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Posts Tagged ‘Grand Traverse Astronomical Society’

09/29/2017 – Ephemeris – Last festival of the year for the GTAS – Acme Fall Fest tomorrow

September 29, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, September 29th. The Sun will rise at 7:38. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 7:26. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 1:59 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at the Acme Fall Festival tomorrow, that’s Saturday September 30th from 10 to 4 p.m. It will be held at Flintfields Horse Park on Bates Road, north of M 72. The society members will bring their telescopes which will be used to view the sun if it’s clear. There will also be exhibits of astronomical photos from NASA, professional and our own amateur astronomers. As the festival and star party year winds down and the school year begins members of the society can bring astronomy and space to the classroom. Plus the society is beginning to plan for next year. Contact the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society via email at info@gtastro.org for information or to set up a date and topic.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

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08/21/2017 – Ephemeris – Today’s the day of the solar eclipse!

August 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, August 21st. The Sun rises at 6:52. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 8:37. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible, except when it’s covering the Sun.

This is it! Later today, we will see, clouds willing, the Great American Solar Eclipse. The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will host an eclipse watch at the Dachow farm on M-22 at Port Oneida Road. There will be telescopes to view the eclipse and one to project the eclipse on a screen. The first 100 or so visitors can get a pair of eclipse glasses. The times, if you are in the Grand Traverse area, say near Traverse City and Interlochen, are these: The eclipse starts at a couple of minutes before 1 p.m., The maximum eclipse will be at 2:20 when nearly 75% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. The eclipse will end about 3:40 p.m. These times are within a few minutes for other locations in northern Michigan.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Maximum eclipse in Traverse City

What the maximum eclipse would look like with proper filtering in the Grand Traverse area. Created using Stellarium.

Pinhole projection

Pinhole projection is the simplest way to project the Sun’s image.
A long box can be used to project the image inside. The diameter of the pin hole is a compromise between sharpness and brightness of the image.
The farther the image is projected the larger it is.
The throw of the image can be increased by using a mirror masked with a quarter of a inch or larger hole and sending the image 10 or more feet away.

Binocular projection

I’m demonstrating using binoculars to project the Sun. Photo by Bea Farrell (granddaughter).

Tree provided pinholes

Let nature provide the pinholes.
Sit under in the shade.
Stay cool,
And watch the Sun’s images on the ground.

The danger at looking at the Sun without proper filter

The danger with looking at the Sun without proper filter. Credit: University of Waterloo.

08/18/2017 – Ephemeris – More eclipse information

August 18, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, August 18th. The Sun rises at 6:48. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 8:42. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 4:16 tomorrow morning.

OK here you are 3 days before the solar eclipse, where to you go and when do you look to see it. Circle next Monday, August 21st. The times, if you are in the Grand Traverse area, say near Traverse City and Interlochen, are these: The eclipse starts at a couple of minutes before 1 p.m., The maximum eclipse will be at 2:20 when nearly 75% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. The eclipse will end about 3:40 p.m. For locations south and west of Traverse City the eclipse will start up to a few minutes earlier, to the north and east, up to a few minutes later. The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will host an eclipse watch at the Dachow farm on M-22 at Port Oneida Road.

We’ll be at Friday night Live night on the 200 block of Front Street, in front of Orvis Streamside,  in Traverse City to demonstrate these methods. Come between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for demonstrations if it’s clear.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Maximum eclipse in Traverse City

What the maximum eclipse would look like with proper filtering in the Grand Traverse area. Created using Stellarium.

07/07/2017 – Ephemeris – Tonight’s topic: Dark Matter

July 7, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, July 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:05. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:48 tomorrow morning.

This evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory at 8 p.m. with a program featuring Dr. David Penney and his talk Dark Matter: What Is It? What Does It Mean? Dark matter, whatever it is appears to be the stuff that holds the universe together. We can’t see it, but we can see its effects in the rotation of galaxies, the motions of galaxies in clusters and their distribution and how it distorts the images of galaxies beyond it. After the talk, at 9 p.m. there will be a star party to view the heavens including the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter. The observatory is located south of Traverse City, on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Dark matter filament

Dark Matter filament bridge between two galaxy clusters, discovered by Jörg Dietrich and his colleagues at the University of Michigan. The blue color is added to show the presence of dark matter. See the text below. Image from http://www.outerspacecentral.com/dark_matter_page.html.

Dark matter is detected by the distortions it creates in the distant galaxies behind it.  These galaxies are not visible in the scale of the image shown.  The gravitation of dark matter distorts spacetime as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which distorts the shapes of the galaxies behind it.

11/29/2016 – Ephemeris – Heads up: Friday’s on the possible origins of the Star of Bethlehem

November 29, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 29th.  The Sun will rise at 7:58.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 5:04.  The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

This Friday the 2nd at 8 p.m. I will be giving a talk investigating the origin of the Star of Bethlehem.  This will be during December’s monthly meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society, at Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H. Rogers observatory located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road.  The talk is a scientific treatment of the subject, rather than a religious one.  We’ll look at what the Gospel writers got right and possibly got wrong.  We’ll look at historical writings and oriental observations of the heavens around that time.  These will be augmented by computer simulations of what have been important celestial events visible around that time.  There is no admission charge.  There will be viewing of the skies afterward if it’s clear.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Title Slide

Title Slide for Friday’s program

Friday with this post I’ll add the article I’ve written for our newsletter about the program.

10/07/2016 – Ephemeris – Busy astronomical weekend in Traverse City

October 7, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 7th.  The Sun will rise at 7:48.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 7:11.  The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 11:30 this evening.

This is another busy weekend for the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society.  Tonight there will be a general meeting of the society at 8 p.m. followed by a star party at 9 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory, located on Birmley Road south of Traverse City, to which all are welcome.  The featured speaker for the meeting will be Randy Leach presenting Astrophotography for the Average Guy.  Photographing the sky without spending big bucks.  Tomorrow evening members of the society will be on the north side of the 200  block of East Front street in Traverse City with their telescopes for the International Observe the Moon Night.  We’ll start at 7 p.m. if it’s clear.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Substitute speaker:  Yours truly:  Personal recollections of 4 total solar eclipses and a look ahead at next year’s eclipse.

09/09/2016 – Ephemeris – There’s a star party tomorrow at the NMC Rogers Observatory

September 9, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, September 9th.  The Sun will rise at 7:15.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 8:03.  The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 12:50 tomorrow morning.

For the sixth weekend in a row the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host an observing event.  Just one this weekend.  It will be a star party at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory tomorrow night, Saturday night the 10th from 9 to 11 p.m.  The observatory’s and GTAS members telescopes will be used to view the Moon and the planets Saturn and Mars.  Some of the brighter deep-sky objects of the summer sky will also be visible.  There will be an alternate program available if it’s cloudy.  Last weekend’s star party , out at the Sleeping Bear Dunes was a perfectly clear night with and nearly 1800 folks showed up to view the wonders of the Milky Way.  The society and the park thank all who attended.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.