As I write this I am just back from the Deep South Spring Scrimmage. The weather this year was...mixed. We know every spring (for the Spring Scrimmage) and every fall (for the Deep South Star Gaze) that we are at the mercy of the weather and that can be quite frustrating for those that look forward to these events primarily for clear, dark nights. Thursday during the day looked quite promising with dark blue skies and comfortable temperatures for planning the night's activities. Solar observing during the day was very good with Helios having a few good sunspots. After dinner some high level cirrus clouds moved in and blocked various parts of the sky during the course of the evening. In spite of this we were able to get some observing in for 4 or 5 hours.
PAS Times submission deadline is the Sunday twelve days before the general meeting.
The June 2017 PAS-Times deadline is Sunday, May 28, 2017.
Please submit all things astronomical to be included in the next edition of PAS Times to the PAS Times Editor,2nd VP Kent Burkle.
Wow! We had a really good turnout for the February PAS meeting — 47 people I think. We have not had numbers like that at a regular PAS meeting in a long, long time. Once we get up to a number like 47 (and higher) there is a certain electricity in the meeting atmosphere which is undeniable. It was nice to experience that again. It ties into our goal of getting numbers like that at each and every meeting.
Join us in Metairie Park Country Day School's Weinmann Auditorium on February 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm as we learn about new frontiers in astrophysics from Dr. Laura Danly, Curator of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Danly will discuss last year's Nobel-Prize-worthy discovery of gravitational waves, the search for the oldest/earliest galaxy, the launch of the next "Hubble," the James Webb Space Telescope, and the search for extra-solar planets.
What was it that Yogi Berra said? "It's like déjávu all over again." Maybe, maybe not. Looking ahead at 2017, we will be looping around the annual calendar track once again. Gas in the car, everything checked out and the pit crew (the PAS officers and all active members) ready to win the race. So what is the race and how do we win it? The race we will be running in this year, like the year before has a simple goal — it is called progress.
Well, here we are at the end of another year. It seems like just yesterday we were beginning 2016 and now we are at it's end. We have been an active club over the past year and not only do I hope we can continue at the same activity level next year, I hope we can expand it. Most of our activity in promoting our club is done thru some kind of outreach event, be it one member giving a program or conducting an observing session for a scout troop or a school classroom or a much larger event like "Astronomy Day" — and we did two of those in 2016.
October was our busy month! (Notice the similarity to how I started this page last month.) October was indeed very busy - Astronomy Day at the Infinity Space Center, several outreach events including one in Lacombe at the Southeast LA National Wildlife Refuges Comples ( "Wild Things"), plus the Deep South Star Gaze that many of our members attended. I think we will get a little breathing room in November, but hopefully we will have some nice clear skies for observing.
Virtually every day it has been raining, but typically clearing a fair amount of the time (in the evening) too. Summer is tough for astronomy what with the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, etc. But opportunity is there and the planets beckon. (Ron Marcella, who runs the Gretna Observatory, has had some great nights with high attendance. For those who have never been, go check it out. It is free and open to the public on Monday and Wednesday evenings when weather conditions permit. The telescope pier has recently been extended making more of the sky accessible to the 16" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
In spite of summer’s challenges, what have you seen lately? I am not talking about the latest summer movies either (although I have seen “The Legend of Tarzan” and liked it very much as it more closely followed the theme of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books than anything that has come before.).
Well, summer seems to be here...hot, sticky and at least a few mosquitoes. Yep, summer seems to be here. What does that mean for amateur astronomy? Fewer days and nights for astronomy outdoors, and when you can set up some equipment, conditions can be less than ideal. So make the best of the opportunities you have and before you know it, fall will be here and conditions will turn in our favor.
By the time the May PAS meeting is called to order I will be somewhere off the east coast probably up near Maine or Nova Scotia on my way across the Atlantic to Ireland. Hopefully on the way over my small chance of seeing the Northern Lights from my window seat on the port side (left) of the jet will yield results. Anyway we are excited about this trip but scheduling was not able to avoid a conflict with the May PAS meeting. John Martinez, our 1stVice-President also has a conflict on May 27th so our meeting will be orchestrated by Kent Birkle, our 2nd Vice-President.
One thing is a certainty...you have to be flexible. In early April the University of New Orleans was going to hold their annual "Einstein Week" (with a lecture given by Joseph Giaime, who is the observatory head at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, LA. He and his team at LIGO recently detected gravitational waves from the collision of a binary pair of black holes a billion light years from Earth. This discovery validates Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and his prediction of such waves. This is a major breakthrough in the field of physics and it opens a new era for astronomy.) However, we had horrible weather at the time this program was going to originally take place. " target="_blank">The lecture has been rescheduled and will now take place on Thursday, April 21st (at 7 pm). The lecture is free and the public is invited.