Thursday, March 28, 2013

Astronomy Sketch

Generally when people think of amateur astronomy they think of visually looking through a telescope, perhaps naked eye astronomy, binocular astronomy or even astrophotography. However this misses an important skill: making a sketch of what you see in the telescope. Learning how to do this will make you a better observer.

There is this article that describes this process: "Sketch the Skies and Improve your Eyes." by Mark Deprest Printed in Reflections: January, 1997.

Also here is a site with many astronomy sketches: Astronomy Sketch of the Day.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Open Houses at Peach Mountain

After hibernating for the winter, we have two open houses scheduled at Peach Mountain....

Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Saturday, March 16, 2013.

(either one may be cancelled if it is cloudy or too cold).

What is it?

Peach Mountain is a facility owned by the University of Michigan and is located within Stinchfield Woods (a wood lot owned by the University about four miles from Dexter, Michigan). There is a radio telescope and other equipment on Peach Mountain operated by various departments in the University. There is also a 24 inch optical telescope operated by an amateur astronomy club known as the “University Lowbrow Astronomers.”

The public has the opportunity to look through the 24 inch telescope and other telescopesMembers of the club often bring their own telescopes and visitors are also encouraged to bring their own telescopes and setup before its dark. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own binoculars.

When is it open?

Open houses begin at sunset. If conditions are unusually cold or if it is cloudy, the open house may be canceled. If in doubt, call (734) 975-3248 after 4 PM the day of the event to determine the status. Closing time is season dependent: 11:00 PM in winter, later for the rest of the year. Peach Mountain often gets quite cold, dress warmly. In warm weather mosquitoes can be a problem, so do not forget insect repellent.

(Go here for a calendar of open houses and other astronomy events.)

How do I get there? & Guidelines for Lowbrows and Guests

See Open Houses at Peach Mountain

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS)

We have the first of two bright comets for 2013 near to closest approach this month. Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) should be at maximum brightness on March 10 (give or take a few days). For more information look at...

Keep in mind that comets are often unpredictable, they can be brighter or dimmer than expected. Also the best time to look for a comet isn't necessarily at maximum brightness (since it might be low in the sky or even below the horizon at that point). That will vary by where you are viewing the comet from.

The other bright comet is Comet ISON. It is expected to be at it is brightest in November. We'll get better information on ISON over the next few months.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ann Arbor Optical Society of America Meeting

Please join the AA OSA Next Tuesday (March 12) for our 2013 National OSA Speaker Lecture - Dr. H. Philip Stahl of NASA Marshall SFC - "The James Webb Space Telescope: The First Light Machine".  The lecture promises to be very interesting and informative.  We look forward to seeing everyone there.

Flyer for this event