If it’s May, it’s time for our Astronomy Day Fair and Swap Meet. On Monday, May 20 at OMSI from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m., our usual meeting will take a different turn...
Swap Meet & Club Tables
It’s not too late to ask for some table space if you want to bring something to sell or swap. And if you are in the market for telescopes or eyepieces or imaging equipment, filters, carry-all cases, Barlows, Telrads, a mirror, sky atlas, or any of the myriad other telescope accessories, this is an excellent place and time to stock up on items at good prices.
RCA will also have a full set of tables and displays from each of the various quarters of our club. We’ll have a Dark Sky Exhibit, the Telescope Library and Workshop will have full setups, we’ll have a Mars Corner and a Kids With Scopes interactive area, as well as our usual Sales Table and Book Library. It’s a good chance for new members to learn the ins and outs, hallways and doors of the club, as well as for the longer-term members to say hello to all their friends in a setting where we can actually see each other.
In Classroom One, we’re offering “What’s Up There,” by Matt Vartainian, “How to Find Stuff,” by Ken Hose, and “How to Prepare for a Night of Observing” by Alexe Mastanduno. In the planetarium, Dawn Nilson will offer a Dark Sky presentation and Jim Todd will offer a seasonal Night Sky Report. Finally, Craig Hlady will once again teach us how to get started in astro-imaging using only a regular DSLR camera. As of this moment, I’m not quite sure where he will be but don’t worry, I’ll get that sorted out. We expect that Sunriver Nature Center will come again; we’ll have an EAA demonstration, and if I can find room for myself, I still want to do a workshop on earning observing certificates.
This is an event we advertise to the public more than usual, so there will be lots of people getting into the spirit of astronomy that we don’t always meet. I hear there will be a classroom of science students. Let’s hope so. It’s going to be a good time. See you all soon.
Dark Skies 7:40 – 8:00
Finding Objects 8:10 – 8:30
Night Sky May 8:35 – 9:00
What’s Up There? 7:40 – 8:00
DSLR Imaging 8:10 – 8:30
Prepping for a Star Party 8:40 – 9:00
Star Parties/Special Interest Groups
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!
If you need help with a telescope project, need to clean or align your optics, or just want to talk about telescopes, come to the workshop. Activities include telescope building from scratch or a kit, telescope setup, cleaning, aligning, adjustment, and help using your telescope.
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.
How massive can a black hole get? Can you hide one star inside another? Why would a star only pretend to explode? Astronomers have built careers on answering these baffling questions, observing and studying some of the weirdest and most fascinating objects in the universe. Our speaker Dr. Emily Levesque will highlight some of the weirdest objects in the universe and share the adventures (and misadventures) of the scientists behind their discovery. Dr. Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington. Her research is focused on understanding how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She's currently writing a popular science book titled "The Last Stargazers" that shares the stories and adventures of astronomical observing.
Slides from Our General Meeting
by Dr. Katherine Kornei
An unseasonably late snowstorm was pummeling Geneva International Airport when I arrived in early April. I pulled my suitcase through snow, dusted off my knowledge of French from high school, and rode tram #18 to its endpoint, a stop simply labeled “CERN.”
I had traveled over 8,000 kilometers to one of the world’s foremost physics research facilities. The European Council for Nuclear Research—the French translation, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, is the origin of its acronym—was founded in 1954. Perhaps most well known for the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, the sprawling campus spanning two countries is justifiably famous.
Special thanks to Alison and her volunteers Roger and Merle for painting the parking curbs at Stub Stewart State Park. They present a tripping hazard that we have to warn everyone about every time we go out there, but with the new paint job, they should show up better even in the dark to help make things safer. Alison, I'm amazed at how quickly you got this done. First she was looking for volunteers, then it was done. Just like that. Love it, love you, love the bright white curbs!
At our April meeting, RCA charter member Jim Todd received the highest honor that our club bestows: the Galileo Award. Jim has been the Director of Space Science Education at OMSI for the past 35 years and was a key figure when our club was founded in the merger of two smaller clubs over 30 years ago. He provides our facilities at the museum, paying for us to use spaces at the museum from his own budget, which sometimes means venues such as the Empirical Theater when we need extra seating for special events. Aside from meeting rooms, such as the auditorium we’re currently in tonight, this includes storage space for our telescope and book libraries, our sales inventory, and other supplies. He cares so much about the club that he’s willing to risk tripping over all of that stuff while he’s working at his day job in the Planetarium. He even provides a mailbox for our official mail.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jim has also provided us with special programs, such as movies, planetarium shows, and special speakers, which has occasionally meant astronauts. As you will see a bit later tonight, he has always been ready and willing to fill in with a high-quality sky report whenever we have needed. He advocates and mediates for us with OMSI, championing our cause as the OMSI administration has changed over the years. He has advocated for us with city officials, such as the fire marshal, sometimes absorbing additional costs that we would otherwise have to pay. Jim has also gone out of his way to make our holiday events special, providing decorations, music, and presentations highlighting events important to the club or to the wider world. He is always flexible and works with us to meet special requests or when we need to adjust to unusual circumstances. Altogether, Jim has probably supported the club more than any other individual in ways both large and small and continues to be a very valuable and deeply appreciated member of the RCA family.
Jim’s generosity allows us to use our resources to reach more people and to provide more services to our members than would ever be possible otherwise. In return, we do our best to provide volunteers to help with official OMSI events, such as the OMSI star parties, Astronomy Day, the Makers’ Fairs, and significant events, like the Venus transit. But having the opportunity to participate in these events is yet another benefit for our members. Providing a kid’s first view of Saturn, Jupiter, or a globular cluster is a magical experience and sharing our passion for and knowledge of astronomy with other people is a lot of fun. If you haven’t volunteered yet, we strongly encourage it.
We owe a great deal to Jim and we would be a very different club without him!
Remarks by Vice-President of Programming, Mark Martin
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.