”

Presented by Eric Silkowski

May 25 – Hubble and the Space Telescope

One hundred years ago this year, Edwin Hubble discovered distant galaxies outside our Milky Way.

Thirty-four years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched to begin a spectacular job informing us about the cosmos, including distant galaxies.

Presented by Beth Bero
Categories
Observatory

Spring Star Party this Friday

Our traditional Spring star party, often called a Messier Marathon, is this Friday 4/12.  Gates will open at 6:00pm, sunset is at 7:17pm.  Bring your scope to set up in the field. If you don’t have a scope, please come up to take a look through one of the society’s or other members’ scopes. We’ll keep the observing field open as long as you want to stay in the effort to pursue your observing goals. Save the date and make your plans now to join us on the evening of April 12th for a night of observing!

Categories
Observatory

Partial Eclipse Viewing at VBAS

Image from 2023 partial eclipse. Credit Jeff Delmas.

When: April 8th at 12:00pm, noon.
Where: VBAS. Our observing field is just outside of the facility.
Why: VBAS will have safe solar viewing equipment set up in the field for the public.

Remember: do not look directly at the sun, even during a partial eclipse! Sunglasses alone will not protect your eyes!

Staying in Huntsville during the April 8th solar eclipse? Join us at the VBAS observing field to safely observe the partial solar eclipse! At VBAS’s location the eclipse will begin shortly after noon, and reach peak occlusion at 2:00pm. The eclipse will reach roughly 90%, but not totality.

Image of 2023 annular eclipse from Garner State Park in Texas. Credit Mitzi Adams.
Categories
Planetarium Shows

April 2024 Planetarium Shows

All planetarium shows begin at 7:30pm.

Admission opens at 7:00pm; $5/adult, $3/student, 6 and under free.

Telescope viewing afterwards on clear nights.


April 6 – The 2024 American Eclipse

On April 8 the US will be treated to the awesome spectacle of a total solar eclipse. Come learn how and where to safely experience this special solar event.

Presented by Michael Buford

April 13 – The Magic Carpet

We can use the star projector in the planetarium to pretend to fly anywhere on Earth – like a magic carpet! Gena Crook will demonstrate the motion of the stars across the sky at the equator, the north pole, and the southern hemisphere. We will also watch how the sun changes positions at these locations. You may be surprised if you haven’t actually been to the equator or the north pole in person! This program will put the star projector to work and allow us to see its unique educational capabilities.

Presented by Gena Crook

April 20 – Edwin Hubble: 100 years since resolving the Great Galaxy Debate

In 1924 Edwin Hubble published an astonishing report—by finding a Cephid Variable star in the Andromeda Nebula, he found that it was an ‘Island Universe’ like our own Milky Way—the first proof that our galaxy was not alone in the Universe ! Come learn about that event and more to commemorate this centennial.

Presented by Beth Bero

April 27 – Hubble Space Telescope

Now that we know who Edwin Hubble was, we will turn our attention to the amazing space telescope that bears his name. Like its namesake, for over 30 years the Hubble Space Telescope has helped reshape our understanding of the universe.

Presented by Beth Bero
Categories
Planetarium Shows

March 2024 Planetarium Shows

All planetarium shows begin at 7:30pm.

Admission opens at 7:00pm; $5/adult, $3/student, 6 and under free.

Telescope viewing afterwards on clear nights.


March 2 – Sounds of Space

There’s no sound in space…right? While sound as we know it may not propagate through a true vacuum, these sound waves have many ways to be interpreted both for scientific and artistic purposes.

Join us to learn more about both near Earth and deep space oddities and discoveries!

Presented by Michael Buford

March 9 – The MOON Show!

The Moon is unusually large for a small planet like Earth. How might its origin may have been different from the other 289 known moons in our solar system ? We will explore the interesting lunar features, visible even in a small telescope and how they formed.

Presented by Frank Schenck

March 16 – Spring Skies

Our place in space at this time of year allows us a view into the deepest parts of the Universe to see many treasures. Amateur astronomers plan marathons in Spring to try to observe as many as possible! We will explore the spring constellations and some of the “treasures” that you can discover.

Presented by Alex Hall

March 23 – Planetarium Centennial

Since the beginning of time, humans have been fascinated by the starry sky and the secrets of the universe and devised many artistic and mechanical wonders to try to bring it down to Earth. In October 1923 the first ‘modern’ planetarium projector was unveiled in Jena, Germany and the first planetarium opened to the public on May 7, 1925 in Munich. Today, planetariums inform and inspire, stimulating the imagination like no other venue can. In this 100th year of the planetarium, learn about our quest to represent the sky!

Presented by Tom Burleson


March 30 – American Eclipse

On April 8 the US will be treated to the awesome spectacle of a total solar eclipse. Come learn how and where to safely experience this special solar event.

Presented by Mitzi Adams