TAS General Meeting, May 22, 2020
Online Virtual Meeting via ZOOM
The May General Meeting of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas will be an online virtual meeting via ZOOM. The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm. CDT. Members in good standing of Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas will receive an email notification containing information about how to join the virtual meeting.
Dr. Phil Marshall to Present at the TAS Virtual General Meeting
Friday, May 22, 2020 at 7:30 pm via Zoom
The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, on a mountaintop in Chile, will house a survey telescope that will image the night sky faster and deeper than ever before. Its camera, at 3.6 Gigapixels, will be the biggest digital camera ever built. The Rubin Observatory will be able to image the entire visible sky every few nights, and build up, over 10 years, a 900-frame full color movie of the deep night sky. This will enable a wide variety of scientific explorations, from the outer reaches of our Solar System, through our Milky Way Galaxy and its dark matter halo, and out into the extra-galactic universe, where we hope to see new types of cosmic explosions and the weird effects of the mysterious Dark Energy. Dr. Marshall will give a guided tour of the Rubin Observatory, describe the planned sky survey, discuss the challenges of doing astronomy at petabyte scale, and show how we can all take part in Rubin's voyage of discovery.
Phil Marshall is a Senior Staff Scientist at Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. His research interests are in observational cosmology using gravitational lensing: weighing galaxies, and measuring the expansion rate of the Universe. He is a member of several collaborations developing new methods to take advantage of the enormous flow of data from the Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he first got interested in techniques for measuring astronomical objects that we may not be able to observe directly. He is currently Deputy Director of Operations for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.
A Word from the President
May 16, 2020
Dear TAS Members,
I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are well and that you are finding ways to safely interact with friends and family in spite of all the difficulties the pandemic has ushered into our daily routines.
The TAS BOD, Appointees, and Volunteers are continually collaborating to develop business continuity strategy for our organization through the use of virtual technology. This now facilitates our Board of Directors business meetings, Special Interest Group Meetings, and General Meetings. Our V.P., Dodie Reagan, has worked hard to line up some interesting speakers for our upcoming monthly meetings. Our Newsletter Editor, Maggie Hutchison and her sidekick Dave Hutchison have transitioned the production of our Spectrum Newsletter onto a new platform to streamline the task of assembling content. Frank Castanho and Dave Hutchison have conducted a number of Special Interest Group meetings. I applaud or leadership team for stepping up and making a swift and productive transition to virtual technology in a very short time period. This has allowed TAS to stay in touch with the membership and maintain a sense of community.
In spite of the inclement weather TAS volunteers have also made great progress on our bunkhouse construction project at the Atoka under Dark Site Manager Glenn Fitzgerald’s stewardship. The steel reinforced concrete slab has been poured, the bunkhouse structure was secured to the concrete slab, gravel was laid to sustain ingress and egress around the building, buried power was run from our 200A service to the breaker panel installed inside the bunkhouse structure, internal wiring of the structure to outlets, lights, ceiling fans and air handler are all roughed in, and the installation of a mini-split HVAC system was completed. The final concrete work including the patio and emergency exit landing should complete the week of May 17, weather permitting.
There are a few additional tasks to be performed to finish out the interior. We will be soliciting volunteers to help with installing insulation, paneling, flooring, and light fixtures in the coming weeks. Please reach out to me or Glenn if you are interested in helping with these tasks.
The pandemic situation continues to weigh heavy on our minds. As our federal, state, and local governments begin to convey their recommendations, strategies and plans to “re-open” our economy, so is your Board of Directors working out recommendations, strategies and plans to incrementally resume TAS business operations. This month’s Board of Directors Meeting will focus on how we move forward to support the TAS mission through meetings, education and public outreach activities, and Atoka Dark Site access. We are carefully examining the latest information and guidelines provided by the CDC and state health departments. These will serve to guide our decisions and direction as we draft the operational plans necessary to insure member safety as we carefully resume some level o normalcy. The information from our governmental sources is fluid and changes frequently. The BOD plans will need to be flexible to accommodate the nature of this dynamic situation. We will strive to keep you informed as these strategies and plans firm up over the coming weeks.
Gary J. Carter
President, Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
About the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
The Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas was chartered in 1955 to promote interest and research, and to give instruction in the science of astronomy and related disciplines. Membership is open to anyone having an interest in astronomy and related subjects and includes benefits such as a our monthly newsletter, discounts to the top astronomy magazines, access to our dark sky observing site and many more.
Our annual membership dues are very reasonable and can be paid on-line using the PayPal link listed below. Membership is open to anyone having an interest in Astronomy and the night sky.
Please visit the Club Information section for more on TAS.
New members can download the New Members Handbook from the Members Only Section of the website.Follow @TASObserve
We invite you to further explore our website for more information and hope you consider becoming a member of our Society. TAS is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, donations to which would be tax deductable for U.S. taxpayers under IRS rules. Donations may be given by using our secure PayPal site and indicating "donation" on the form.
Thank you for your gracious support of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas.
The latest issue of our award-winning monthly newsletter, the Spectrum, can be downloaded below.
Back issues are available under "Features->Spectrum Newsletter" in the main menu.
TAS Recurring Star Parties
TAS holds 4 regular monthly Star Parties where our members get together to observe and educate about the night sky. Come join us to look at planets, stars, and other celestial wonders. The monthly Star Party schedule is as follows:
Our full schedule of activities is on our calendar. Please come out and join us or volunteer at one of our events.Please call the Public Observing Hot Line at 214-800-6000 for the latest cancellation information.
Visit the members' discussion forum to discuss astro-type stuff with fellow TAS members.
Visit the Members Only section for access to:
Constellation of the Month: June: Scorpius
TAS is now 600
members strong....why not become a part of our family?
TAS is a member of
The World's Largest Federation of Amateur Astronomers AND the
Three column web layout courtesy of Matthew James Taylor
Sun, Moon, and Tonight's Sky
| Richardson, TX
(times in CDT):
Sunrise today: 6:19am
Sunset today: 8:33pm
Moonrise today: 8:44pm
Moonset today: 6:11am
99% of moon illuminated
Click the above image for a chart. Popup blockers must be disabled. Chart courtesy of Fourmilab Switzerland.
| Major Planets and Moon Charts
Bright Minor Planet Charts
Observable Comet Charts
Magnitudes observed within the last 5 days:
Minor planet and comet lists, and corresponding orbital elements, are courtesy of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Charts courtesy of Fourmilab Switzerland
Special Interest Groups
APSIG (Astrophotography Special Interest Group) is sponsored by the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas, Texas.
APSIG meets once a month to share information and learn more about the art and science of Astrophotography -- taking photographs of objects in the night sky such as planets, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Imaging these celestial objects requires special techniques and equipment, but are attainable by anyone willing to point their camera skyward. Come learn how! For more information on APSIG just follow this link...
ATMSIG (Amateur Telescope Makers Special Interest Group) is sponsored by the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas, Texas.
The ATMSIG meets every other month to explore the design, construction and adjustment of both do it yourself and professionally built telescopes. Anyone interested in building their first scope will find this group a big help in finding the best place to start. You don’t need to have a well equipped workshop, just a few simple tools and an interest in building or modifying it yourself. The ATMSIG is a wonderful place to see projects built locally by TAS members and to share new ideas for the future! For more information, just follow this link...