The Albuquerque Astronomical Society
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P.O. Box 50581
Albuquerque, NM 87181-0581

Observe, Educate, Have Fun

photo: John Laning
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Chaco Canyon Annual Spring Star Party!

May 6th and 7th, 2016

CHACO CANYON STAR PARTY- MAY 6TH AND 7TH

CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND INTERNATIONAL DARK-SKY PARK

(EVENT ACTIVITIES ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)

This event is sponsored by The Albuquerque Astronomical Society in collaboration with Chaco Culture--a spectacular event which includes the stunning Anasazi sites, the use of the observatory on the grounds, camping under the stars and riveting talks by Park Rangers and TAAS Members.

All of the information you will need to begin your plans to attend are on the links at the bottom of this article--directions, camping reservations info, schedule of events and a flyer to refer to as the dates approach.

Specific camping information for TAAS members is included; members of the public will make reservations separately through the Park links-https://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/camping.htm .

Prepare in advance to take advantage of this very dark, unique site for observing and seeing the Park Rangers and TAAS members in action!

The Owners for this offering are Viola Sanchez and Boris Venet, who will give contact information, if you have any questions. The information link is below, as well as the flyer link.

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Amateur Telescope Making/Maintenance

May 4, 2016

TELESCOPES! MAKE THEM-USE THEM-FIX THEM!

Next session - Wednesday, May 4th - 7:00pm

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.


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Transit of Mercury

May 9, 2016

TRANSIT OF MERCURY - MAY 9TH

The planet Mercury will appear as a tiny dot moving across the face of the Sun, an occurrence which happened last in 2006, will not happen again until 2019 and then in 2032. Mercury is so tiny that a telescope is required to see it, and the telescope must be equipped with a solar filter for safety, as looking at the Sun without a proper filter can result in serious and permanent eye damage.

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science will be open beginning at 6:30am at sunrise--the transit will already be in progress--free (donations accepted) for observing until 9:00am when admission will be charged; viewing will continue until end of transit at 12:42pm. TAAS telescopes will also be set up at the north end of Explora Science Center from 9:00am until 12:42pm, the end of the transit.

Solar scopes may be set up at various locations around town, so check back here for updates or send questions to taas@taas.org.

As you can tell, this is not a rapid event, so you can attend for whatever time you have available...but don't miss it!

For more details about the transit, check out Jay Anderson's excellent Eclipsophile website. Besides having great information about the transit, it includes links to several other transit websites. Our own Dee Friesen has prepared some web pages about Mercury in general and the transit in particular. Click here to take a look.



FRIDAY NIGHTS AT THE UNM OBSERVATORY

Friday Nights at the UNM Observatory take place every Friday night with an open dome and supporting telescopes for students and the public

The last of the semester will be on May 6th.

Please note that TAAS has a new UNMO Coordinator, Fernando Torres, who can be reached at unm_coord@taas.org if you have questions or need further information

See below for details and map


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OAK FLAT PUBLIC STAR PARTY

May 14, 2016

OAK FLAT PUBLIC STAR PARTY SERIES BEGINS!

SATURDAY, MAY 14TH

Our first star party of the summer Oak Flat series begins on Saturday, May 14th at the Oak Flat Picnic Grounds nine miles south of the Tijeras exit off I-40 and one mile east of the Oak Flat sign. The Albuquerque Astronomical Society hosts this program supported by The Tijeras Ranger Station of the Cibola National Forest. Later opportunities are on June 11, July 23, August 27 and September 10.

The gates for parking at the Yucca and Juniper areas will be open at 5:30pm, and we encourage all, including TAAS members bringing telescopes, to arrive well before sunset at 8:03pm, to park and get oriented in full daylight...there are plans for a solar observing period in between to let you see the first star of the event--our Sun!

Prepare to be dazzled by the sights of stars and planets through the many types and sizes of TAAS telescopes, and the knowledge and experience of our members. The Oak Flat area is very dark-sky and as the summer progresses with our many star parties there, the planets and Milky Way and star clusters will parade by you, with an occasional visit from the ISS or a meteor.

Remember to bring water, any food you wish (and there are picnic tables), and warm layers for the evening chill. Also use only red headlamps/flashlights on the observing field to preserve night vision. Restrooms are at Yucca area only. Map is below
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SOLAR ASTRONOMY OUTREACH

Solar Astronomy, observing our nearest star, the Sun, is a very active and popular part of TAAS. Its events are too numerous to list here, so please go to the "Solar Astronomy" link on the left of the main page for a full schedule of solar observing.

Remember, you don't have to stay up late at night to see a star!



Monthly Observing Challenge

The Challenge is now available for April 2016, and archives of past months are at your fingertips.

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!

So take the Challenge.

 
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