One of the member benefits is our monthly Star Parties. We schedule them on Saturday evenings according to the New Moon. We are fortunate to have access to Furman University’s off-campus observatory located away from the city lights. The observatory has a roll-away roof and houses two telescopes, Furman’s Celestron 14″ f/11 Schmidt-Cassegrain and RMA’s 14″ Schmidt-Cassegrain. There is also an office with HVAC, a refrigerator and restrooms. Astronomy reference materials are available in the warm room as well. The Observatory is provided for the exclusive use of RMA members and their guests. Every club member should take advantage of this great member “perk”.
Everyone observes their own interest and shares it with others. Some may be getting acquainted with their new telescope, while others are checking current events such as comets, asteroids and meteor showers. All should feel free to ask anyone what they are viewing and if you may take a look. Most astronomers love sharing their passion.
Our star parties are weather permitting so check for updates on the web site’s home page if its rainy or cloudy. Plan to arrive in time to allow left-over daylight to set up telescopes. Telescopes and other equipment are not necessary to come to a star party. Just plan to enjoy and view the night sky. Bring a snack or refreshments to share if you like. Remember to dress warmly during the cold season. Directions will be emailed to our members when the announcement is sent out.
Suggestions for Optimal viewing:
Please give warning before turning car lights on to leave. This will allow time for observers to turn away. Using a flashlight with a deep red filter over it helps to retain night vision. Once a viewer loses their night vision, it takes at least 15 minutes to get it back, longer if the person was observing very dim objects such as faint galaxies.
Please be sure to check our Facebook page for any changes or cancellations due to weather. Star parties are scheduled on the weekends near the “New Moon”. Check this page every month for any changes or cancellations due to other event conflicts, etc. If a star party has to be cancelled between issues of the Spectrum, a blanket email will be sent out to everyone.