I am the current President of the PAS.
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.