news and events

Next Public Star Gazes

Spencer 3Continue 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: Spencer Black, taken at Grassland Mountain Observatory)

1 July 2016 – Friday night – The location for this star gaze will be the Mt. Pisgah trailhead parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather backup night is Saturday, July 2nd. This event is free and open to the general public — registration is not necessary to attend. Directions to the Mt. Pisgah trailhead parking lot can be found here. Sunset occurs at 8:50 p.m.

8 July 2016 – Friday night – The location for this star gaze will be Lookout Observatory on the UNC Asheville campus. The weather backup night is Saturday, July 9th. This event is free and open to the general public, however pre-registration is required to attend. Registration is now full but you may join a waiting list by following this link.There is no public parking at the observatory, but shuttles are available to and from the observatory from parking lot P10 (the Reuter Center) on the north (top) end of this campus map. Sunset occurs at 8:48 p.m., with shuttle service beginning at 9:30.

4 July 2016Earth Reaches “Aphelion”

July 6-8 Jupiter Moon7-9 July 2016 – Conjunction of the Crescent Moon with the Planet Jupiter

(Image courtesy of Sky & Telescope)

14-16 July 2016 – Let the Moon Guide You to Mars and Saturn

4 August 2016 – Next Club Meeting

Thursday night, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. In the Manheimer Room at the lower level of the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus

Eleanor Taylor Celestial Navigation“Celestial Navigation Education in the Coast Guard – from the Classroom to the Fleet” — Presented by Lieutenant James Toomey, United States Coast Guard

For centuries sailors depended upon a familiarity with the heavens to navigate at sea, and measuring the position of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets in the sky was the key to determining one’s location. Mastery of tools such as the astrolabe and, later, the sextant was as important to the seafaring traveler as knowledge of rigging and knot tying. As humankind ventured from the seas to the skies, star-sailors (astronauts) even found celestial navigation essential enough to be used on the Apollo missions to the moon.

Modern technology and the remarkable accuracy of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), however, rendered the art of celestial navigation obsolete and arcane, and the U.S. military completely phased out maritime celestial navigation instruction by the mid-2000s. Read more…