To inform, inspire and keep up to date on current research and the state of our knowledge of the universe. This SIG meets in a private home so the address is not published on our website. Our Cosmology SIG leader can be reached through the Contacts page for more information.
Whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced astro-imager — whether you're using a CCD, DSLR, point-and-shoot or film camera — this group can help you achieve better images with less effort and frustrations.
Join us at noon on the first Fridays of every month for good conversation and good food at McMenamin’s on Broadway, 1504 NE Broadway, Portland. Everyone is welcome!
Beginning Astro-Imaging Class, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Clackamas Community College. Registration will open soon.
New members are welcome to meet in the OMSI Planetarium at 6:30 before the General Meeting for an orientation and introduction to Rose City Astronomers.
Slides from Our General Meeting
Public Star Parties are held so that we can share our telescopes with anyone who wishes to attend. Since star parties are held at night in the dark, a few common courtesies will go a long way to making sure that everyone has a good time and a safe time.
RCA has a long tradition of small observing parties — it’s part of why the club was formed. RCA Club star parties are for members and their families and guests invited by members. The purpose is have a smaller, quieter event where attendees can spend an entire night observing or imaging without interruption. They are often in remote rural areas where conditions can be primitive at best.
The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to help insure your safety and the safety of others, to contribute to the enjoyment of club events, and to foster an atmosphere that will encourage other people to join RCA. These standards of behavior apply to club events, public events and at any volunteer or outreach events.
Please join our team of Astronomy Dark-Sky Enthusiasts to help RCA build a coalition to designate Oregon's first ever International Darksky Place. Designating an International Darksky Place in Oregon will not only provide necessary leverage to bring more attention to darksky preservation, but will generate economic growth through astrotourism.
Our team will be identifying potential communities and locations that meet our darksky site objectives, and inviting communities and land agencies to consider designation. And there will be much more to this fascinating campaign in what is usually, on average, a three-year effort.
We are aiming to have folks from Portland Audubon Society, Oregon Wilderness Society, and other astronomy clubs and darksky advocates in Oregon as part of our team. We hope to have Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as allies, and ideally coalition partners.
I recently received a request for help from a Portlander asking for what to do, what to bring, and where to go for a first-ever experience of a dark sky — in Central Idaho! She had heard about Central Idaho being designated an International Darksky Reserve and thought it would be a great idea for a vacation. Little did she know what great dark skies we have here in Oregon, and that they too are at risk from light pollution. Though Idaho is a great place, with your help we can put Oregon on the map as a dark sky vacation destination!
Please consider lending your talents to the effort!! Please contact Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
President’s Paragraph, February 2019
Wildfires have been increasingly figuring into our planning for our summer observing. If you plan to get outdoors to observe under our great Pacific Northwest skies this season, please read these preparedness suggestions:
We need to stop thinking of wildfires as abnormal and start planning our summer observing as if we could very well encounter wildfires, or have skies filled with smoke, or have to cancel events for fires.
We have to watch the fire forecast as carefully as we watch the weather forecast. I’ve asked Matt Vartanian, our new VP of Observing, to include fire watch in his forecasts for star parties, even early in the season, just to get in the habit of it.
We have to create safety practices at star parties in preparation for the event of a fire. At Camp Hancock, we park our vehicles facing the exit so we can get out quickly in case of fire. RCA should make this a requirement also. It has the added benefit of turning each car’s headlights away from the observing field.
At Oregon Star Party, we are required to carry five gallons of water dedicated to fire-fighting, and a shovel. We’ve been asked by Eugene Walters, who owns the property at our Maupin site, to require every attendee to have a five-gallon empty plastic buck filled with old blue jeans and enough water to keep them damp, with a lid so they don’t spill in the backs of our cars. In the event of fire, we would put the damp clothes on the grass around our observing site to dampen down the spread of fire, and leave. Eugene said the old-fashioned technique was to use wet gunny sacks. But no one knows what gunny sacks are anymore. I have already assured Eugene we can do this. It’s a small ask to protect his property and to protect ourselves.
We probably will have to develop ways to keep an eye on the wildfire situation on any weekend we’re observing in Oregon Outback. This means that those who have internet connections on site may have to have a fire watch program running in the background.
We must practice fire safety in the drylands where we camp. This means no smoking and no campfires where fire danger is high. This is not one of those “oh well, everyone’s getting too fussy” requirements. If we’re asked not to smoke outdoors, we don’t.
There may come a day when we really do need to leave a place quickly to get to safety. It may even mean having to leave all our beautiful, dearly beloved and expensive equipment behind. But the fires have become more numerous, bigger and faster than they have ever been in the past, and until we as a society invest the time and effort to restore our forest and grassland environments, fires will probably continue on this growth curve.
I sincerely hope that if we are careful and proactive, we can continue to have many more years of wonderful observing. But given that wildfire season has stretched into early spring and late fall, we may have to start expanding our thinking to include our hobby as a winter-time sport. So those clear cold nights in February up at Stub Stewart State Park are looking better all the time. So are nights in our backyards, or online telescope services. We will find a way.
Looking forward — Margaret