VBAS Calendar

February 2018
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

APOD
Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD

Monte Sano State Park

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Von Braun Astronomical Society

February 2018 Planetarium Shows

We Host a Public Planetarium Show Every Saturday in the Wernher von Braun Planetarium that Begins at 7:30 PM

NASA Messenger Mission Artist ConceptThe Messenger Mission to Mercury - Saturdays, February 3, 10, & 24  at 7:30 PM

The Messenger Mission to Mercury. How we got to that ball of fire and ice and what we learned about its surface and atmosphere. Starting with design and building the MESSENGER spacecraft, floating through interplanetary space, and finishing with orbiting the planet to send home the data. As an added bonus, we will discuss real estate locations for a vacation home on Mercury. Presented by Tom Burleson, VBAS President.

 

Winter Skies - Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 PM 

Rosette Nebula by Don Reed/VBAS Imaging TeamOrion and a trip around the "Winter Circle" or "Winter Hexagon" including a few more Winter Constellations. We will start with Orion, and then move to Canis Major, Puppis, Monoceros, Hydra, Cancer, Canis Minor, Gemini, Auriga, and finally Taurus. There will planetary nebula (one in front of an open cluster), several objects near Canis Minor, planetary nebulae in Gemini, open star clusters in Gemini, Auriga, and Taurus, a supernova remnant known as the Crab Nebula, and finally a compact galaxy group in Eridanus. There will be many breath taking views, some rare galaxies, and where to find these constellations in the sky with our planetarium dome. Come listen to VBAS Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek talk about the Winter Sky that evening.

Remember that if weather permits, there will be telescopes open for viewing.

If you have your own telescope, feel free to set it up after the show. If you need some assistance with setting up or operation your telescope, our ever helpful observing crew will try to help you  so that you can better enjoy the night sky.

Admission for Saturday Planetarium Shows:

Admission is $5 for Adults, $3 for Students, and free for children under 6, as well as VBAS members. Weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to look at some of the wonders of the universe through our telescopes following the planetarium program with the help of our experienced and knowledgeable observing crew.

For information about our Planetarium shows, as well as special group scheduling, and pricing, please contact our Planetarium Director,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or our Director of Education and Programs,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Monthly Society Meeting

Horsehead Nebula

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting is Friday, February 16 at 7:30 PM. Pizza at 7:00 PM.

If Astrophotography is your passion you won't want to miss our monthly society meeting on 16 Feb. Myself and Frank Schenck will give a power point presentation on astrophotography covering such topics as polar aligning your telescope, capturing images and post processing techniques. Following the presentation we will have a live software demonstration of The Sky X, Maxim DL and Photoshop. We'll have pizza at 7:00 pm and the presentation will begin at 7:30. I hope to see everyone there!

Don Reed

Vice-President

 

New Books in the Library

Written by Administrator Sunday, 26 November 2017 20:49

Our Librarians, Jeff Bennett and Amanda Campbell have acquired some new books for the Library. Please click on the Library link in the menu above and check them out.

   

A Brief VBAS History

Written by Al Reisz Sunday, 07 November 2010 20:45

 

In 1954 Huntsville High School student Sam Pruitt wrote a letter asking Dr. von Braun, then at Redstone Arsenal, to build an observatory for school children interested in astronomy. Von Braun didn’t hesitate in organizing his colleagues, students and others in the community to build our observatory on Monte Sano. Von Braun was our society’s first president [then known as the Rocket City Astronomical Association (RCAA)]. After his death we re-named our society in his honor. VBAS is an astronomical society for amateur and professional astronomers. VBAS is a special astronomical society in that our origins began with the citizens who fervently believed in space exploration before it began. In the early 1960s NASA scientists used the telescopes at VBAS to help select lunar landing sites for the Apollo program. VBAS history is storied with space exploration pioneers such as Oberth, von Braun, Stuhlinger, Swanson and Angele. Many of our members were involved in developing the Saturn V, the rocket that sent the Apollo astronauts to walk on and explore the Moon. Our planetarium has a shield of the Saturn V third stage fuel tank top half serving as our projection dome. VBAS is a society that provides the public with opportunities for telescopic viewing of the night sky. We have astronomy programs, star parties and astronomy related special events. Still true to our beginnings we continue to give presentations in astronomy and star tours to student and other groups. We welcome those of you with interests in exploring the stars to join us.

26 June 57 The Rocket City Astronomical Association (now the Von Braun Astronomical Society) put out the first edition of the locally edited Space Journal, a new magazine dealing with space travel and the astrosciences. The first issue was dedicated to Dr. Hermann Oberth, who is known as the

26 June 57 The Rocket City Astronomical Association (now the Von Braun Astronomical Society) put out the first edition of the locally edited Space Journal, a new magazine dealing with space travel and the astrosciences. The first issue was dedicated to Dr. Hermann Oberth, who is known as the "father of astronautics." Left to right: Dr. Hermann Oberth, Dr. Wernher von Braun, RCAA (VBAS) President, and Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger.

VBAS is the second observatory that Wernher von Braun was instrumental in building. As a student at the Lietz boys high school that he attended in Berlin, at the school’s North Sea campus on the island Spiekeroog, he influenced the school to buy a telescope and build a small observatory in 1927. He selected a reflector with a 95-mm objective lens.

Al Reisz,

Past-President

   
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