Since last month it feels like we have entered a new phase. One can feel the change in the city’s tempo. This past month was back-to-school season for many of us, a cairn on this circuitous path we call the year. Sweltering city summer days, complete with haze and humidity and a bounty of cloudy night skies, are replaced with cooler temperatures and clear air days. Costumes, candy, ghouls, and pumpkins culminate on Halloween, later this month. On the astronomical calendar, from tradition, this is a cross quarter day, halfway between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice.
It was coincident that we held the Autumn Starfest on the equinox, 22 September. Another delightful night with hundreds of visitors taking in views of the night sky through our members’ scopes. Volunteers greeted each visitor as they entered Sheep Meadow, offering gifts and a raffle ticket for prizes. Among our guest speakers, two AAA members, Joshua Berman and Preston Stahly, presented works of art, complementing talks given by SETI’S Dr. Franck Marchis (Chief Science Officer for Unistellar) and Tele Vue Optics Al Nagler.
Thank you to everyone involved with this year’s star party. Starfest draws the best from everyone: curiosity, charity, hope, and peace. This is a direct result from your contributions.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend that you visit the AAA Astrophotography Group’s YouTube page to see the video, “Starfest – Central Park – September 22, 2018” that Preston premiered. A wonderful compilation of still and moving images produced by the group’s members. I am filled with inspiration as it shows the people behind the scenes in action. There are moments captured which Mother Nature’s gifts to all of us and the remarkable engineering of mankind.
Our next member get together, Fall Social, is next month, November 8, Thursday, at Bierocracy. The event coordination team is planning for a fun evening to help in meeting with fellow members. I hope you attend and I hope we get to meet.
October is the starting line for the AAA Lectures, a season of eight guest speakers invited by event chair, David Kraft. Our guest speakers cover a broad base of studies ranging from classical interpretations to science of the solar system to the Milky Way and astrophysical treatment of neutrinos.
Be on the alert regarding the scheduling of the Lectures 2018 – 19 season. This year does not follow the first Friday of the month from October to May. Instead, after working with the American Museum of Natural History for theater availability, there are some months that deviate, like this month. For each month, best to consult the Lectures web page, AAA Calendar, the Upcoming Events schedule, or the Events on the Horizon column.
There are many in our ranks that enjoy the classes and lectures. This month we have open registration for two classes: Mid Fall Stargazing Skills Workshop and Late Fall Measuring Distances in Space. The two classes cover two different topics.
The Stargazing workshop combines class and field trips for practical lessons in how to operate your telescope and learn to navigate the sky to locate solar system & celestial objects. In the later sessions, we build on these basic skills. The Late Fall Class is a course about astrometry and the various methods to Measuring Distance in space. This a science class with some mathematics.
Lastly, there is some planning work to revive the AAA Meetup, offering a regularly scheduled event. Coordinators Otto Chin and Faissal Halim state the subjects/topics of the meet-ups can really be anything with the goal of building the community, making the club feel more familiar, and being the default destination of resource and connections, all within the underlying interest of Astronomy. Look for more announcements about AAA Meetup.
Keep your feet grounded while your sights reach for stars!