Roper Mountain Astronomers

Upcoming events

    • February 20, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Roper Mountain Science Center

    Lunar Photography
    Are you interested in Astrophotography, but overwhelmed by the investment of time and money it can require? Come join us at our February club meeting to learn how capturing the Moon can be an accessible and rewarding experience for anyone. Club member and amateur astrophotographer Josh Palmer will give you some practical information to help you get started. Whether you use a DSLR, specialized CCD camera, or even a smartphone, you can create beautiful images of your own. As a bonus, Josh will also discuss some wonderful astronomy apps available on today's smart phones, which can help you locate and learn about your favorite celestial objects.

    Copernicus Crater, captured in November, using a Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 and ASI224MC camera.

    Guest Speaker Josh Palmer

    Josh Palmer has been an amateur astronomer and member of the Roper Mountain Astronomers since 2014. He resides in Piedmont under relatively dark skies, with his wife and two daughters. During the day, Josh supports Information Technology systems for a local distributing company. Once the sun sets, he enjoys observing the night sky and imaging Solar System objects. You can see some of his images here on the site, under Photo Galleries.

    • February 22, 2020
    • 5:30 PM
    • Dark Sky Site

    • March 04, 2020
    • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Roper Mountain Science Center


    Black hole tales from the edge of space and time

    Abstract:  It has been known since the 1700s that a simple consequence of gravity is the possible existence of objects whose gravitational field is so strong even light would not be able to escape from the surface.  In the early 1900s, Einstein revolutionized gravitational theory and produced the modern mathematical description of what astronomers now call a "black hole," and they have since become an almost universally accepted part of modern astrophysics.

    In this talk we'll take a voyage out from our little corner of the Cosmic Sea, mariners in search of the biggest monsters known: supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.  We'll talk about current evidence for the existence of black holes and discuss what new observations of the Universe will allow us to discover about these exotic objects using gravitational waves.  We'll ask what will happen on an imaginary voyage near the event horizon of a black hole, and talk about what modern gravitational theory predicts will happen to you (HINT: our poor cosmic voyagers are destined to have a very bad day!).

    Speaker:  Shane L. Larson

    Shane Larson is a research associate professor of physics at Northwestern University, where he is the Associate Director of CIERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics). He works in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics, specializing in studies of compact stars, binaries, and the galaxy.  He works in gravitational wave astronomy with both the ground-based LIGO project, and the future space-based detector LISA.

    Shane grew up in eastern Oregon, and was an undergraduate at Oregon State University where he received his B.S. in Physics in 1991.  He received an M.S. in Physics (1994) and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics (1999) from Montana State University.   He is an award winning teacher, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

    Shane is also an avid amateur astronomer, observing with two homebuilt Dobsonian telescopes, named EQUINOX and COSMOS MARINER.  Shane contributes regularly to a public science blog at, and tweets with the handle @sciencejedi .

    • March 19, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Roper Mountain Science Center

    Presentation:  Strange Stellar Remnants


    What remains after a star dies?  Most “go gentle into that good night”, leaving behind planetary nebulae and white dwarf stars fading into darkness.  However, some stars “rage against the dying of the light”, resulting in supernovae and supernova remnants, neutron stars, pulsars, and magnetars.  During this presentation, I will share a brief survey of these strange stellar remnants and how we observe them. 

    Speaker:  David Moffett

    David Moffett is Furman's astronomer and oversees the operation of the Timmons Planetarium. He teaches introductory physics courses, astronomy, and mechanics, and he serves as the dual-degree advisor in engineering.

    In addition to teaching at Furman, Moffett collaborates with faculty from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to host the annual Educational Research In Radio Astronomy (ERIRA) workshop at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenbank, WV. 

    Dr. Moffett continues to perform radio astronomical observations of supernova remnants, and is currently working with Furman students to study the expansion and polarization properties of the remnant of the historical supernova of 1006 AD.​​​​

    • March 21, 2020
    • 6:30 PM
    • Dark Sky Site

    • April 16, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Roper Mountain Science Center

    Presentation:  Cold War Spy in the Sky now Provides an Eye on the Cosmos

     Abstract: The 12-meter satellite communications dish at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) was updated and converted from an electronic spy role to an astronomical radio telescope after being dormant for 20 years.

    The presentation will compare radio and optical telescopes and look at the cold war mission of this instrument when PARI was formerly a Department of Defense facility (Rosman Station). The story of the update and conversion to a radio telescope, after the dormancy of 20 years, will be illustrated along with the current student involvement at PARI with the newly commissioned instrument. Finally, we will look at the variable star observation on August 21, 2017, to our knowledge the first time a solar eclipse was observed by a large radio telescope.

    Speaker:  Ken Steiner

    Ken Steiner, President of Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club, also served as CAAC Observatory Director for 7 years during the major expansion of the Gayle H Riggsbee Observatory (GHRO). He has served as Interim Executive Director of Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). Ken is presently is Consultant for Special Projects at PARI with the main focus on acquiring Dark Sky Park Designation for PARI from the International Dark Sky Association.

    Ken arrived in the Charlotte area in 2001 as Sales Engineer for Enprotech Technologies (Forging and Stamping Press rebuilding) covering the SE USA and Mexico. He has served on numerous National and International Non-Profit Boards. Ken and his wife Deb have been active in the CAAC since their arrival in the Charlotte area.

    • April 18, 2020
    • 7:00 PM
    • Dark SKy Site

    • April 23, 2020
    • April 26, 2020
    • Wildacres Retreat, near Little Switzerland NC

    The Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club invites you to attend the 34th annual Southern Star Astronomy Convention at the beautiful Wildacres Retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Little Switzerland, NC.

    Wildacres has comfortable dormitory lodging with private baths, a dining hall serving three delicious meals daily, and a well equipped lecture hall where you will see presentations from experts on a variety of topics in astronomy and space science.  Other activities include observing (weather permitting), a nature hike and visit to local artisan, swap table, door prizes, and wine and cheese and ice cream socials.  The interesting program, idyllic setting, and camaraderie of fellow astronomy enthusiasts keeps many people returning year after year.  Registration will open in late February, at which time registration forms will be available on our website  Save the dates and we look forward to seeing you at Southern Star 2020!

    • May 21, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Roper Mountain Science Center

    Presentation :  The Flying Observatory

    Abstract:  SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a 2.7-meter (106-inch) reflecting telescope (with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters or 100 inches). Flying into the stratosphere at 38,000-45,000 feet puts SOFIA above 99 percent of Earth???s infrared-blocking atmosphere, allowing astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes. SOFIA is made possible through a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

    Speaker: Bob Braur

    As a life long amateur astronomer, Bob Brauer has been involved with astronomy clubs and public outreach across the country. He is a past president of the San Jose Astronomical Association (SJAA) in San Jose, California.

    His engineering career in Silicon Valley with Siemens and Sun Microsystems led him to the opportunity to join NASA's SOFIA program as the Safety and Quality Assurance Manager for Universities Space Research Association (USRA) for 10 years until his retirement in 2018. 

    Bob and his wife Karen moved to the Greenville area in 2019 and he is having great fun as a staff astronomer and volunteer for the Roper Mountain Science Center.

Past events

February 10, 2020 Seeds in Space
January 25, 2020 Star Party
January 21, 2020 Project Artemis-Forward to the Moon
January 16, 2020 January Club Monthly Meeting
November 23, 2019 Star Party
November 21, 2019 November RMA Club Meeting
November 14, 2019 November RMA Board Meeting
October 05, 2019 Star Party Rain Date
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software