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20 March 2019The Vernal Equinox

20 & 22 March 2019Two Bright International Space Station Flyovers Visible in our Region

 

On March 20th check this link for the latest timing and a sky chart of the flyover in the Asheville area.

On March 22nd check this link for the latest timing and a sky chart of the flyover in the Asheville area.

22 Mar. – 5 Apr. 2019 Find the Zodiacal Light in the West

The nearly vertical cone of pale light, in the image to the right, is the “zodiacal light”.  Learn more about how you can observe this phenomenon.

Next Star Gaze

Continue to check this home page as weather and road conditions could change the venue or postpone and possibly cancel a star gaze. Check-in again after 5:00 p.m. on the afternoon of the observing session for the latest info and update. (image credit: Spencer Black, taken at Grassland Mountain Observatory)

29 March 2019 – Friday – The location for this star gaze will be Grassland Mountain Observatory in Madison County, with a weather backup night of Saturday, 30 March. This event is free and open to the general public — registration is not necessary to attend. A temporary gate code, required for entry, will be provided on the day of the star gaze by 5:00 p.m. Directions to Grassland Mountain Observatory can be found hereIn the event that winter road conditions prevent access to GMO, the backup location will be the Tanbark Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sunset occurs at 7:49 p.m.

4 April 2019 – Next Club Meeting

Thursday night, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – In the Manheimer Room at the lower level of the Reuter Center, located on the UNC Asheville campus. The meeting is free and open to the general public.

“The Lambda Bootis Star System: A 75-Year-Old Mystery” – presented by Richard Gray, Appalachian State University

 

The Lambda Boötis stars (Lambda Boo for short) were discovered 75 years ago by one of the founders of the MK Spectral classification system (the system that astronomers use for classifying stars by their spectra), W.W. Morgan.  What was special about these stars was that nothing other than strong spectral lines of hydrogen appeared in their spectra. Compared with other stars of the same temperature and age, the Lambda Boötis stars, at least in Morgan’s photographic record, showed no signs of metals or any other element other than hydrogen.

Modern digital spectra show that metals and other elements are present in the spectra of Lambda Boötis stars, but at very low levels.  The most extreme Lambda Boo stars show metal abundances down by a factor of 100 or more from the Sun.  And this is very curious, because for all other stars, metal abundance is correlated with age – old stars have low abundances of metals, whereas young stars have high abundances.  So, that must mean Lambda Boo stars are really old? Read more…

7 – 9 April 2019The Moon and Mars Pair Up with the Pleiades Star Cluster

Image courtesy of Sky & Telescope