• NASA 2019: Return to Human Spaceflight

    Coykendall Science Building

    NASA will be making major strides to putting American astronauts into space. Seeking an alternative to using the Russian Soyuz craft, NASA’s partners are working on two different vehicles and launch systems. Launches and test flights scheduled for 2019 will be reviewed. Both SpaceX and Boeing plan several tests, including crewed missions later this year. The status of missions launched in 2018 including the Mars Insight Lander, the Parker Solar Probe, and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be also be reviewed. A bit about Dr. Willie Yee Dr. Yee is an amateur astronomer, past president and member of the Board of Directors of the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association. He presently is a Solar System Ambassador, a program supported by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Find out more about the program at: https://solarsystem1.jpl.nasa.gov/ssa/home.cfm

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  • MARCH Star Party

    Lake Taghkanic State Park

    Enjoy the night sky away from the bright lights of the towns and cities in our area! The night will be dark - perfect for star gazing. Bring your own telescopes and binoculars or use those provided by our members. A telescope is not required. RSVP is required at least one day beforehand. When you RSVP that you are attending, you will be asked to provide your license plate number and your make and model car. We need this to provide to the Park management who will then provide it to the State Police and State Park Police. If you are not on the list, you are not supposed to be there as we are there after park hours. If you are there and not on the list and the Police show up, the consequences can include revocation of our permit for after hours use. Please review our guide to star party etiquette if you have not been to one of our star parties before: https://files.meetup.com/2674222/MHAA%20Star%20Party%20Etiquette%20Guide.pdf As usual, we will be in the West Beach parking lot at Lake Taghkanic. You can see the Clear Sky Chart for Lake Taghkanic State Park at the address below. It will show various viewing conditions (cloud cover, transparency, darkness) as well as temperature, wind, etc. http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/LkTagNYkey.html Note: Winter and late Fall viewing conditions can be very clear - but also very cold. As you'll be standing around looking at the stars for a while you may feel even colder than otherwise when outdoors. Dress warmly and consider bringing extra layers in case you get colder as the night goes on. Keep in mind that it can be very cold at night by a lake, especially after standing around for a while. General advice for winter observing, at the lake or elsewhere, is to dress for 20 degrees colder than the forecast, and to dress in layers that you can add or take off as needed.

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  • Planetarium shows: free but tickets required

    John R. Kirk Planetarium

    The next Astronomy Night is this Thursday, March[masked]. Tickets for the planetarium shows will be available tonight at 8:00PM at our website: https://www.newpaltz.edu/planetarium/shows.html This week we have physics and astronomy major David Meer at the controls in the Planetarium. David says: “We often tell stories of Greek myths and gods when we view the constellations, but every culture looked up at the sky and told their own stories. In this show, we will be following the sky mythology of the most famous Norse god, Thor. This portion will feature the original A3P Spitz “starball” projector. Finally, we will be talking about the beloved and recently "deceased" Mars rover, Opportunity.” The first planetarium show will start at 6:30PM in the John R. Kirk Planetarium located in the Coykendall Science Building. The second planetarium show will start at 7:30PM (please see the start time printed on your ticket). Latecomers cannot be seated due to the darkened environment inside the Planetarium, so please arrive on time. Tickets presented after the start time listed on them are void. The Smolen Observatory will be open for viewing if the sky is clear from 7:30 – 9:30PM. As always you can call the observatory phone number at (845)[masked] to check the weather status. For more information and directions see our websites at http://www.newpaltz.edu/observatory/ and http://www.newpaltz.edu/planetarium/

  • A Musical Refuge Under the Stars

    John R. Kirk Planetarium

    Please join us for a very special planetarium show with live musical accompaniment by Music Department faculty member, Alex Peh, and his piano students. Recently, this ensemble performed the suite A Musical Refuge, which inspired the performers to pair the music with a visual background depicting the night sky and various celestial objects. We decided it would be perfect to bring this concept under the dome of the John R. Kirk Planetarium! This show will feature music by composers Philip Glass and Arvo Part performed live by Assistant Professor Peh and his piano students. The lush, cyclical patterns of Philip Glass’ "Four Movements for Two Pianos" and the tranquil refuge of Arvo Part’s "Spiegel im Spiegel" will serve as the backdrop for exploring the wonder of the night sky during this special event. Free tickets will be available on Tuesday, February 19 at 8 PM Visit our homepage to reserve tickets https://www.newpaltz.edu/planetarium/ Questions? Please contact Raj Pandya, Director, John R. Kirk Planetarium [masked] or[masked]

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  • Stellarium Workshop - Envision the Skies Anytime and Anywhere

    SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center

    This month's meeting is a hand's on workshop and will be held in the SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center in room 108. You are encouraged to bring your own laptops although some loaners will be available. Get a head start by downloading the software from www.stellarium.org. Stellarium is free software that can show you what the sky looks like from anywhere on Earth (and even other planets) for any time and day. Stellarium is used in the Kirk Planetarium at SUNY New Paltz, but you can also run it on your own personal computer. This meeting, which will be run as an interactive workshop, will introduce you how to navigate, control, and customize Stellarium, followed by a selection of more advanced topics, such as installing pre-made landscapes, creating new landscapes, and using the Ocular plugin to simulate what you would see in a particular model of telescope. You are encouraged to bring your own laptop so you can download and try Stellarium in real time. Some loaner laptops will be available, and we can also pair people up, so that everybody gets a chance to give it a try. The workshop will be held in SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center in room 108, starting at 8:00 PM. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend -- you don't have to me a member of MHAA. As usual, there will be an MHAA business meeting beforehand, starting at 7:30 PM. Event leader: Eric Myers is a physicist at SUNY New Paltz. He previously taught astronomy at Marist College, where he used Stellarium for homework assignments. He has published several Stellarium landscapes, including one for the Walkway Over the Hudson. At this workshop he will debut a new "Vade Mecum" for Stellarium

  • Planetarium shows: free but tickets required

    John R. Kirk Planetarium

    Astronomy Night is back! Our first show of the semester is this Thursday, February 7, 2019. Tickets for the planetarium shows will be available tonight at 8:00PM at our website: https://www.newpaltz.edu/planetarium/shows.html This week we will explore the winter night sky, chock-full of bright stars and iconic constellations. We will also take a close look at the mysterious Kuiper Belt object “Ultima Thule.” This space rock was recently visited by the New Horizons spacecraft after its rendezvous with Pluto. The odd shape and surface features of Ultima Thule pose interesting questions that help us learn about the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago. The first planetarium show will start at 6:30PM in the John R. Kirk Planetarium located in the Coykendall Science Building. The second planetarium show will start at 7:30PM (please see the start time printed on your ticket). Latecomers cannot be seated due to the darkened environment inside the Planetarium, so please arrive on time. Tickets presented after the start time listed on them are void. For more information and directions see our websites at http://www.newpaltz.edu/observatory/ and http://www.newpaltz.edu/planetarium/

  • February Star Party

    Lake Taghkanic State Park

    Enjoy the night sky away from the bright lights of the towns and cities in our area! The night will be dark - perfect for star gazing. Bring your own telescopes and binoculars or use those provided by our members. A telescope is not required. RSVP is required at least one day beforehand. As a reminder, when you RSVP that you are attending, you will be asked to provide your license plate number and your make and model car. We need this to provide to the Park management who will then provide it to the State Police and State Park Police. If you are not on the list, you are not supposed to be there as we are there after park hours. If you are there and not on the list and the Police show up, the consequences can include revocation of our permit for after hours use. Please review our guide to star party etiquette if you have not been to one of our star parties before: https://files.meetup.com/2674222/MHAA%20Star%20Party%20Etiquette%20Guide.pdf As usual, we will be in the West Beach parking lot at Lake Taghkanic. You can see the Clear Sky Chart for Lake Taghkanic State Park at the address below. It will show various viewing conditions (cloud cover, transparency, darkness) as well as temperature, wind, etc. http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/LkTagNYkey.html Note: Winter and late Fall viewing conditions can be very clear - but also very cold. As you'll be standing around looking at the stars for a while you may feel even colder than otherwise when outdoors. Dress warmly and consider bringing extra layers in case you get colder as the night goes on.

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  • Introduction to Photographing the Night Sky

    Coykendall Science Building Auditorium

    Join us for our first monthly gathering of 2019. CE Raum will be presenting some of his experiments, discoveries and learnings on his journey into astrophotography (and how to make it small and light enough to fit on his motorcycle). Modern DSLR cameras have made astrophotography more accessible than ever. With just a camera, sturdy tripod and a little planning anyone can make beautiful pictures of the night sky. CE will explain some of the underlying science of modern camera sensors, lens behavior and the history of astrophotography. And will also demystify the post process. With a few simple techniques, noisy and dull images can be transformed into works of art. From star trails and the Milky Way to interesting galaxies and nebulae, we will discuss what you can shoot with the equipment you have. And how, once mastered, long exposure photography can bring joy even when the sky is cloudy. We will also be taking your questions and suggestions for topics and speakers for the coming year. What mysteries of the universe shall we explore? A bit about CE: Relatively new to astrophotography, CE has a background in advertising and video post production technologies. He has worked globally with software companies, advertising agencies, content distributors and producers to design collaborative solutions that let creative people work better and faster. Newly elected as VP and Membership director, he is very excited to be responsible for creating a compelling speaker schedule and exploring ways to grow our community.

  • January Star Party

    Lake Taghkanic State Park

    Enjoy the night sky away from the bright lights of the towns and cities in our area! The night will be dark - perfect for star gazing. Bring your own telescopes and binoculars or use those provided by our members. A telescope is not required. RSVP is required at least one day beforehand. As a reminder, when you RSVP that you are attending, you will be asked to provide your license plate number and your make and model car. We need this to provide to the Park management who will then provide it to the State Police and State Park Police. If you are not on the list, you are not supposed to be there as we are there after park hours. If you are there and not on the list and the Police show up, the consequences can include revocation of our permit for after hours use. Please review our guide to star party etiquette if you have not been to one of our star parties before: https://files.meetup.com/2674222/MHAA%20Star%20Party%20Etiquette%20Guide.pdf As usual, we will be in the West Beach parking lot at Lake Taghkanic. You can see the Clear Sky Chart for Lake Taghkanic State Park at the address below. It will show various viewing conditions (cloud cover, transparency, darkness) as well as temperature, wind, etc. http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/LkTagNYkey.html Note: Winter and late Fall viewing conditions can be very clear - but also very cold. As you'll be standing around looking at the stars for a while you may feel even colder than otherwise when outdoors. Dress warmly and consider bringing extra layers in case you get colder as the night goes on.

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  • Winter Holiday Party and Member Presentations

    Coykendall Science Building Auditorium

    Time for our annual club party. We meet in the usual place, have a very brief business meeting, and follow up with several brief presentations by members, including an astronomical magic show. In addition, there will be a free drawing for a number of books of astronomical interest, highlighted by a three volume set of Burnham's Celestial Handbook and the two volume Night Sky Observer's Guide. Bring finger food, non-alcoholic beverage, or holiday goodies to share after the presentations.