VBAS Calendar

September 2015
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    Early morning risers along Florida's Space Coast, planet Earth, Early morning risers along Florida's Space Coast, planet Earth,


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Von Braun Astronomical Society

Youth and Adult Observing Session - Sept.4

Written by Administrator

VBAS will host a Youth and Adult Observing Session on September 4 at 7:30 PM. Our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, will present a planetarium program on "Eclipses" and following the program will lead an observing session for all those attending (weather permitting). This is a free event.

 

September 2015 Planetarium Shows

Our Public Planetarium Shows Begin at 7:30 PM

Looking Back- Saturdays, September 5,12, & 26 at 7:30 PM

What would it be like to look billions of light years across the universe at our solar system? Come join our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, as he takes you on a journey from across the universe looking back through intergalactic space and through stellar space at our little blue dot among the stars.

Fall Skies - Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 PM

You are welcome to attend a  "family friendly" show on our Autumn Sky.

For some reason Mrs. Brenda Rogers always seems to need help when she presents!!!  Children and sometimes even adults will be asked to volunteer to help demonstrate certain aspects of astronomy. Please attend this fun-filled presentation that just happens to be educational. As always, after her presentation the lights will be turned down and off then she will point out constellations of our current night sky.

Remember that if weather permits, there will be telescopes open for viewing.

See you there!

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.

 

Monthly Society Meeting

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting will occur Friday, September 18 at 7:30 PM. Pizza at 7:00 PM

VBAS welcomes Niki Werkheiser to speak at the next Monthly Society Meeting on Friday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m. Join us for Pizza at 7 p.m. Then Ms. Werkheiser will share her experience with 3D Printing for space applications.

Niki WerkheiserNiki Werkheiser is the NASA Project Manager for the In-space Manufacturing (ISM) Initiative. In this role, Niki is responsible for developing the technology roadmap and implementation plans which will result in the manufacturing technologies and processes required to enable on-demand, sustainable operations for Exploration Missions to destinations such as Mars. The ISM portfolio includes the 3D Printing in Zero-G Technology Demonstration payload on the International Space Station, which made history by being the first 3D Printer to manufacture parts in space.

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama has been engaged in additive manufacturing research activities since 1991, when the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory was established with two primary purposes: 1) to provide a rapid prototyping capability for spaceflight hardware and 2) develop methods to manufacture and/or repair parts in-space. The In-space Manufacturing (ISM) Project, led out of MSFC, is responsible for developing the manufacturing capabilities that will provide on-demand, sustainable operations during NASA Exploration Missions to destinations such as Mars.

The first major milestone for the in-space manufacturing activities to date culminated in 2014 with the launch of the 3D Printing in Space payload to the International Space Station (ISS).  This hardware represents the first manufacturing capability in space. The primary objective of the technology demonstration is to determine if there are any meaningful differences between parts 3D printed on the ground and those manufactured in microgravity.

Steve Patrick

Vice-President

   

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

 

Youth and Adult Observing Session - October 2

VBAS will host a Youth and Adult Observing Session on October 2 at 7:30 PM. Our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, will present a planetarium program entitled "Soap Opera in the Sky" and following the program will lead an observing session for all those attending (weather permitting). This is a free event.

   

M51 The "Whirlpool" Galaxy

Written by Administrator

This is one of the latest images we have taken with the Sims SBIG camera. It is of M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici, just off the last star in the tail of the Big Dipper. The image was taken on April 12, 2013 through our 6 inch Astrophysics StarFire apochromatic refractor on an Orion Atlas mount and was made by stacking multiple exposures taken through different filters in order to achieve the color image.  The smaller object (at the bottom of M51, in this picture) is its companion galaxy, NGC 5195. Jeff Delmas, Frank Schenck, Jared Cassidy, and Doug Horacek were the observing crew that acquired the image.

M51 Color image with 6 inch StarFire Refractor

 

First Light of the Richard Sims SBIG Camera

Written by Administrator Saturday, 23 June 2012 12:33

The night of June 22, 2012, brought "first light" to our new digital astronomical camera, which was made possible, thanks in part, from a donation by Terri Sims in memory of her husband Richard Sims.  Our new camera is a SBIG model STF-8300M, with St-i Autoguider/Planetary Camera, and FW8 Filter Wheel.  This is a monochrome camera, which uses filters and multiple images stacked together to achieve a color image, this allows all available pixels to be used for making the image and provides better resolution than single-shot color cameras.  M57 The Ring Nebula located in the constellation Lyra

Our plan is to use this on the Swanson 21 inch telescope and other society scopes to show the wonders of the universe to the public and make contributions in astronomical research.

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