Upcoming Events

Fri Feb 13 @ 6:00PM
RAC Observing Session (RACOBS)
Thu Feb 19 @ 7:00PM
RAC Imaging Meeting
Sat Feb 21 @ 7:00PM
Public Observing Session - North Cary Park
Thu Feb 26 @ 7:00PM
RAC Meeting: X-Rays From Neutron Stars and Black Holes
Sat Feb 28 @ 5:30PM
Equipment Clinic

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Announcements

The next RAC Observing Session (RACOBS) will be on Friday, February 13th, 2015 at 6:00pm. Check back after 5 PM on the day of the observing session for go/no-go status and times.

 

The next Indoor Meeting will be on Thursday, February 26, and will feature Dr John Blondin from the North Carolina State University talking about X-Rays From Neutron Stars and Black Holes.

The meeting will be at 7:00 PM in the Environmental Conference Center on the Fourth Floor of the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.

 

RAC members, for a list of up coming Public Observing Events for which you can volunteer to support, please click > HERE

January RACOBS - Night of the Comet

We got January off to a good start with over 20 club members and guests attending our monthly observing session at Big Woods. Comet Lovejoy was a popular target and easily found next to the Pleiades. Alan Dyer, a Canadian astronomy writer, produced this beautiful image of Comet Lovejoy and the Pleiades.

Comet Lovejoy next to Pleiades - Alan Dyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January Meeting: Black Holes - Past, Present & Future

SteveChristensen, Ph.D. provided a very engaging presentation on back holes to almost 50 members and guests in attendance at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.  The presentation was also streamed live via the club's Google + account and is available for viewing on the club's YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/x3EqklJbDCg.

The presentation covered many aspects of black holes
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December Meeting: NASA Launch Weather Forecasting

Speaker: Tony Rice

Our December meeting featured an excellent presentation on NASA Launch Weather Forecasting by local NASA Solar System Ambassador, Tony Rice. Astronomers obviously need clear night skies to get anything done and spend a lot of time studying weather forecasts of frontal boundaries, cloud cover, winds aloft and airmass moisture. To send a space mission on its way, NASA does all that and much more. Tony walked us through other weather factors that govern a launch such as temperature, lightening risk and where winds will carry debris and toxic materials in event of a disaster.

Tony Rice - Launch Weather Forecasting

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Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P

In mid-November, the European Space Agency successfully landed a washing machine sized probe, named Philae, on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Philae, and its mothership probe Rosetta, began their long journey to the comet ten years ago atop an Ariane 5G rocket launched from French Guiana.

Reaching this comet was not an easy task and took 3 flybys of Earth and one of Mars to use gravity assist to pick up the speed necessary to rendezvous with 67P. Rosetta has traveled 4 billion miles to reach the comet just inside the orbit of Jupiter. Along the way, Rosetta passed near the asteroids Steins and Lutetia and radio'd back images of these objects - some of the closest ever taken of asteroids.

The image on the left shows a scale model of comets 67P (left) and Siding-Spring (right) next to Los Angeles. The image on the right was taken from Rosetta of Comet 67P last May as the probe approached the comet. Comet 67P is the smudge in the red square just below image center. The globular cluster M107 is prominent near the left edge of the main image. M107 orbits the central hub of our galaxy.

Comet size comparison

Comet 67P and M107 from Rosetta

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October RACOBS was a success
The clouds couldn't beat human curiousity for the October RACOBS.   The night started with more than 50% cloud cover but slowly improved.  By 9pm, plenty of objects were available for observing.  Among the approximately 20 attendees were members old and new, guests who have never peered through a telescope and a local Cub Scout Troop.  Attendance started to dwindle by 11p and the observing session came to a close soon after.  Thanks to all club members who graciously provided telesope time to other members and the public who showed up for the "Cloudy RACOBS".
 
RAC At The ASTC 2014 Conference

The Raleigh Astronomy Club participated in the ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) 2014 Annual Conference this past weekend. This in an international conference and this year it was hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The conference was held at the Raleigh Convention Center and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. RAC was enlisted to provide help for both the welcome party and the museum open house day. Members provided both daytime (solar) and nighttime observing for the attendees. Many thanks to the RAC members who provided great views for everyone, especially those that worked late into Saturday night/Sunday AM!

Evening Observing at ASTC Welcome Party Solar Observing at ASTC Museum Open House Day
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