VBAS Calendar

November 2017
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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

November 2017 Planetarium Shows

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

William HerschelWilliam Herschel- Saturdays, November 4 & 11 at 7:30 PM

William Herschel made numerous discoveries that give cause for some to call him the father of modern astronomy. His most famous discovery doubled the size of the Solar System. Come learn about this musician/composer turned astronomer/telescope maker who left forever one of the biggest marks in the history of astronomy. Presented by Jared Cassidy, VBAS Webmaster and Past President.

Soap Opera in the Sky - Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 PM

Within the night sky is a group of constellations, that from Greek mythology present some of the most famous stories. This is the stuff of movies! Presented by Doug Horacek, VBAS Resident Astronomer.

Star of WonderStar of Wonder - Saturday, November 25 at 7:30 PM

What exactly was the star that the Wisemen saw? Was it a star that stood in the sky two-thousand years ago and marked a single location in Bethlehem? Each year at this special time, VBAS turns back the hands of time to look into the sky of long ago and search for this mysterious object. As we ponder the skies of Bethlehem, we’ll explore several possibilities including comets, meteors, novae and other phenomena as well as examine the origins of some of the Christmas traditions we celebrate today. Presented by various VBAS presenters.

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, November 17 at 7:30 PM. Pizza at 7:00 PM.

Title: Cassini’s Grand Finale: The end of a fantastic mission.

Text: The international Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997 and had a marathon 7-year 2-billion-mile journey to the distant planet Saturn. The 23-foot tall, 14-foot wide, 6-ton spacecraft is the largest most sophisticated outer planet spacecraft ever built, and this past September it ended its mission to the planet Saturn. Please make plans to attend our monthly meeting on Friday November 17th. This will be a non interactive webinar. Join us as NASA's JPL's Trina Ray will briefly cover an overview of the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn. She will focus on the exciting Grand Finale (the last 22 orbits of the mission where the spacecraft had been flying inside the rings – right over Saturn’s cloud tops). We’ll learn about what happened during the Cassini Grand Finale. Of course we'll have pizza and a short business meeting prior to the webinar. Hope to see you there!

Don Reed

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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