The purpose of the TAAS Astronomy 101 program is to provide a monthly presentation on the basic concepts that new amateur astronomers should master to achieve their goals. Astronomy 101 assumes that those attending the presentations are also participating in or have completed the Fab 50 program.
The Fab 50 program teaches participants how to find naked-eye objects, how to use a planisphere, and introduces binoculars and telescopes.
An Astronomy 101 presentation should assume that the audience is unfamiliar with the subject and should provide basic information about the subject and how it is applied by amateur astronomers for observing and imaging. The use of handouts and demonstration of the concepts with visual aids is highly encouraged.
TAAS enjoys a constant stream of new members which necessitates a periodic repetition of the most important concepts. An appropriate timeframe given the number of topics is about two years. In general, it is more important to introduce a subject and provide a good foundation for further study than to cover all the details. Astronomy 101 presentations should be planned to take about 40 minutes to allow 10 minutes for questions.
2023 Astronomy 101 Schedule
Date Subject Presenter February 4, 2023 GNTO & Star Parties Jim Fordice March 4, 2023 Astronomical League Observing Programs and Observing Planning Viola Sanchez April 8, 2023 Your Observing Kit - What do you need? James Carr May 6, 2023 Eyepieces Jim Fordice June 3, 2023 How to Make and Record Astronomical League Observations Viola Sanchez July 1, 2023 What is the Weather? Can I Observe? Alan Scott August 5, 2023 How to Find Deep Sky Objects Sara Wofford September 2, 2023 Constellations John Laning September 30, 2023 Observing Techniques James Carr October 28, 2023 Basic Cosmology Perry Duke November 25, 2023 Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA) Jim Fordice December 30, 2023
GNTO and Star Parties
Speaker: Jim Fordice, GNTO Director
An Introduction to the General Nathan Twining Observatory (GNTO) and Star Parties that are held annually in the Southwest.
Jim Fordice explains how to travel to and use GNTO. GNTO is an excellent facility for observing and imaging which TAAS members can use any day of the year. It is the premier perk of a TAAS membership.
Jim also discusses why many amateur astronomers attend large annual star parties such as the Texas Star Party, the Okie-Tex Star Party, the Rocky Mountain Star Stare, and the Enchanted Skies Star Party.
Presentation Date: 2/4/2023
An Introduction to the Astronomical League (AL) and its observing programs.
Speaker: Viola Sanchez, TAAS Astronomical League Coordinator (ALCOR)
Viola Sanchez explains the objectives of the AL, the benefits for Amateur Astronomers, how to join the AL, the AL observing programs, the progression to being certified as a Master Observer, and how to get started.
Presentation Date: 3/4/2023
Speaker: Steve Snider
An Introduction to the types of telescopes that are available and how to use them. Steve Snider provides a short history, a description, and the pros & cons of refractors, reflectors, and catadioptric telescopes. The presentation shows the light path for each telescope type, explains what you need to consider when selecting a telescope, and offers some advice.
Presentation Date: 10/15/2022