The TAAS Files
Like the X-Files, only this is real science. TAAS has many, very talented members. This is a place for them to show their stuff. Whether it be presentation material from our General Meetings, photos of TAAS events or anything of astronomical interest, details and tips on observing or bulding astro equipment, or documentation covering any topic of interest to amateur astronomers, you can find it here.
This area of our website is growing. Send your submittals to email@example.com and share your talents with the rest of TAAS and the world-wide astronomy community.
Just click on any of the images or text to see the associated submittal. With some of the splendid graphics, some files may be large and take a while to download, but it will be worth it.
Multiple Mirror Telescopes
By: Boris P. Venet
Presented at the TAAS General Meeting on July 16th, 2022. A discussion of the basic concepts of Multiple Mirror Telescopes and Adaptive Optics.
Great Observing Sites of New Mexico
By: Alan Scott
Presented at the TAAS General Meeting on October 19, 2019
What makes a great observing site, where are they in New Mexico, and how to get there.
Biography of a Star
By: Dee Friesen
Presented February 23, 2019. Follow the life cycle of our own star, the sun. The various phases of this particular star, Sol, is examined, using the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) Diagram, as it moves through its life cycle. Also discussed is the origin of the elements. Hydrogen and helium resulted from the original Big Bang, but the birth, life, and death of a star are described in terms of nuclear reactions, and the chemical elements that make up the matter we observe throughout the universe were created in these reactions.
Highlights the contribution of the female “Harvard Computers”, such as Annie Jump Cannon, who worked with Edward Charles Pickering on a system for classifying stars based on their temperatures, which eventually became the official classification system.
Simple Experiments to Prove the Earth is Round
By: David Thomas
Presented March 3, 2018. This is a General Meeting presentation by Dave Thomas, president of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason. He entertained and enlightened our membership with the beliefs and fallacies of flat-earthers and showed simple ways to see the curvature of the Earth.
By: Dee Friesen
Presented February 3, 2018. This was presented at a General Meeting. Cosmology is the scientific study of the past, present, and future status of the universe. This presentation examines the scientifically accepted facts that support the current theory of the origin of the universe. The tools and new ideas that lead to the current theory will be examined.
Total Solar Eclipse
By: Melissa Kirk
Presented August 21, 2017. TAAS member Melissa Kirk gives her account of the chromospheric and coronal features observed and environmental effects experienced during the eclipse witnessed from Glendo State Park, Wyoming.
Non-Tracking DSLR Astrophotography: A Fast Track to Becoming a Night Sky Photographer
By: Daly Murray
This presentation is based on a General Meeting talk that gave a high-level overview of DSLR astrophotography. This presentation is a more detailed presentation to introduce the new TAAS Special Interest Group (SIG) on DSLR astrophotography a foundation to start taking pictures of the night sky. This presentation was given at the kickoff meeting of the DSLR AP Sig on February 6 and that intro meeting may be repeated if there is enough interest to do so.
Andromeda and its Place in the Local Group
By: Ylva Pihlström
UNM Professor Pihlström examines the Andromeda Galaxy in many wavelengths and shows its likely future of as it approaches and likely collides with our own Milky Way Galaxy.
The Open Cluster Story
By: W.P. (Phil) Fleming
The vast majority of open clusters do not rouse much visual interest. They are likely to be described as boring, ho-hum, or not worth a star-hop. This TAAS Astronomy 101 presentation was formulated to imbue the amateur observer with an enduring appreciation of open cluster systems.
Determination of Lunar Feature Heights from Shadow Lengths
By: Boris Venet
We give the details of a method for determining the height or depth of lunar surface features, such as mountains or craters, using measurements of shadow length in a lunar photograph taken through an earth-bound telescope. We apply the method to several feature examples in a photograph captured with a typical amateur telescope and DSLR camera.
Observing Planetary Nebulae
By: Jon Schuchardt
Most amateur astronomers know about the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) and the Ring Nebula (M57), but what about less-famous planetary nebulae? This Astronomy 101 presentation explores how planetary nebulae form and their place in stellar evolution. Also described are how to find these diverse objects in the night sky, what to look for, what equipment aids observation, and how to satisfy Astronomical League requirements for an observing certificate.
Observing a Total Solar Eclipse
By: Mike Molitor
In this General Meeting presentation, Mike gives you lots of great information on the upcoming 2017 total solar eclipse. The videos in the original presentation are not included here, but Mike has provided web addresses for all of them.
Observing Globular Clusters
By: Jon Schuchardt
In this TAAS Astronomy 101 program, we explore what globular star clusters are and how studying them helped to expand our understanding of the universe. We look at how to classify globular clusters, how to star hop to find them in the summer night sky, and how to make the most out of observing them with binoculars or a telescope.
Photographing the Night Sky
By: Dale Murray
Dale really brought his subject down to earth in his presentation at a TAAS General Meeting. He shows how to take great nightscapes with common equipment. Along the way, he gives lots of advice and pointers to making memorable photos and shows you plenty of stunning shots of his own.
History of Star Catalogs
By: Rick Thurmond
Throughout the history of astronomy, there have been star catalogs. A page from the first printed edition of Ptolemy’s Almagest is shown here. Different catalogs reflect different interests, as well as changes in technology. A star catalog is a major undertaking, and likely needs strong justification as well as the latest instrumentation. This paper describes some star catalogs through history and explains the reasons for conducting them and discusses the technology used.
How Did the Moon Get Inside My Telescope?
By: Barry Spletzer
This is a TAAS General Meeting presentation from several years back. It explains the basics of how a telescope works, what is an image, how lenses and mirrors make an image, and how that image is magnified. Along the way topics like focal length, calculating magnification, and eyepiece basics are discussed.
All About Globular Clusters
By: Jim Fordice
Presented October 28th, 2023. Globular Clusters (GCs) are beautiful star formations that are also very old. Jim explains what a globular cluster is, discuss their historical importance, and describes their physical characteristics. GCs are compared to stellar associations and open clusters.
Astronomers use a Color-Magnitude Diagram to classify a star formation as a GC or an open cluster. Jim explains how a color-magnitude diagram is used to make the classification and shows examples of color-magnitude diagrams that he created from his imaging data. Jim explains how these diagrams allow determination of the star formation’s age.
How GCs were formed and have evolved are discussed. It is generally assumed that all the stars in a GC were formed at the same time, but many GCs have more than one population of stars. How additional stars are formed and the interactions of stars in a GC are explained. Other aspects of GC evolution such as two-body relaxation time, disc shocking, core collapse, and cluster evaporation are covered.