Calendar

To see Public Night listings, click “pnight” under the Tabs button

Aug
4
Sat
2018
Member In-Reach, August 2018 @ DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Aug 4 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Observing Programs

This month, we’ll be surfing the web for observing programs that help give us goals to accomplish with the hobby.  The Astronomical League is the most obvious starting place, however there are many astronomy clubs around the country that have put together equally interesting activities to work towards an accomplishment.  As DAS members, we can earn pins and certificates — much like scout badges — for doing the AL-based programs, but the purpose is to learn how to put together an observing plan for what kinds of targets to go after in the field.

In order to succeed with observing programs, it’s important to have adequate tools to find the celestial objects in the programs. Participants are requested to bring their preferred observing aids and star charts to show and demonstrate. Remember, if you want to complete the Astronomical League Messier observing program, you can’t use a go-to scope.

As usual, bring snack food to share, and if the weather’s good, bring your equipment for practice out on the south lawn.  If you like to use observing session planning software or phone apps, that’s welcome too.  It’s possible that you could start on an observing list right as the summer sun sets!

Aug
11
Sat
2018
Dark Sky Weekend @ EGK Dark Site
Aug 11 all-day

The Dark Sky Weekend begins on Friday evening and goes to early morning on Sunday. Saturday night is the most popular time.

See travel, access, orientation, use, and safety considerations on the EGK Web Page

PLEASE NOTE: Site orientations for DAS Members ONLY will be provided on the Dark Sky Weekend Saturday, approximately one hour before sundown.

Non-members who are not guests of members must contact the organizer for access, but only for Dark Sky Weekends. In general, large groups cannot be accommodated due to liability concerns.

 

Aug
18
Sat
2018
Open House – August 2018 @ DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Aug 18 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Observing Highlights: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, 1st Quarter Moon.

More information on DAS Open Houses

Chamblerin Observatory Clear Sky Chart

Aug
24
Fri
2018
General Meeting – August 2018 @ DU's Olin Hall, Room 105
Aug 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Anthony Villano, PhD. Our August 2018 General Meeting speaker.

Anthony Villano, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver

An Astronomical Mystery:
Can Particle Physics Solve an 85-Year-Old Dark Matter Puzzle?

The case of dark matter was closed 30 years ago. Astronomers had convincingly shown there were gravitational anomalies in galaxy clusters and spiral galaxies. And particle physicists had answered with a miraculous solution so beautiful that cosmology was forever changed. There is just one problem, nobody has detected dark matter on earth yet; but we probably should’ve been able to. These three decades of confusion saw amazing advances in detector technology but one thing remains clear: life is probably not as simple as we thought 30 years ago. I will take us through the maze of the last 85 years of dark matter research to arrive at a current diagnosis of the “particle hypothesis” for dark matter.

Professor Anthony Villano obtained his PhD at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the field of particle physics. His initial post-doctoral work was in nuclear physics, where he took a key role in a project to produce supporting measurements for the neutrino-less double-beta decay efforts. Since 2010, he has applied his knowledge of particle and nuclear physics to the dark matter direct detection effort; first as a post-doctoral associate at the University of Minnesota and now as an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Denver.

More about DAS General Meetings

Sep
8
Sat
2018
Dark Sky Weekend @ EGK Dark Site
Sep 8 all-day

The Dark Sky Weekend begins on Friday evening and goes to early morning on Sunday. Saturday night is the most popular time.

See travel, access, orientation, use, and safety considerations on the EGK Web Page

PLEASE NOTE: Site orientations for DAS Members ONLY will be provided on the Dark Sky Weekend Saturday, approximately one hour before sundown.

Non-members who are not guests of members must contact the organizer for access, but only for Dark Sky Weekends. In general, large groups cannot be accommodated due to liability concerns.

 

Sep
15
Sat
2018
DAS Open House – September 2018 @ DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Sep 15 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Observing Highlights: Jupiter, Saturn, Mars

See information on DAS Open Houses

New Rules concerning DAS  member vehicle access to Observatory Park for equipment setup and tear-down:

  • DO NOT park on the lawn under ANY circumstances.
  • DO NOT drive on the lawn under ANY circumstances.
  • DO NOT park on the driveway or the round area near the observatory’s south doors for more time than it takes to unload/load equipment. The paved driveway is for unloading and loading of equipment ONLY.
  • DO NOT park (even temporarily) with tires off of the asphalt at all, even part way. All vehicles MUST remain entirely on the asphalt.
  • DO NOT try to drive around another vehicle that is blocking the driveway. Wait until the other vehicle moves out of the way.
  • DO NOT unload your gear and then set it up while your vehicle is parked on the driveway. Stop your vehicle, unload your gear onto the lawn, park your vehicle out on the street, then walk back and set up your equipment. Do the same in reverse: tear down and pack up your gear so it is ready to load, go get your vehicle, load your gear, and depart the park.

IMPORTANT: Only two vehicles should use the access driveway at one time. This will allow vehicles to turn around at the circle and leave the site moving forward.

Sep
21
Fri
2018
General Meeting – September 2018 @ DU's Olin Hall, Room 105
Sep 21 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Dr. Toshiya Ueta, University of Denver

Dr. Toshiya Ueta, University of Denver

Research to Detect the Total Mass Ejected from Planetary Nebulae

Planetary nebulae are evolved stars of low to intermediate initial mass (0.8-8 solar masses, i.e., like our Sun) that experience the last throes of mass loss near the end of their lives. Supposedly these stars are to become extremely dense white dwarfs whose average mass is 0.6 solar masses. If so, it would be “naively” expected that 0.2 to 7.4 solar mass worth of matter would be ejected by the central star into space.

However, we have never observationally accounted for the total amount of mass that has been ejected. Dr. Ueta and his collaborators recently attempted this by collecting data from X-ray to radio frequencies, analyzing them for each component (ionized, atomic, and molecular gases and dust grains), and using the results of the analyses as inputs and constraints for dusty photo-ionization modeling. He will discuss how that simple question turned out to be an epic.

Toshiya Ueta graduated with Ph.D. Astronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. After spending time as an assistant astronomer at the Royal Observatory of Belgium and as a U.S. National Research Council research associate and a NASA post-doctoral fellow at the SOFIA Science Office at the NASA Ames Research Center, Ueta joined the University of Denver in 2006 as an assistant professor and became an associate professor in 2012. His research interests include circumstellar phenomena such as mass loss and circumstellar wind and their effects on the chemical enrichment of the interstellar medium.

See more information about DAS General Meetings (parking, reception, etc.) HERE

Sep
29
Sat
2018
September Member In-Reach @ DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Sep 29 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Observing the Summer Triangle

Come to the next Member In-Reach on Saturday, September 29th, at 7:30 p.m. at Chamberlin.  Lisa Judd will be giving her annual fall talk on the Summer Triangle – yes, the Summer Triangle is most enjoyable in the fall (she’ll explain why).  Learn about how to find the deep-sky targets that are most famous in this part of the sky, and the constellations that we use to find them.  Weather permitting, we’ll be able to hunt them down on the lawn after the talk, or maybe even image them. Bring your equipment or borrow club binoculars for the evening.

Be sure to read and follow new mandatory guidelines for setting up equipment in Observatory Park.

Also, we’d like to put out the call for things that our membership would like to learn.  If you’ve got a topic that you’d like to present, there’s plenty of room for speakers with a particular talent, particular hardware, or particular area of expertise.  Or, if you have requests for particular subject matter, that’s always welcome too; for either, contact Lisa at lm_judd@hotmail.com.  So if you’re new to the hobby, come to learn; if you’re not new, come to help someone else learn.  As usual, bring nibble food, both sweet and salty, that’s handy at the eyepiece.

Oct
6
Sat
2018
Dark Sky Weekend @ EGK Dark Site
Oct 6 all-day

The Dark Sky Weekend begins on Friday evening and goes to early morning on Sunday. Saturday night is the most popular time.

See travel, access, orientation, use, and safety considerations on the EGK Web Page

PLEASE NOTE: Site orientations for DAS Members ONLY will be provided on the Dark Sky Weekend Saturday, approximately one hour before sundown.

Non-members who are not guests of members must contact the organizer for access, but only for Dark Sky Weekends. In general, large groups cannot be accommodated due to liability concerns.

 

Okie-Tex Star Party @ Camp Billy Joe
Oct 6 – Oct 14 all-day

The Okie-Tex Star Party is attended by many DAS members each year.

Oct
13
Sat
2018
DAS Open House – October 2018 @ DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Oct 13 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Observing Highlights for October, 2018:

Saturn, Mars, Crescent Moon, Uranus, Neptune, autumn planetary nebulae, star clusters and double stars.

 

 


INFORMATION FOR PARTICIPATING DAS VOLUNTEERS:

OBSERVATORY PARK VEHICLE ACCESS FOR
CHAMBERLIN OBSERVATORY OPEN HOUSES

NO WHEELS ON LAWN, EVEN PARTLY
Under ANY Circumstances.
ONLY 2 CARS AT A TIME ON DRIVEWAY OR TURN-AROUND

SET UP:
– 1 OR 2 CARS ENTER DRIVEWAY
– UNLOAD EQUIPMENT ON LAWN (DO NOT SET UP!)
– BOTH CARS TURN AROUND ON CIRCLE NEAR SOUTH DOOR
– LEAVE ON DRIVEWAY GOING FORWARD (DON’T BACK UP)
– RETURN TO PARK ON FOOT TO SET UP

TEAR DOWN:
– PACK UP EQUIPMENT (BEFORE ENTERING WITH VEHICLE!)
– 1 OR 2 CARS ENTER ON DRIVEWAY; LOAD EQUIPMENT
– BOTH CARS TURN AROUND ON CIRCLE NEAR SOUTH DOOR
– LEAVE DRIVEWAY GOING FORWARD (DON’T BACK UP)

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION!

Oct
20
Sat
2018
Member In-Reach – October 2018 @ DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Oct 20 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Collimation Workshop

The agenda for the October 2018 in-reach is a collimation workshop, which is most useful for users of Newtonian telescopes, including Dobsonians.  These are the type with the main mirror at the bottom of the tube, a smaller flat mirror near the top, and the eyepiece out the side.  The point of collimation is to align the mirrors correctly, so one can get the best possible use out of them for light-gathering capability.  Refractors (the type with all lenses) should never need alignment, and Cassegrains (the barrelly type with eyepiece at the bottom end) should rarely need it, but for reflectors (described above), it can sometimes become a regular activity, depending on how many washboard roads you drive over to get to your favorite observing site.

Collimation of both mirrors can be done in daylight, but collimating the primary can also be done at night using a star.  The weather outlook is good, so we can try both in a hands-on fashion.  So for those of you with newtonians, bring the tube into the observatory with you to learn how to twist the knobs, and set up the whole telescope outside when you feel confident.  DAS loaner scopes should also be available to experiment with, and there might be a little time to explore collimation of a Cassegrain.  Experienced members are also welcome to bring their reflectors, pair up with a learner, and show how you collimate your own; you’re also welcome to bring collimation tools that you like to use, though a learner should still be able to align mirrors without them.  As usual, bring snack food to share, and enjoy binocular checkout from the south entrance.