VBAS Calendar

June 2018
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Astronomy Picture of the Day
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Von Braun Astronomical Society

June 2018 Planetarium Shows

We Host a Public Planetarium Show Every Saturday in the Wernher von Braun Planetarium that Begins at 7:30 PM

Chasing New HorizonsPluto on the Horizon - Saturdays, June 2, 9, & 23 at 7:30 PM

A book was published just last month, "Chasing New Horizons," by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon. VBAS Director of Education and Programs, Gena Crook will do a review of this exciting story about how the New Horizons mission to Pluto came to be. We'll also talk about the latest news and images being processed from this mission to the farthest reaches of our solar system.

Constellations for Every Season - Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 PM 

Back by popular demand! The VBAS Stellar Instructors prepared this planetarium program and presented it last year. It was such a hit that they will be doing an encore performance. Four of VBAS' active young people will teach you what they know about their favorite constellations visible throughout a whole year as the Earth orbits the Sun.

NASA - Martian/ Credit: GizmodoThe Science of "The Martian" - Saturday, June 30 at 7:30 PM 

The bestselling book and blockbuster film "The Martian" takes the work of NASA and others have done exploring Mars and extends it into fiction set in the 2030s, when NASA astronauts are regularly traveling to Mars and living on the surface. NASA has collaborated on this film with 20th Century Fox Entertainment, providing guidance on production design and technical consultants, including Dr. Jim Green, Director of NASA's Planetary Science Division. This talk will cover experiences of NASA advisers to the film and how the science depicted compares to our understanding of conditions on Mars. Presented by VBAS Past-President, Dr. Naveen Vetcha.

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.

For information about our Planetarium shows, as well as special group scheduling, and pricing, please contact our Planetarium Director,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or our Director of Education and Programs,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Monthly Society Meeting

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting is Friday, June 15 at 7:30 PM.

Join us for our next meeting on June 15 at 7:30 PM, pizza at 7:00 PM. This month, Chris Waldrup will present a program on "Astronomical Sketching".  This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to create images of the universe without the expense and rather involved processes of astrophotography.

From Chris:

I started my interest in astronomy in 5th grade in 1984 growing up in Asheville due to a teacher who had a large white equatorially mounted reflector in our room. He gave me two copies of Astronomy magazine to start my interest.  I got a Celestron Cometron CO-60 refractor in 6th grade then Halley’s Comet came in 7th grade. I progressed to a Celestron C-6 reflector in 9th grade then ground an 8 inch mirror the summer between high school and college. This 8 inch scope is still serving me well and this past April I got my dream scope, an Obsession dobsonian. I happened on a 15 inch I couldn’t say no to. I sketch everything I see through the eyepiece and keep detailed records.

Don Reed

Vice-President

 

New Books in the Library

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2018 21:58 Written by Administrator Sunday, 26 November 2017 20:49

Our Librarians, Jeff Bennett and Amanda Campbell have acquired some new books for the Library. Please click on the Library link in the menu above and check them out.

   

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

   
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