Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Life Around the Smallest Stars

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

posted by: bueter

Planets around red dwarf.

On Monday, April 21, 2014, astronomer Justin Crepp of University of Notre Dame will be the guest speaker at the Michiana Astronomical Society regular meeting, held at 7 PM in the Lion’s Room of the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library at 209 Lincolway East in Mishawaka, IN. Dr. Crepp studies exoplanets, with particular interest in the nearby M-class variety of stars that may harbor earth-like planets. His talk is titled, “The M-dwarf Opportunity: Life Around the Smallest Stars.”

A write-up and details are at http://www.nightwise.org/blog/life-around-smallest-stars/. There’s also a link to an admittedly-not-printer-friendly poster if you wish to download, print, and post it publicly.

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Lunar Eclipse Shadows

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

posted by: bueter

Penumbra and umbra

Earth casts two shadows

Doing any public outreach for the total lunar eclipse on April 15, 2014?  Yes, the hours are a bit harsh for Michiana observers, with the moon entering the umbral shadow at 1:58 a.m. EDT.  Eclipse maps always depict two circular shadows behind earth, though most people can only discern the darker umbral shadow.

To simulate the pair of shadows cast by the earth you need a source of light that has some dimension, or two separated sources of light.  The Lunar Eclipse Shadows activity illustrates the resultant penumbra and umbra.  If you’re outside with a crowd observing the lunar eclipse, this activity works especially well if you use car headlights.

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Seeing Green From Space

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

posted by: bueter

A big green star

Is the sun really green?  (The answer will likely surprise you.)  Then why don’t we see green stars?  And how is alcohol relevant to the center of our galaxy?

Seeing Little Green Things from Space on St. Patrick’s Day —
Without Even Drinking Anything!

Monday, March 17, 2014, at 7 PM
In the downtown Mishawaka Public Library, 209 Lincoln Way East

The Michiana Astronomical Society is going green astronomy, opening its regular meeting on St. Patrick’s Day with astronomer and STEM educator Jim Sweitzer via Skype.  Details at http://www.nightwise.org/blog/green-things-space/.  It’s a good day for a mind-bender.

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Astronomy Events Challenge Spring Fever

Monday, February 24th, 2014

posted by: bueter

Calendar of astronomy events for March 2014

The March 2014 calendar of Michiana astronomy events will jolt you out of hibernation and stir your soul as spring approaches. Observe Jupiter and its moons through telescopes at several locations; watch the premiere of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey at Fiddler’s Hearth; and See Little Green Things from Space on St. Patrick’s Day — Without Even Drinking Anything! at the regular meeting of the Michiana Astronomical Society.  Details linked from http://www.nightwise.org/blog/spring-fever-michiana-astronomy/.

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2014 AstroCamp is Looking Up

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

posted by: bueter

2014 AstroCamp flyer

AstroCamp is an astronomy adventure for kids ages 9-13 at YMCA Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers, MI. Registration is now open for the 2014 session on July 20-26. It’s a weeklong summer camp with emphasis on learning constellations, getting hands on telescopes, and targeting deep sky objects. Kids also enjoy the regular camp activities on the shore of beautiful Corey Lake. Space (at AstroCamp) is limited.

I invite you to download, post, and distribute the 2014 AstroCamp flyer.

If you are an astronomy buff and want to spend some time–whether a few hours or few days–sharing your passion for the night sky, I encourage you to consider being part of the staff for either day or night portions of AstroCamp.  More information is at www.astrocamp.us.

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Telescope Viewing at “Sun Rings”

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

posted by: bueter

Jupiter's Moons

Plasma waves detected by the Voyager spacecraft have inspired a pairing of the sounds of space and the live music of the Kronos Quartet.  Michiana Astronomical Society Inc. (MAS) is partnering with the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame for the Kronos Quartet production of Sun Rings on Saturday, March 1, 2014.  Before and after the 7:30 p.m. concert, MAS members will set up telescopes outside DeBartolo to target celestial highlights like Jupiter and its Galilean moons. Come see for yourself the visible wavelengths from a grand denizen of the solar system before heading into the theater to hear the sound extracted from plasma waves detected by the Voyager.  More info and links at http://www.nightwise.org/blog/telescopes-precede-kronos-quartet/.

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Our 2013 Comet Experience

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

posted by: bueter

Buggy Comet Model

Michiana embraces astronomy education and public outreach, and the approach and demise of Comet ISON was an example of such community support. At http://cometfestival.com/index.php/events/winding-down/ is a summary of the comet experience, including dry ice comets, all-school assemblies, Google+ Hangouts with astronomers, food and beverage specials, a community treasure hunt, music, and several art exhibits. A linked video, also at http://youtu.be/wYJ_RnWjOvs, blasts through images from the 2013 Comet Festival.  Choose your own music and crank it during the video.

Thanks to all who supported the celebration of science. Even though we knew and announced up front that the comet may not survive its close encounter with sun, as it did not, adult and student participants alike recognized that’s the nature of the beast and embraced the uncertainty anyway.  Regardless of Comet ISON’s outcome, we learned much about comets and ourselves alike.

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Comet Festival Ramps Up

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

posted by: bueter

telescope at sunrise

Observing Comet ISON with small telescope

Comet ISON has had a recent outburst, just as the Comet Festival starts to ramp up in South Bend, IN. Today at 6:30 p.m., astronomer Martin Ratcliffe will speak about comets at the PHM Digital Video Theater. See http://cometfestival.com/index.php/events/comet-or-bust/.   An avid astrophotographer, Ratcliffe captured ISON’s splintering tail in stunning detail, which he’ll show at the Comet or Bust program.

Much else is happening with the Comet Festival, as suggested by the following links:

I invite you to check in often as the line-up continues to grow.  Some events are underway.  For example, the Potawatomi Zoo has a Tail End of the Season program (http://cometfestival.com/index.php/events/tail-end-season/) that features the characteristics of tails both for animals and for comets, but their last day of the season is December 1, 2013.

Next up: Over 20,000 students in the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC) have made comet-themed art, of which 10 pieces from each of 33 schools go on display at the Colfax Cultural Center.  Nearly all SBCSC schools had full assemblies (http://cometfestival.com/index.php/events/comets-schools/) to introduce the students to Comet ISON.

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ND Physics’ Chris Howk Lecture Nov 14 Andrews University

Monday, November 11th, 2013

posted by: Tom Loughran

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The Universe Within Us

Friday, October 18th, 2013

posted by: bueter

Nucleosynthesis

Dr. Micha Kilburn will present “The Universe Within Us” on Monday, October 21, at 7 PM in the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library at 209 Lincoln Way East, Mishawaka.

The iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, and even the gold in our jewelry has an “out of this world” story that you won’t want to miss.  At the regular meeting of the Michiana Astronomical Society, Dr. Micha Kilburn, Outreach Coordinator for the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA) will discuss nuclear processes occurring in stars, supernovae and other celestial realms.

The talk will begin after some regular club business opens the meeting.

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