February President's Message: Electronically Enhanced Observing?

February President's Message: Electronically Enhanced Observing?

The topic of technology and observing have come up again recently with the appearance of yet another technology that is likely to revolutionize observing: Electronically Enhanced Astronomy (EEA), such as is used by the recently Kickstarted Unistellar eVscope (image from their website).

This development is likely to stir up the kind of discussion and debate that the advent of GoTo technology brought up twenty years ago. There’s already lively discussion about it on our Forum and other amateur astronomy boards.

I propose to settle the debate from the start: technology always wins.  So let’s predict that EEA is going to revolutionize our hobby and I hope for the better.  But I am always the voice that says: don’t let the technology overtake our enjoyment of the sky and the stars that fill those gorgeous nights.

Observing Survey: If you haven’t filled out the survey regarding our observing site choices, time is getting short. We appreciate hearing from everyone who fills it out.

Astro-Imaging Class: Registration for the Astro-Imaging Class is still open.  The cost of the class is $20, and class is limited to forty people. It’s filling rapidly so if you want to start at the very beginning and move into the mid-weeds of imaging, this is the class for you.

Camp Hancock: Registration for Camp Hancock is open until March 10. We are limited to 45 RCA members and guests and registration is filling up for this popular event.

Youth Astronomy Class: The Youth Astronomy Class registration is still open. Classes start in March, so if you know of a youth who wants to learn about astronomy and observing, we encourage our members to point them this direction.

Youth Award: We’re still interested in awarding money to young people who do something of merit regarding astronomy and the sciences. Contact our Youth Director if you know of a project that might qualify.

Until the skies clear, I hope we all get to enjoy our winter days!

— Margaret

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Supermoons Herald the New Year

Supermoons Herald the New Year

How lucky can we be, starting a new year with a full moon — a supermoon no less — on the first day of the year? A supermoon happens when a full moon falls at or very near the moon’s perigee, meaning its nearest brush with Earth, during the month. To add icing to the cake, there will be another full moon on January 31st. That’s a Blue Moon. To have a blue moon and a supermoon in the same month, and to have one on January 1, is rare indeed. Probably a computer could figure out the probability of this kind of lineup, which is so rare it deserves its own color.  How about a Mauve Moon? 

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Wrapping Up the Year

Wrapping Up the Year

In 1988, the OMSI Astronomy Club and the Portland Astronomical Society merged. In the coming year, we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary as RCA. Our printed 2018 calendar (on sale now) has a lovely 30th year logo on it and it includes, among the usual awesome imaging done by our very own members, some striking black-and-white photos of astronomy in Portland that goes back well more than thirty years. The strength of interest in astronomy in cloudy, rain-sodden Oregon shows the staying power of hope over experience, doesn’t it?

Banner Design Contest

We need better visual displays! We’ve decided to get three retractable banners printed to use for outreach events. We’re asking imagers to put their wonderful work to good use on what we hope will be stunning banners. Create something beautiful using astronomy images with, at a minimum, our name, logo and our url address. If your design is chosen, we’ll award you with a copy of the book Skyglow. Any member can create a design, but astro-images should be done by an RCA member and have their permission for use. The final size will be 33" x 78." A high-resolution PDF would work well. We’d like to have these ready for next year’s events, so the deadline is Dec. 31 for submitting your entry. To get the logo, contact the president, communications v.p. or the calendar v.p. and we can send you one for incorporation in your creative, attractive, informative, communicative representation of our club.
 

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