VBAS Calendar

June 2017
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

APOD
Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD

Monte Sano State Park

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Von Braun Astronomical Society

June 2017 Planetarium Shows

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

Apollo 6 SeparationHistory of Space Flight - Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 PM

Discover the history of how space flight came to be, and about the people who made it all possible: Starting from the 1920's with founding fathers such as Goddard and Oberth all the way to the future space missions such as the Space Launch System (SLS). Along the way, the history of VBAS will also be covered, as its history is intertwined with space flight. Presented by Michael Buford, VBAS Public Communications Coordinator.

Are You Ready for the Great 2017 Eclipse? - Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 PM

Total Solar Eclipse/NASA

On August 21, 2017, there will be a solar eclipse visible across most of the continental United States. Schools in the past have kept students indoors to avoid the possibility of the them looking at the sun. VBAS wants to encourage the schools and the public to get out and experience this wonder.

The purpose of this presentation is to prepare everyone. Presented by Gena Crook, VBAS Director of Education and Programs, and will answer the following questions:

How to safely view the eclipse? Why eclipses occur? Where will the shadow fall? What could the weather be like? What will the eclipse be like in Huntsville?

This presentation will not be a dry lecture format but will include audience participation in explaining many parts of the eclipse. Plus the presenter will share some fun ways to view the eclipse.

During this year, VBAS will be offering this presentation to local schools as a teacher workshop.

Constellations for Every Season - Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 PM

This planetarium program has been written and will be presented by our VBAS Stellar Instructors.

They will teach you why we see different constellations throughout the year and challenge you to learn a new constellation for every season. The VBAS Stellar Instructors range in age from 12 - 18. It is going to be exciting to watch and learn from them inside the planetarium !!!

 

Globular Cluster M13 in HerculesStar Clusters - Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 PM

Our Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, will present a program about star clusters. Doug will talk about the different types of star clusters and give you some insight as to what astronomers know about them, as well as where to find some of them in the night sky.


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

If you have your own telescope, feel free to set it up after the show. If you need some assistance with setting up or operation your telescope, our ever helpful observing crew will try to help you  so that you can better enjoy the night sky.

 

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 16 at 7:30 PM. Join us for pizza at 7:00 PM.

The June program will be a prerecorded webinar about the NASA Osirus-Rex asteroid sample return mission.

This is a multi year mission Launched in September of 2016 with a 2 year approach to a near earth asteroid. The space craft will spend approximately a year orbiting the asteroid and surveying it for a sample site. Then there will be a sample collection and a 2 year return voyage to bring the sample to earth.

Several interesting new techniques have been developed for the mission and there will be an earth flyby on the way to rendezvous with the asteroid. The actual return to ground will use the same technique that was pioneered with the return of comet dust several years ago. You may recall that return was only partly successful since the return capsule crashed in the Utah desert rather that landing with its parachute.

Tom Burleson, Jr.

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

   
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