• NEXT EVENT •
TBA – Star Parties and unique events other than monthly meetings are posted here.
• NEXT MEETING •
March 10, 2021 | Wed | 7P-9P
- ONLINE MEETING via Zoom.
- Details will be emailed to members prior to the meeting. Become a member
The Future Of Amateurs In The Willamette Valley
By Mike Conley
Our very own Mike Conley will present an idea to improve the future of amateur astronomers in the Willamette valley.
“As we all know, each year the cities get more and more crowded with more and more lights; And worse, the cities are getting rid of the old style lights that could be mitigated with a proper rejection filter. The newer LED street lighting renders the old filters much less effective. So for us city dwellers it would be nice to be able to have a place that’s not too far away with decent dark skies and a facility/warming house/restroom. Even better would be an observatory on site with a reasonably capable telescope to promote visual observing, imaging and general public star parties.
To do that we would need to find suitable land and more importantly, sufficient funding to make all of that possible. This may seem to be a daunting task but I’m here to tell you tonight that while I lived in Minnesota I was involved in just this very effort and it enabled the Minnesota Astronomical Society to acquire more than 3 different observing sites to serve both the local amateur astronomers as well as the general public with star parties and special events.”
• PAST MEETINGS •
February 10, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Mineralogical Results From The CheMin X-ray Diffractometer On The Mars Rover Curiosity
By Dave Blake, Exobiology Branch, NASA Ames Research Centger
CheMin, an X-ray Diffractometer on the Mars rover, Curiosity, has
been analyzing the Martian soils and rocks in playa lake sediments of 3.7-billion-year-old Gale Crater. For the first time, it has been able identify and characterize a habitable environment on another planet. The mineralogy of sediments from this locality was used to derive the maximum concentration of CO2 in the early Mars atmosphere, a surprisingly low value that calls into question the current theory that CO2 greenhouse warming was responsible for the warm and wet environment of early Mars. Additionally, CheMin identified the mineral tridymite (indicative of silica-rich volcanism) in mudstones on Mt. Sharp, the central mound of Gale crater. This discovery challenges the paradigm of Mars as a basaltic planet and will usher in a new chapter of comparative terrestrial planetology. CheMin is now systematically sampling and characterizing the sediments of the ancient lake within the crater to document drying out of Mars in Early Hesperian time, when the planet changed from a warmer wetter world to what it is today.
David Blake received his PhD in Mineralogy from the University of Michigan. He came to Ames Research Center as an NRC postdoctoral fellow and became a research scientist in the Exobiology Branch. Currently he is the Principal Investigator of the CheMin instrument on Curiosity.
January 13, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
New Scope! Now What?
by Jim Baumgardt
CONGRATULATIONS! You just received a newly purchased telescope. I will guide you through the steps of getting your scope ready for visual or photographic projects. What accessories will you need that probably didn’t come with the scope? My emphasis will be on the more complex equatorially mounted scopes and how to set up a scope for astrophotography. I will also try to answer your question on this subject.
Jim Baumgardt spent his working career as an Electrical Engineer working in the Silicon Valley area. While working in electronics his interest in astronomy never waned. He spent several years as a docent at Mt. Wilson observatory and as a presenter at public programs in Yosemite National Park. He has built several telescopes, always with an emphasis on astrophotography. He is now retired and spends more time with his astronomy hobby.
NO Meeting In December
We will continue our recent tradition of taking a break from our monthly meetings in December. Happy holidays, as/if it applies, and here’s hoping you can take advantage of the crystal clear viewing nights we have coming up as Winter approaches. Enjoy!
November 11, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
American Association of Variable Star Observers
by Richard Berry
Our very own Richard Berry will be giving a presentation to the club at the usual time (7pm), Wednesday, November 11. His topic: AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) and its value to the amateur astronomer.
He has been involved with the organization for many years, serving on its council and as a VP.
Richard Berry :
Astronomical Image Processing for Windows (AIP4Win)
Widely used for CCD photometry by members of the AAVSO.
16+ years of staff contributions:
October 14, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
You Can Almost Touch The Stars
by Tom Field
Even if you wanted to touch a star, they are all impossibly distant. Nevertheless, astronomers have learned an enormous amount with spectroscopy, the science of analyzing the colorful rainbow spectrum produced by a prism-like device.
Until recently, spectroscopy was expensive and complicated for all but a few amateurs. Today, new tools make it accessible to almost all of us. With your current telescope and almost any digital camera, you can study the stars yourself.
This talk will show you what it is all about and help you understand how spectroscopy is used in research. Even if you are an armchair astronomer, understanding this field will enhance your understanding of the things you read about the night sky.
Tom Field . . .
Tom’s enthusiastic style is lively and engaging and he promises to open the door for you to this fascinating field!
September 9, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Grinding and Polishing Telescope Mirrors
by Bill Weller
This presentation will look at the facilities, tools, and techniques of grinding and polishing telescope mirrors. We will also examine how to measure “ridiculously” precise surfaces with “ridiculously” crude instruments.
Dr. Weller received an Honors BSc in Physics (1971) and his PhD in Earth and Space Science (1984) from York University in Toronto. Following a brief stay at the David Dunlap Observatory in Toronto he moved to the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory in La Serena Chile. There for 8 years he was responsible for the optical and mechanical performance of the telescopes, as well as conducting research on Planetary Nebulae, the late stages of stellar evolution. Following two years as Optical Scientist at the Gemini 8 Meter Telescopes, he moved to Vancouver Island where he taught Introductory Astronomy and Laboratory Physics at Malaspina University College. Since retiring from Malaspina University College he spends his time sailing, building canoes and telescopes, mushroom hunting, and volunteering with the Nanaimo Astronomy Society, and the Nanaimo Power and Sail Squadron.
August 12th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Guiding with PHD2
by Duncan Thomas
Duncan is going to cover the basics of PHD2, explain some of the new guiding algorithms, and cover some do’s and don’ts that will hopefully take away some of the mystery of automated guiding and improve your experience with PHD2.
Duncan Thomas spent is 30+ year career working for several Federal Government agencies including DOD, FAA, and NASA, with the last 10 years serving as a member of the Senior Level staff of the Secretary of the Navy in the Pentagon, advising on major system development cost and schedule risks. His BS in Applied Mathematics is from UCLA. Since retiring in 2019, he and his wife Dianne enjoy spending more time together, camping, sightseeing, playing board-games, and watching movies. He also continues to play baseball in adult leagues in Oregon and Florida. Duncan currently provides consulting services to the DOD and to High Point Scientific.
Duncan has been excited about space since getting his first Sears Refractor at age 8. Moreover he spent much of his career interacting with the space industry, estimating satellite and launch vehicle development costs for the Air Force and NASA.
He has been actively pursuing astrophotography for the better part of the past five years. Principal gear includes a StellarDrive Celestron AVX, and a Sky-Watcher NEQ6, and (soon) a Celestron CGX. Scopes include 60mm Apertura, 80mm Sky-Watcher, and Celestron EdgeHD11. Cameras are a modified Canon T3i, ZWO ASI183MM, and (soon) QHY168C.
July 8th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Using ImagesPlus (and other software) for Deep Sky and Planetary Photos
By Mike Conley
Mike has been an avid amateur astronomer ever since his first views of Jupiter through a small telescope in 1970. From that beginning he has built his own telescopes and has drawn celestial objects before the digital era of astrophotography became popular.
For nearly a decade he has been using a Canon 60D camera with a C11 SCT telescope and 81mm refractor to capture deep sky objects from his West Salem backyard and used ImagesPlus software, which is free, to process them. He will show just how he uses IP version 6 to create the images that he posts on NS45 Facebook page.
June 10th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Unlock The Best From Your Images
By Richard Berry
Our presenter for June is member Richard Berry, long-time astro-imager. Richard will demonstrate basic image processing methods that you can use to bring out everything locked away in your images.
May 13th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Authentic Astronomical Measurements for Amateurs
By Joe Minato
Joe Describes how to take some of the high school students who struggle with science oriented courses and lead them through making authentic measurements such as the size and mass of the Earth, the size of the Sun and its rotational period. Additionally, the most dedicated and successful students finish their work at the Pine Mountain Observatory High School Astronomy Camp where they measure orbital parameters of exoplanets, the age of and distance to globular clusters, and more.
While classically trained in astronomy, physics and math (S.B., MIT, 1984), Joe is a lifelong natural historian with a broad background and endless enthusiasm for exploring the wonders of the natural world from subatomic physics to cosmology, from the geologic history of the Earth to biological evolution, and wherever else his curiosity takes him.
Joe has taught in a wide variety of settings, urban and rural, public and private, and to a wide variety of students, gifted scholars to troubled youth, small children to veteran educators. He presently teaches Earth science, astronomy, physics, and chemistry at Wilson High School in Portland.
March 11th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Using The Atik Infinity Camera
By Mike Conley
Have you wanted to capture images of the celestial objects that show detail far better than what you could ever hope to see with the naked eye? Mike will explain how to use the club’s new super-sensitive Atik Infinity camera and take amazing astro-photographs with only a modest telescope.
Mike has been an avid amateur astronomer ever since his first views of Jupiter through a small telescope in 1970. Since that time, he has built telescopes and has drawn celestial objects before astrophotography became popular.
More recently he joined in the CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) and the TOM
(Transit of Mercury) projects. The later involved working with high school students in measuring the astronomical unit (AU) using geometry and images of the transit of Mercury (with the goal of exciting them about science related careers).
For the last few years he has been using a Canon 60D with a C11 and 81mm refactor to capture deep sky objects from his West Salem backyard.
February 12th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Presented by Ken Ash
Ken Ash will describe how life may have started and evolved on Earch while undergoing 5 major mass extinctions and dozens of lesser ones during the past 4.5 billion years.
Ken Ash retired after a career as a research chemist at Wah Chang in Albany. His MS in Chemistry was from Oregon State and BS in Chemistry was from University of Idaho. Since retirement he has relentlessly pursued a bucket list which included climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, biking in South America, and Trekking in Nepal. Ken thinks about big ideas, enjoys research and is a great communicator.
January 8th, 2020 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Composed by Gustav Holst
Explained by Bruce McIntosh
Gustav Holst wrote the The Planets score (1914 about mythological characters for which the planets of our solar system are named. Some years later, however, he realized that it was the newly discovered facts about the vastness of space that he was trying to express musically. A close friend of his said:
“it was an example of the power which music has to express concepts beyond the comprehension of the rational mind.”
Bruce McIntosh will explain how the composer used his many skills at orchestration to convey this idea. The composition will be played while the planetary slide show accompanies the music.
December 11th, 2019 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
The IKE Box, 299 Cottage St NE, Salem, OR 97301 – map it
*** Please note: the Story Hall room is upstairs, and is not ADA accessible.
NightSky45 will have a December Meeting after all!
Topic: Einstein’s Greatest Challenge
The speaker will be our own Richard Berry, past-President of NS45, author, and avid astrophotographer.
In 1905, Albert Einstein, a young patent clerk and part-time theoretical physicist, announced a theory called Special Relativity, a new way of looking at space, time, and space-time. He then began work on a more comprehensive theory that embraced all of physics called General Relativity. The new theory, put forth in 1915, explained an observation that had puzzled astronomers: the orbit of the planet Mercury “precesses” in space. However, explaining something already known does not count as confirmation. But it also predicted something that had never been observed: that during a solar eclipse, the stars behind the Sun would be very slightly displaced from their normal locations by the Sun’s warping of space-time, a.k.a., the force of gravity.
Even before his 1915 paper appeared, the race among astronomers was on! The chance to confirm or contradict this new thing called “General Relativity” was the prize that drove astronomers, in 1919, to sail to distant ports in search of sharp photographs that would show — not not show — the predicted shift.
The talk focuses on the efforts of astronomers, in the dark days immediately following the Great War, to make those critical observations in distant tropical countries, and the quirky personalities and pacifist politics involved.
We hope to see you all there at the IKE Box, 299 Cottage Street, in Salem!
Are We Alone In The Cosmos?
Rethinking the Drake Equation
November 6th, 2019 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Our November speaker is Bernie Taylor. In his presentation, he will take us back in time and discuss how we began as a species and pose the question: “Are We Alone in the Cosmos? Rethinking the Drake Equation.” Carl Sagan, in his widely watched “Cosmos” series (1980) popularized the idea of other life in the universe in his discussion of the Drake equation. If you are not old enough to have seen it, I am enclosing a link which you may enjoy: Carl Sagan Cosmos Drake Equation – nick
Bernie Taylor returns to explore how animals time themselves via solar-lunar cues and the knowledge of this behavior by coastal/inland hunter-gatherers. Taylor will delve into these practices, their relationship to the unique biologically-times characteristics of humans and pose if the Drake Equation can determine the probability of other earth-like and intelligent life in the cosmos
As an independent naturalist and author, Bernie Taylor explores the mythological connections and biological knowledge among prehistoric, indigenous and ancient peoples. His works in these areas include: Biological Time (2004) and Before Orion: Finding the Face of the Hero (2017).
Astronomy in Poetry – with Eleanor Berry
October 2nd, 2019 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Astronomy has engaged poets over the centuries, so not surprisingly, it has entered their poetry in various ways. They have written poems
* about astronomical phenomena as understood by contemporary astronomers.
* involving the practice of astronomy, the activities of astronomers.
* about personal or communal experiences of astronomical phenomena.
* using astronomical phenomena metaphorically.
* where astronomical phenomena are part of the setting.
Through readings of the poems, the speaker will show how the
resources of poetry can enable astronomy to enter deeply into the reader’s imaginative lives.
Eleanor Berry is a former teacher of writing and literature at Willamette University, Marquette University, and other colleges. She has served as president of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and of the Oregon Poetry Association. Currently, she chairs the Mid-Valley Poetry Society. Her poems and essays have been widely published in journals and anthologies. She has three collections of poetry: Green November, No Constant Hues, and Only So Far.
Research Projects for Astronomy Camps
September 4, 2019 | Wednesday | 7P-9P
Developing interesting and meaningful Astronomy Research Projects for students at Astronomy Camps can be a challenge. The students may have minimal experience, weather conditions are always an unknown, and short summer nights limit available observing time. Our speaker, Sean Curry, will discuss some projects that have worked well, and some that haven’t, oever the last few years at the Pine Mountain Observatory summer Astronomy Camp.
Sean is an almost-retired engineer who supports a large multi-university research project, and who likes to dabble in various maker projects. He is a member of the Southern Oregon Skywatchers, and observes and images from outside Talent OR. in the beautiful Rogue Valley.
August 7, 2019
Seeing the Cosmic Cirrus
The night sky is not so dark after all. Far from city lights, skilled observers find faint wisps of light, light reflected from skeins of interstellar dust outside the galactic disk. This is the “Cosmic Cirrus” or “integrated flux nebula”.
Our speaker, Mel Bartels, will describe his through-the-eyepiece observations and show his sketches of this “faintest of the faint” deep-sky phenomenon. Mel Bartels is a well-known observer and telescope maker from Cottage Grove.
July 3, 2019
What does it mean that measurements of the Hubble constant don’t agree?
Presentation by Ricky Oropeza and Dr. Rick Watkins
The Hubble constant measures the current rate at which the Universe is expanding. Recently it has become apparent that measurements of the Hubble constant made with different data are inconsistent; a situation which could lead to the discovery of new physics. After giving an overview of the Big Bang theory, we will discuss the different ways of measuring the Hubble constant and what it might mean that they don’t agree.
Ricky Oropeza is a senior physics major at Willamette University who grew up in Salem. Rick Watkins is a cosmologist who has been a professor at Willamette since 1999. This summer they are carrying out research analyzing data on the motions of galaxies.
June 5, 2019
A Telescope Maker’s Dream Job: Writing for Sky & Telescope
Speaker: Jerry Oltion, “Telescope Workshop” columnist
Jerry Oltion has worn many hats over the course of his life, from garbage truck driver to radio deejay to corporate secretary, but the two things that define him best are his lifelong love of writing and his lifelong love of what he calls “tinkercraft.” He loves making stuff up, be it in science fiction stories or in solid objects made of wood and metal and glass. When he discovered amateur telescope making, and then began writing about it, he realized he had found his true calling. Jerry is the most prolific fiction writer in the history of Analog/Astounding magazine, where he publishes most of his short stories. He’s nowhere close to being the most prolific builder of telescopes, but he’s gaining on it.
May 1, 2019
Naturalist and author Bernie Taylor presents an origin of modern astronomy in European Paleolithic caves from 34,000 years ago that connects with global myths of hunter-gatherers and the ancients in the Mediterranean region.
As an independent naturalist and author, Bernie Taylor explores the mythological connections and biological knowledge among prehistoric, indigenous and ancient peoples. His works in these areas include Biological time (2004) and Before Orion: Finding the Face of the Hero (2017).
April 3, 2019
Annual Show and Tell
In April we open NightSky 45 to hands-on demos of basic astronomy- and telescope-related themes.
If you are just getting into astronomy, bring your question for the more advanced members. In past years this has been a success with lively discussions. If you have some more advanced techniques that you want to share or you just want to show off your favorite scope, please bring it and tell us about it.
One item that is already on the agenda is a demo of the Atik Infinity camera that the club recently acquired and which will be available for use by members.
All of our members can help make this a successful experience for other members and for those who are just getting into astronomy.
March 6, 2019
Seeing the Cosmic Cirrus
The night sky is not so dark after all. Far from city lights, skilled observers find faint wisps of light, light reflected from skeins of interstellar dust outside the galactic disk. This is the “cosmic cirrus” or “integrated flux nebula.” Our speaker, Mel Bartels, will describe his through-the-eyepiece observations and show his sketches of this “faintest of the faint” deep-sky phenomenon. Mel Bartels is a well-known observer and telescope maker from Cottage Grove.
February 6, 2019
The Exploration of Mars
The Exploration of Mars with Michael Seibert
Using the book and film The Martin as a lens, Mike Seibert will discuss the current golden age of robotic Mars exploration as well as the challenges of mounting a human expedition to the red planet. Highlights of the presentation will be tales of challenges faced by the Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity as their mission surpassed the expected 90 days by roving Mars for over 14 years.
Mike Seibert is a former Mars Rover Driver and Flight Director for the Opportunity Mars Rover. He spent 12 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of the operations team for the twin Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. Mike now works as a systems engineer in Boulder, Colorado helping to develop robotic arms for spacecraft to be used for activities ranging from satellite refueling to planetary exploration. In addition, Mike is a graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines pursuing a Ph.D in Space Resources.
January 2, 2019
Nightsky 45 Members Night
–Comet Wirtanen: Mike Conley
–18 Years of Imaging: Nick Liepins
–Visiting Lowell: Richard Berry
–Art in Astronomy: Mark Seibold
–Ultima Thule: Alan Stern
November 7, 2018
Spacefest IX: My Summer Vacation
Speaker: Stephanie Barth
Spacefest is THE celebration of space for enthusiasts of every type! This summer Stephanie attended Spacefest. She will describe first-hand stories from Apollo astronauts and flight controllers:
–The wives and daughters of Gene Cernan and Alan Bean
–The upcoming movie, “Searching for Skylab”
–The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres
–What are “Space Hipsters”?
–What is it like to have lunch and dinner with astronauts?
–Hearing first-hand accounts of space exploration by Apollo astronauts and flight controllers.
–What do astronauts and the family of Neil Armstrong think of
the new movie, “First Man”?
–and much more!
Stephanie Barth became interested in astronomy and the space program in the 1970s. She has built a telescope with her family and has taught numerous astronomy classes to children around the Salem area. She’s a member of Space Hipsters since 2016 and of NightSky 45 since 2001.
October 3rd, 2018
Growing Up With The Astronauts
James will bring a few NASA artifacts from his fathers collection: a plug extracted from the Apollo 11 command module heat shield, and a hyper-velocity impact demonstration piece. He will discuss our museum’s mission and share stories of the people who made manned missions to the moon successful.
* JPLMuseum.org is located in the Historic Gardner House Cafe’ at 633 North Third Ave. Stayton, Oregon.
Hours of operation are Tuesday thru Saturday from 8:00 AM to 3:00PM. Phone 503 602 9128.
For more information, seehttps://www.jplmuseum.org/
Night Sky 45 Astronomy Club 10/3/2018 Meeting Poster: Growing Up With The Astronauts
September 5th, 2018
Our speaker: Dr. Katherine Kornei
Gas and dust escape from many galaxies in so-called “galactic winds.” Data from ground and space-based telescopes reveal which galaxies are leaking.
Dr. Kornei is an astrophysicist, science journalist, educator and works at OMSI as a Program & Exhibit Developer.
For her PhD, she studied star formation and galaxy evolution.
As a science writer, her work has been published in:
- Scientific American
- Sky & Telescope
August 8th, 2018
Our speaker: Tom Carrico.
Tom will describe what to do AFTER IMAGING, when you have a disk full of images. He will discuss how he processes astrophotos using, as he says, far too many pieces of software. Tom will cover how to capture data and calibration frames, selecting images to keep, various methods of processing, and a few tips and tricks along the way. Tom will emphasize imaging with monochrome cameras and color filters, but will spend a little time with processing DSLR images.
August 4th 9:00pm
9:00pm – Midnight
Hosted by Silver Falls State Park
The observing area will be the meadow west of the creek at the South Falls day use area.
It is suggested that we set up between 7:00-8:
July 14 8:00pm (apprx)
NightSky45 Star Party
Location: Union Hill Grange +44.8751 N, -122.7427 W.
- From the fertilizer plant at the corner of Hwy 214 (Silver Falls Hwy) and Cascade Highway…
- Continue on Hwy 214 1.8 miles E to a conspicuous zig-zag in the road…
Take Victor Point Rd SE 0.5 miles N to Grange Rd SE…
- Follow Grange Rd SE 0.6 miles E to the small gravel road on the north side.
We can set up along this road – There is no traffic on this road.
Bring your telescope, binoculars, camera, whatever! And, of course, we would be happy to help anyone set up and use a new or unfamiliar telescope.
Sunset is at 8:45 pm. Arrive while there is still enough light to set up.
Please note: There are no “facilities” at this site.
June 6th, 2018
Our Speaker: Howard Banich
Howard Banich made his first astronomical sketch in 1973. He will describe his process from the first rough sketches to the smoothly finished drawings published in Sky & Telescope.
May 2nd, 2018
Broken Starlight – Adventures With A Spectroscope
Our Speaker: Richard Berry
Spectroscopy has told humanity more about the true nature of stars and planets than all other tools of the astronomer combined. Our speaker this month, Richard Berry, tells a few tales about Astro–Spectroscopy what we learn by “breaking” starlight into a spectrum.
April 4th, 2018
Annual Equipment Night
March 7, 2018
Tales of the Wilson High School Astronomy Club
Our Speaker: Joe Minato
Joe Minato was born to be a science teacher. He grew up in beautiful Rockwood, Oregon, youngest of six children. He had a childhood of wonder and discovery, a gift he wishes for every child. He earned a BS in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MTE in science education. He is a recipient of the prestigious Polaroid Award for Outstanding Teaching at MIT.
While classically trained in physics and math, Joe is a lifelong natural historian with a broad background and endless enthusiasm for exploring the wonders of the natural world from subatomic physics to cosmology, from the geologic history of the Earth to biological evolution, and wherever else his curiosity takes him.
Joe has taught in a wide variety of settings, urban and rural, public and private, and to a wide variety of students, gifted scholars to troubled youth, small children to veteran educators. His favorite students are whomever he is teaching right now. His favorite lesson is whatever lesson he is doing right now.
When Galaxies Collide
~ Note: No December meeting ~
How Bright? How Old? How Far?
The Great Solar Eclipse 2017
|10 : 17 : 21 AM|
|Monday August 21, 2017 Salem, Or (earlier the farther West from Salem you are)|