16-18 February – A Crescent Moon Pairs with Venus at Dusk
28 February – Close Conjunction of Moon and Regulus
28 February 2018 – Next Club Meeting
Please note: Due to a scheduling conflict with the UNC Asheville Department of Mathematics Parsons Lecture featuring NASA aeronautical engineer and mathematician Christine Darden, the Astronomy Club of Asheville meeting has been moved to Wednesday, February 28th at 7:00 p.m. instead of our normal first-Thursday-of-the-month date.
Wednesday night, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – In the Manheimer Room at the lower level of the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus. This meeting is free and open to the general public.
“The Kessler Syndrome: A Problem Created by Natural Law, Solved only with Human Intervention” – Presented by Donald J. Kessler, astrophysicist and retired NASA scientist
Today’s orderly solar system is the result of a 4.6 billion year chaotic process that formed the major planets orbiting our Sun. In some parts of our solar system, however, this chaotic process continues – the asteroid belt and comets generate natural debris in the form of meteoroids that have none of the orbital characteristics of the major planets. While larger asteroid fragments can become a hazard to life on Earth, smaller fragments represent a hazard to spacecraft.
In 1978, NASA scientist Don Kessler used models to understand the natural meteoroid environment and predicted that by the year 2000, collisions between spacecraft in Earth orbit would produce a population of small debris that exceeded the natural meteoroid hazard for satellites in Earth orbit. Read more…
Three Star Gazes in March
Continue to check this home page posting 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: Pat Barcas, taken at a Tanbark Ridge Overlook star gaze)
9 March 2018 – Friday night – The location for this star gaze will be the Tanbark Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather backup night is Saturday, 10 March. This event is free and open to the general public — registration is not necessary to attend. Directions to Tanbark Ridge can be found here. Be sure to check this page on the afternoon of the star gaze as Blue Ridge Parkway road closures could affect this event. Sunset occurs at 6:33 p.m.
16 March 2018 – Friday night – The location for this star gaze will be Grassland Mountain Observatory in Madison County. The weather backup night is Saturday, 17 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 the day of the star gaze by 5:00 p.m. Directions to Grassland Mountain Observatory can be found here. In the event that road conditions prevent access to GMO, the backup location will be the Tanbark Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sunset occurs at 7:39 p.m.
23 March 2018 – Friday night – The location for this star gaze will be Lookout Observatory on the UNC Asheville campus. The weather backup night is Saturday, 24 March. While the event is free and open to the general public, pre-registration is required to attend. To learn more about how to register, please visit the UNCA Lookout Observatory website here. Sunset occurs at 7:45 p.m., with shuttle service beginning at 8:00.