LVAS is a proud member of the NASA/JPL Night Sky Network.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

It is with much sadness that we must announce that Robert (Bob) Davidson, a long time member of the LVAS passed on Saturday, 23 January after a rather long battle with Cancer.  Bob was one of the founding members of the LVAS and a past Preisdent.  After many years of active service to the LVAS, Bob stepped back to allow younger folks to take the reins and continue LVAS's promotion of Astronomy in the Las Vegas area.  Astronomy was Bob's first love, but he was also an avid Amateur radio operator - NV7NV - now a Silent Key.  Bob often attended our monthly meetings and would often make our Cathedral Gorge Star Parties where he hung out with Val Picot and Rick Brashears.  We'll miss Bob.  We'll try to provide an update on memorial services as the arrangements become available. 

 

The Next LVAS Monthly Meeting!
Thursday, 4 February, 7:30pm.
Join us in the CSN Planetarium
on the Cheyenne Campus at
3200 East Cheyenne Ave in North Las Vegas
Click here for map.
February's Topic
"The PACA Project: Slooh 67P Campaign
The Importance of Amateur Observations"

President's Note - January

LVAS Stargazers:

Happy New Years and welcome to the Las Vegas Astronomical Society. My name is Greg McKay and I'm proud and humbled to be taking over as president for 2016-17. I'm excited for what the new year brings and look forward to meeting and working with everyone.  We have lots in store for the upcoming year beginning with our first meeting of the year, January 7th at 7:30pm.  We also have our first Astronomy in the Park event on Saturday, January 9th. 

My personal belief is that educating the public, children and adults, on the subject of the night sky should be our #1 priority. I’m very proud of the work the club has done with the public park events and especially the private school events. My plan is to attend EVERY one of these events that my job allows me to be there. Unfortunately, my work has me on the road a bit so I will not be able to attend every event but if I’m home I will be there. Not to single out just one person but I do want to recognize the work that Steve Bock has done to organize the educational events and I’m incredibly pleased to see that he will continue in that role.

While I’m not a professional astronomer I do consider myself an avid amateur. A little bit about myself, my adventure into this field began at about the age of 11 or 12 when helping my dad clean out our attic I found a very old 2” refractor telescope. Apparently it had belonged to my older brother years earlier and had been relegated to the attic I’m sure after many attempts to get any kind of useful image from it. Several nights of looking at the moon soon lead to boredom when one night I “discovered” Jupiter and Saturn. That first sighting of Saturn in this cheap little discarded telescope and I was hooked for life. Fast forward a few years and I’ve saved up enough lawn mowing money to buy a larger, slightly better 3” refractor. At least this one had an equatorial mount. A few years later and I made a serious upgrade to an 8” Celestron C8 and 5” Comet Catcher just in time for the return of Halley’s Comet. I managed to grab one decent image of the great comet but the combination of the C8 piggybacking the C.C. was just too much for the mount so the Comet Catcher scope was shelved for many years. Over the years the C8 was a great scope that helped me witness many great events including crash of Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter. Fast forward another bunch of years, yeah, that’s the technical term for it, and I sold the C8 for a Meade 12” SCT, my current main scope. The Comet Catcher remained shelved. Throughout this time period from Halley’s comet up until just a few years ago my interest in astrophotography had waned, mainly because of the difficulty. I just wanted to enjoy the night sky and anyone that’s done prime focus astrophotography knows that up until very recently it was a real pain. Off-Axis guiders, hypered films, freezing fingers…blah!

My interest in astrophotography was rekindled a few years ago with the purchase of the Canon 5D Mark II but I kept it simple with unguided star trails or piggybacked photography and then in March of 2013 C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) made an appearance and I decided to dive back into serious astrophotography, restoring the Comet Catcher and getting a new tracking mount for it.

So that’s where I’m at at this time and I plan on expanding my knowledge with this great bunch of guys and gals into the new year. Here’s wishing clear skies to everyone and as Jack Horkheimer used to say, “Keep Looking Up!”

Greg

President, LVAS

Society Meetings

Monthly LVAS meetings are normally held on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Planetarium at the College of Southern Nevada, Cheyenne Campus - 3200 East Cheyenne (See Map). Following a short welcome and business session, a presentation on an Astronomy topic of interest is normally presented by an LVAS member or special guest. Occasionally, the program is the Planetarium presentation of the month.  

CSN Planetarium Provides Family Activity

CSN Planetarium Banner

Needing an alternative weekend family activity? The CSN Planetarium provides three shows suitable for families:

Through February 27th

6:00 PM Fri and Sat Evenings
and 3:30 Sat afternoons
   Mystery of the Missing Seasons 
7:00 PM Fri and Sat Evenings Tales of the Maya Skies
8:00 PM Fri and Sat Evenings From the Earth to the Universe

Seasaonal Stargazing follows each feature show and viewing the night sky through the Planetarium's telescopes follows the 8:00 PM show.

Check out the new DigiStar 5 Projectors with 4 times the brightness and resolution of the previous projector system. Come see the interesting shows and the life-like presentation of the night sky. Immediately following the 8:00PM shows, guests are invited to view the planets and other celestial objects through the Planetarium's telescopes in the Observatory compound. See the rings of Saturn through the CSN 16-inch compound and 6-inch refractor telescopes.  All tickets are $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for Seniors, Students, and children. Discounts are also available for multiple shows and groups. For more information about the CSN Planetarium, click on the Planetarium banner above.

 

Green Laser Safety Reminder!

This is a reminder to LVAS members that own and use green lasers to be extremely safety conscious when the lasers are being used.  In the light of recent incidents of pranksters painting aircraft and other moving vehicles with green lasers, it is imperative for members of the Astronomical Community to exercise extreme caution and good judgement when using green lasers to point out celestial objects.  Users should always be conscious of aircraft activity and when possible, use a spotter (another watching person) so that an aircraft is not accidently painted by a green laser.  Anytime an aircraft, regardless of the distance from the observing location, is spotted moving toward an area of the sky where a laser is being used, the laser must be turned off or moved away from the aircraft until the aircraft departs that area of the sky. Astronomers using green lasers to guide their scopes to celestial objects should be especially careful to not leave the laser turned on while obsserving.  At no time should an Astronomer surrender control of a green laser to anyone other than another Astronomer, especially not to children who may not understand the consequences of improperly using a laser. Remember - it is now a Federal Offense to paint an aircraft, any moving vehicle, or a person with a laser of any type - punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Need Some Help with Your Scope?

Do you have a new telescope or one that hasn't been dusted off in quite a while and need some help using it?  If you can't make it to our next "Astronomy in the Park", give me a call and let's arrange a time to get you a little help. I'm typically available before and after our monthly meetings on the 1st Thursday of each month and before each of our "Astronomy in the Park" outings, but I'm willing to come to you to get you up and operating. I just need some prior notice to arrange a time to meet you.  Give me a call at 702-461-1390 or send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tonight's Moon

   

 

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