The Albuquerque Astronomical Society
Observe, Educate, Have Fun
Home GNTO LoanerScopes Calendar Newsletter
About TAAS Photo Gallery Educational Outreach Telescope Loaner Program Equipment Trader Solar Astronomy TAAS 200 TAAS Fabulous 50 Dark Sky TAAS Talk Membership & Meetings Lunar Observing

For information about activities or learning about membership, read the About TAAS page. or contact us at

phone: 505-254-TAAS (254-8227).
P.O. Box 50581, Albuquerque, NM - USA 87181-0581

TAAS and Astronomy Magazine

Astronomy magazine has chosen The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) as the winner of its 2011 Out-of-this-world Award for outstanding public programming.

Observe, Educate, Have Fun

photo: John Laning
Last Minute Announcements

No current announcements
Current moon phase

What's Up?
For rise/set times of the Moon, Sun and Planets Click here.

GNTONew Moon/TAAS 200 Scavenger Hunt (members and guests)

April 18, 2015

GNTO - NEW MOON/TAAS 200 SCAVENGER HUNT (Members and guests)

Saturday, April 18

Saturday, April 18th is the New Moon event at GNTO, and we are offering TAAS members and their guests a Scavenger Hunt in the sky in which astronomers interested in (re-)familiarizing themselves with the TAAS 200 list can view some of its spring beauties!

What comes after the Messier List? Astronomy is a progression of discovery--the Moon and the easily viewable planets, then the Messiers and learning the constellations in the process. About 18 years ago, TAAS made a list of other important deep-sky objects and called it the TAAS 200, a treasure now also used by other astronomy clubs.

Join your fellow members for a night of discovery--and happy hunting!

For detailed information click here.

Observer SIG Meeting- TAAS Members

April 21, 2015

OBSERVER SIG (Members and Guests)


This is your opportunity to put those observing skills to use that you learned at the last meeting during Dee's lecture on "Navigating the Night Sky". The interested parties will be meeting at the Ben Greiner Sports Field parking lot to set up telescopes and find those elusive deep-sky objects that we all long to capture in our sights. Directions to the Ben Greiner Sports Field parking lot are in the map at the link. You may call Jim Fordice at 505-803-3640, if you have any questions



April 25, 2015



What better way to celebrate April than with a TAAS/Open Space Visitor Center star party--April showers are not welcome at this party!

The evening event will begin with astronomical activities and proceed to our featured speaker, Dr. Tom Prettyman on "Vesta in Perspective/First Glimpses of Ceres" at 7:00pm in the Kiva Room. The sun will be setting at about 7:30pm, allowing observing in the deepening twilight with the highlights of the NM spring sky. TAAS telescopes of all types and sizes will present views of our skies, and TAAS members will be eager to share their knowledge of astronomy and telescopes. As the stars pop out, there will be a guided tour of the constellations.


The Dawn spacecraft was the first to travel to and orbit two solar system bodies, Vesta and Ceres, both in the main asteroid belt. Dawn was also the first to take a close-up look at an icy, dwarf planet. With Dawn's orbital mission at Ceres and New Horizon's upcoming flyby of Pluto, 2015 will be celebrated as the year of the dwarf planet. To kick off our party, Prettyman willreview what we know about small bodies in our solar system and anticipate what we might learn as Dawn explores Ceres.

Tom Prettyman is a co-Investigator on the NASA Dawn mission and team lead for Dawn's Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND). He is a fellow of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program, for which he is investigating methods to map comet and asteroid interiors. In 2014, he was honored by the International Astronomical Union with the designation of minor planet 24994 Prettyman.

See map and video below


Solar Observing Event

April 25, 2015

Saturday, April 25th - 2:00-5:00pm - Open Space Visitor Center

In connection with the Open Space Visitor Center Public star party this same evening, the Solar Outreach Team will have an observing event to examine our star--the Sun!

Return at 6:00pm for the activities, speaker and observing as our star retreats for the night...see the OSVC star party article for map to the location.

TAAS General Meeting - Saturday, May 2nd

May 2, 2015

TAAS General Meeting

Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 7:00pm

Science & Math Learning Center - UNM

"Collimation! What it is and why your telescope needs it"

Do you long to have your telescope show you the perfect image, but the word "collimation" makes you think that, if you attempt it, you will never see any image again? According to Barry Spletzer: "Collimation is simply aligning the optics of our telescopes. Do I really expect you to sit through 40 minutes on how to fiddle with those three little screws in the back of your scope? Of course not. I took this assignment because I cannot think of another subject in amateur astronomy more prone to opinion, mythology, and superstition. My goal is to dispel some of the myths with sound science and show what is important and what's not."

To get us all on a sound footing, Barry will start out with the very basics of optics and image formation. With that, he will examine how collimation, or the lack of it, affects the image we see. Next, a discussion of the practical and theoretical limits of collimation so that we have a concrete goal in mind. Then it's on to hardware and techniques, examining several approaches to collimation using a variety of special, but not necessarily expensive or complicated, equipment. In the end, you will understand how to get the best image out of your telescope with minimal effort and equipment.

See below for bio and map


Amateur Telescope Making/Maintenance

May 6, 2015


Next session - Wednesday, May 6th

TAAS has a wonderful special interest group-Amateur Telescope Making/Maintenance-which meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month (see our calendar). Members and the public alike are welcome to visit, learn more about the opportunities, bring in a telescope for assistance, begin a telescope from scratch or just ask questions.


TAAS Fab 50 for Spring

May 08, 2015


On Friday, May 8th, at 7:30pm, Dee Friesen will again generously host the spring session of the TAAS Fabulous Fifty at his house. The gathering will be treated to an indoor section of introduction to the basics of the fifty naked-eye objects to which the title connects and on the spring selection specifically. This will be followed by an outdoor observing opportunity to learn to find and recognize the constellations and stars of the season with telescopes supplied by TAAS members. Finally, all will enjoy a social hour to get to know each other and their astronomy goals better.

All of the details--a preview of what will be covered, directions to Dee's house and contact information--can be found on by going to the "TAAS Fabulous Fifty" tab on the left side of the main page.

Make your plans now to be there for a very personal experience with the stars--and TAAS!

Chaco Canyon Annual Spring Star Party!

May 15 & 16, 2015


MAY 15-16, 2015

TAAS and the Chaco Cultural National Historical Park will co-host a star party open to members and the public on Friday and Saturday, May 15 & 16th. All are invited to reserve camping sites, enjoy the area and experience the observing in an officially designated International Dark-Sky Park, as well as presentations by Park Ranger G.B. Cornucopia and TAAS members Dale Murray and Hy Tran, among others. Solar observing will be conducted on both days to take advantage of our own star!

This is always an anticipated and well-attended event, which attracts Park visitors, guests from outside the area and TAAS members who take advantage of the open skies to observe with their diverse telescopes and share with the eager public. The Chaco Observatory dome will be open and abetted by the TAAS scopes and the contributions of TAAS presenters.



May 23, 2015


The ever-popular Oak Flat Star Parties return on May 23rd, during the Memorial Day weekend. This year, we will have both Juniper and Yucca areas reserved for TAAS, which will mean expanded parking and restrooms and picnic facilities for early arrivals.

Make plans to come with friends and family and enjoy the array of TAAS telescopes of all types and sizes set up on the observing field between Juniper and Yucca--meet and talk with TAAS members and other visitors and, above all, enjoy the wonderful sights of the night New Mexico skies through scopes and by just looking up!

Thank you, as always, to the Tijeras Ranger Station, which has worked with TAAS on making these star parties happen for the public for many, many years. Stay tuned for more details as the date approaches...



Friday Nights at the UNM Observatory have resumed with the spring semester!

Observing at the dome and with the TAAS telescopes is on for every Friday evening until the last night, May 1st. The exception is March 13th, spring break at UNM.

See below for full details and map


Monthly Observing Challenge

MONTHLY OBSERVING CHALLENGE--THE APRIL CHALLENGE IS READY! Every month this information is changed to whet your appetite for even more observing so get that scope out and take advantage of those clear nights! This does not appear by magic, but is sustained thanks to Gordon Schaefering and Dee Friesen.

Each month, there is a test for Binoculars, Double Star, Deep Sky Object and the Challenge Object--think of it as a game for your telescope or binoculars. If you combine this with your GNTO, Star Party and Observer SIG stargazing, you are getting quite a workout!

Keep reading to take the Challenge.