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Unmasking Europa

by Phyllis Lang

RAC enjoyed a special pre-Astronomy Days presentation on Friday, January 29 by Professor Richard Greenberg entitled “Unmasking Europa: the Search for Life on Jupiter’s Ocean Moon”. Professor Greenberg is a Professor Emeritus of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Professor Richard Greenberg

Professor Richard Greenberg


Latest Book By Dr. Greenberg

Latest Book By Dr. Greenberg

He discussed his research and that of others in regard to the Jovian moon Europa. Dr. Greenberg’s research team derived the thin-ice model of Europa which describes an active icy crust that covers a liquid saline water ocean of about 100 miles depth. The floor of the ocean is thought to be rocky.

The presentation included incredibly detailed pictures of Europa and cutting-edge research results from the Galileo mission to Jupiter. An active question and answer session followed. Several attendees were able to purchase a signed copy of Dr. Greenberg’s book, “Unmasking Europa: the Search for Life on Jupiter’s Ocean Moon”. More information on the book can be found here.

We thank the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for helping us arrange this presentation by Dr. Greenberg.

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Special Meeting Jan 29

by Phyllis Lang

Please join us for a special meeting Friday, Jan 29 at 7pm for “Unmasking Europa:  The Search for Life on Jupiter’s Ocean Moon” by Dr. Richard Greenberg. The meeting is in the 4th floor Environmental Conference Center in the Nature Research Center at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

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Evryscope – A Revolutionary Wide Field Telescope

by Web Administrator

The December 2015 meeting of the Raleigh Astronomy Club featured Dr. Nicholas Law, a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Law gave an excellent talk on a state of the art telescope called Evryscope. This telescope will look at larger areas of the the night sky and be invaluable for for Exoplanet research.

EVRYSCOPE

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Pluto Revealed: October 2015 Indoor Meeting

by Web Administrator

The October meeting featured a special presentation by RAC member and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Ian Hewitt. Ian has been following the progress of the New Horizons mission to Pluto & Charon for several years. He shared some of the science results from the mission so far, some preceding and others following the close flyby of Pluto and Charon on July 14, 2015.

True Color Image of Pluto

True Color Image of Pluto

Ian recorded the talk and it is available on the RAC YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7UlVB6-Eo

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Fall Observing Sessions

by Web Administrator

The Fall observing season is here and that means good weather for getting out under the stars. For the early fall sessions, which usually have mild weather and decent conditions, the club was able to observe in August and September 2015, but was clouded out in October. However, two out of three was not bad and members got in some eagerly awaited time under the stars.

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September Meeting: A Multitude of Multiverses

by Web Administrator

The September indoor RAC meeting was held in the Daily Planet Theater and member Dr. Steven Christensen presented on multiverses. This topic can be very hard to grasp for non-physicists, but as usual, Dr. Christensen did a great overview of the background and current theories of this very heady topic, but in a very accessible way so that everyone could understand it. However, even folks familiar with the topic learned something during this presentation.

Dr. Steve Christensen Presenting on Multiverses

Dr. Steve Christensen Presenting on Multiverses


Dr. Steve Christensen Presenting on Multiverses

Dr. Steve Christensen Presenting on Multiverses

Thanks again to Steve for taking the time to make this great presentation. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond RAC’s control, there is no recording of this event.

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2015 Picnic

by Web Administrator

The Raleigh Astronomy Club had a member picnic/social gathering on a great September Saturday. Co-chair Chris Cole coordinated/hosted a great event on a strawberry farm featuring barbecue (pork and chicken) with homemade sauces and homemade strawberry ice cream. A lot of members brought side dishes to share sot there was ample good food to go around. All the members and their families that were able to attend had a great afternoon talking and eating in really nice weather.

Club Picnic 2015

Club Picnic 2015


Club Picnic 2015

Club Picnic 2015

Congratulations to Chris for doing such a great job pulling this event together!

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X-Ray Binary Stars

by Web Administrator

The August 2015 meeting of the Raleigh Astronomy Club featured Dr. John Blondin of the North Carolina State Department of Astronomy and Physics presenting on X-Ray Binary Star systems This is a very active area of research in astronomy and a number of hist students are doing work in this area. Dr Blondin is a great presenter and provided an excellent overview of the current understanding in this field.

Dr. John Blondin

Dr. John Blondin


Artist's Impression of An X-Ray Binary System

Artist’s Impression of An X-Ray Binary System

A recording of the meeting is available on the Raleigh Astronomy Club YouTube Channel.

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NC Museum of Art Observing Session

by Web Administrator

The Raleigh Astronomy Club and Morehead planetarium partnered with North Carolina Museum of Art for the 2015 Stargazing in the Museum Park member event. In addition to beverages supplied by local breweries, the crowd of over 300 enjoyed clear cool skies and views of the International Space Station (ISS), M13, the Moon, and Saturn. Saturn was definitely the crowd favorite with multiple scopes providing views of the ringed planet in white light and through colored filters (like orange to enhace the bands on the surface).

Image Courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of Art

Image Courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of Art

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Perseid Meteor Week and July RACOBS

by Web Administrator

The Perseid metor shower is one of the better showers of the year. This year’s event was widely anticipated because the Moon did not interfere with the veiwing. Here in Raleigh, we were doubly luck as some cooler drier weather also happened to settle into the area making conditions very good indeed. Many members and public got some gret views due to a public observing session by Morehead Planetarium, a RAC impromptu observing session, and the regulary scheduled RACOBS

Image Courtesy of Steve Christensen

Image Courtesy of Steve Christensen

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Unraveling Starlight: July 2015 Indoor Meeting

by Web Administrator

The RAC July Indoor meeting featured a presentation by Dr. Barbara Becker on her resaerch into the life and accomplishments of British amateur astronomers William and Margaret Huggins in the 19th century work. In a time when amateurs did a great deal of the astronomical work, this husband/wife team did pioneering work in the field of spectroscopy. Much of modern astronomy is rooted in spectral analysis of the light from stars, nebula, galaxies and many other objects and their contributions made significant progress to the state of the art.

Image Courtesy of Dr. Barbara Becker

Image Courtesy of Dr. Barbara Becker

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Eyepiece Cleaning Clinic

by Web Administrator

Several members of RAC (and a couple from CHAOS) joined Jim Pressley and Phyllis Lang at the NCSU Crafts Center Saturday for an informal eyepice cleaning clinic. Supplies and refreshments were provided for attendees who brought an eyepiece or two for cleaning.

Photo by Mike Mantini

Photo by Mike Mantini

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Pluto Animation

by Web Administrator

Pluto has very much been on everyone’s mind this week with all the information from NASA’s New Horizons mission that has been released this week. Long time RAC member Mark Lang took advantage of the skies during the July RAC observing session to build his own very cool animation of Pluto taken from here in North Carolina. Please note, you need to click the image to see the animation.

Image by Mark Lang

Image by Mark Lang

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