Von Braun Astronomical Society
new Eagle Scout
Congratulations to VBAS member, Benton Alcorn for attaining the rank of
Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout Project involved the addition to the
floor in front of the C-16 telescope in the Angele Observatory. This
addition greatly enhances access to the C-16 by members and the public.
Benton's Eagle Scout Court of Honor will be October 1, 2010.
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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 that was ordered from a Berlin manufacturer. The observatory was
a "hut" with a removable roof. It didn't survive WWII but the telescope tube and wooden tripod stand did
and are in the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin today. 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. 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 members who fervently believed in space exploration. 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 members with
opportunities for telescopic viewing of the night sky. We have astronomy programs, star parties and
astronomy related special events. Last October we participated with NASA in the LCROSS program and at our
observatory people watched as the Centaur impacted the Moon. We filmed the impact and obtained our own
images of the impact dust to analyze for water. 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.
Huntsville Sky Conditions
Click on above for details.
Weekly Planetarium Programs
Join us for our next planetarium program about
"Constellations: Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila" on Saturday, August 14th at 7:30 pm! View
This month we are touring some constellations that can be seen in our
current night sky when weather permits. We'll talk about the mythology
associated with the star patterns and locate the interesting deep sky objects
while perhaps teaching you something about Astronomy that you didn't already
know. Bring the whole family because the kids will want to get involved in
the action too!
Admission is $5 for Adults, $3 for Students, and free for children under
6, as well as Members. Weather permitting, you'll enjoy viewing the night
sky through our telescopes too! Look for other upcoming program details by
clicking on any Saturday date on our Public Events calendar on the left towards
the top of this page.
Monthly Society Meetings
Our next meeting will be held on Friday, September 17th at 7 pm and we
would like to invite any one with an interest in astronomy to join us for one of
our society meetings that are held on the third Friday of each month, except for
December. Watch for additional details to be posted soon.
If the weather permits, we always use our telescopes after the programs
to enjoy the night sky and we hope that you will join us!