The AAAA and the Story County Conservation Board host monthly educational programs for the public from January to November. Meetings are on the 3rd Saturday of each month, except December, at 7:30 PM. Visitors are encouraged to join us. A list of the programs for this year can be found below.
All programs will be held at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park unless noted otherwise in the program for that month.
Presentations are subject to change. Afterwards, weather and and sunset permitting, we will move to the club's Observatory located just East of the Story County Conservation Center for astronomical observing. Telescopes and binoculars will be available for your viewing pleasure.
At each of our meetings we include a short description of a few of the astronomical sights that can be seen during the coming month.
All information is not complete. TBD means we don't
know yet who will be speaking. We will continue to
update this as we get more information. Please
keep checking back. Our December meeting will
be our Christmas Party for members. More information
will be available in the next newsletter.
|| We will be showing the DVD "Undaunted:
the Forgotten Giants of the Allegheny Observatory" popcorn and drinks will be provided.
This is a free event.
Due to inclement weather Sam Wormley's talk on
Climate Change has been rescheduled for August.
How Big, How Fast, How Far?
The beautiful stars
and planets that we see in the sky from our
backyards at night seem to be just a bit higher than
the clouds but the truth is they are so far away
that it is really hard to even imagine. AAAA club
member Richard Gee will try to help us grasp just
how big our solar system and the universe really is
with some familiar, down to earth, objects. Come
expecting to be awed and enlightened!
The Fate of Our Sun
Some of the most beautiful and interesting objects
amateur astronomers like to observe are called
Planetary Nebulae. We know that Planetary Nebulae
form in the late stage of the life of stars like our
Sun. However, in recent years it has become evident
that not all sun-like stars form planetary nebulae.
Dr. Lee Anne Willson of ISU Astrophysics Department
will review the late stages of stellar evolution for
stars like the Sun, discuss what we know about the
processes that form planetary nebulae, and give our
best current answer to the question: "Will the Sun
Ever Form a Planetary Nebula?" It sounds a little
technical, but don't worry, Dr. Willson is great at
making technical subjects easy to understand for
Telescope Mounts Unwrapped
Telescopes are not very useful unless they are supported by a good mount.
The question is: How do I choose the one that is best for me? This month club members will
demonstrate the setup and use of 3 popular telescope mounts: the Dobsonian mount, the
Fork mount and German Equatorial mount. We will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each kind as well as sharing some pointers for setting up and using computerized goto mounts.
||Telescope Maintenance and Setup
This will be our date for the Star-B-Q. Picnic will start about
5:30. Hamburgers and hotdogs/brauts will be provided by the club. Please bring sides such as
baked beans, chips etc. Solar filtered telescopes will be available to view the sun, weather permiting.
After the feast we will enjoy a presentation
explaining the advantages and disadvantages of
different kinds of telescopes and how to set them up and maintain them.
Robots in Space Part 4
Zerby will be presenting the 4th in the series of
Robots in Space. Come and here about Pluto.
In the words of John Holdren, President Obama's
science adviser, "is already well beyond dangerous
and is careening toward completely unmanageable."
Furthermore, the destabilization of climate is now
believed to be more or less permanent in human
timescales. Geophysicist David Archer puts it this
way: the climate impacts of releasing fossil fuel
CO2 into the atmosphere will last longer than
Stonehenge. Longer than time capsules, longer
than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human
civilization so far. Join us for a lively
discussion, as Sam Wormley who recently taught a
class on this controversial topic for the Osher
Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) brings us up to
speed on the latest thinking on this issue.
The Kepler Mission: Ushering in a New Era for
Exoplanets and Stars
Come and listen to Steve Kawaler review some of the
amazing exoplanet discoveries, along with work
they've done using the 99.97% of the data obtained
by Kepler that doesn't involve new planets. He will
also discuss the 'second life' of Kepler following
failure of its primary pointing system - the K2
mission, which will search for planets around
Join the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers as we relive
the Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 missions to the moon
this Saturday, October 18 at 7:30 at the Story
County Conservation Center. For those of you old
enough to remember watching them when they happened,
these videos will bring back some exiting memories.
For all of us it will be a reminder of how far we
have come as we view the quality of the images from
the moon that were amazing back then compared to the
incredible images we get from the rovers on Mars and
the many spacecraft we have sent into the farthest
reaches of our solar system.
||Story County Conservation
This will be in addition to the regular meeting.
The Halloween Hike this year did not fall on the
meeting night, but we will be assisting with this as
well as having our normal meeting.
Binoculars in Astronomy
Usually the first optical instrument any of us
look through (not counting eye glasses) is a
pair of binoculars. Also, one of the most common
questions we, as amateur astronomers, get is
"What sort of telescope should we buy for our
daughter, son, niece, nephew, or grandchild?"
Usually our first response is to suggest a pair
So tonight's topic is binoculars. We'll look at
(and through) a bunch of different kinds of
binoculars. And we'll talk about how they work
and some good ways to use them to enjoy the
night sky. Feel free to bring any
binoculars you might have. If it's clear we'll
do some observing afterward.
||This is a party time for members.