Roper Mountain Astronomers


  • November 29, 2021 7:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Comet Lenard (c/2021) was discovered only in January of this year.  It is visible in binoculars or small telescopes in the early morning hours around 4-5am.  It is currently visible between Arcturus and the handle of the Big Dipper.  It is moving rapidly through the sky so watch the YouTube link to see how it will move from day to day.

  • November 18, 2021 8:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Set your alarm clock for 4:00am EST and run outside to see the 99.1% lunar eclipse. Stargazers across the United States will be able to watch the peak of this brilliant Beaver full moon, which will be the longest partial lunar eclipse in over 500 years! Reflecting back on the fall colors we just experienced, the moon will have a red-brownish tint due to the light scattering across the earth's atmosphere.

  • November 14, 2021 4:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last night we held our make up date Star Party at our Dark Sky Location, the Furman observatory. The night was clear and cool, and although we had a very bright moon high in the sky we had a great time observing and imaging a wide range of targets. 

    The long list included: The Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Neptune, Uranus, The Orion Nebula, The Ring Nebula, The Heart Nebula, M35, M37, and a wide range of double stars that had varying colors.

    New members were there, and we enjoyed lots of teaching and being taught. If you have never joined us for an in person Star Party, please do so soon! The next party is scheduled for December the 4th, assuming good weather.

    Clear Skies, Look Up!

  • October 29, 2021 4:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Member Ed Overstreet was recently featured in a segment on WSPA, speaking with Meteorologist Christy Henderson about astronomy. The club also received a special on-air mention for viewers who are interested in learning more about astronomy and telescopes. You can watch the story here:

    Christy has also joined the club as an Honorary Member and we are looking forward to meeting her at an upcoming star party. Welcome, Christy!



  • October 27, 2021 9:07 AM | Anonymous member

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the club president for the last two years. It has certainly been a crazy two years to say the least.  The club has made some significant strides forward in many regards, despite the pandemic.  Our web page is phenomenal to say the least.  A very special thanks to Josh Palmer for championing that effort and making it happen.  Additionally, the depth and breadth of our monthly presentations has reached a new level.  The club’s ability to use Zoom and have speakers from Austria, United Kingdom, Colorado, and New Mexico, to name a few locations, has been outstanding.   Our star parties have expanded to other locations as well, which is also been new and exciting.  I want to thank the previous Board Members for making all this happen.  A special thanks goes to Dennis Wilde, our Spectrum editor.  Dennis is stepping down from this roll after doing it for at least the last 5 years.  Thank you Dennis for producing such an awesome publication, and doing it for so long! I want to also thank the new Board Members for stepping up and serving.  Many of them have been routinely participating in our monthly Board meetings already.  I feel confident this transition will be seamless.  Thank you again and see you soon!


    Bill Michaud

  • October 07, 2021 9:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congratulations Cathy Z on winning our club raffle. We hope you enjoy your SkySync GPS and we will be in touch with you to deliver your prize!

  • September 17, 2021 8:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The weather cooperated and we were able to hold our July Star Party at the Observatory site as planned.  We experienced clouds and some rain in the area until 9:30pm when it started clearing.  By 11:00pm the western and northern skies were very clear and the east/south skies had patchy clouds.

    We had an unusually large turnout this month.  A lot of first time visits from members that have joined since we had to quit using the dark site last year.  It felt very good to be back in our "home" star party site.  The security of the site and the comfort of the training room has been missed!  Before darkness, we were able to meet and greet each other.  We also shared a lot of snacks and camaraderie during the evening.

    The younger visitors really enjoyed themselves with nature and other activities along with the exposure to astronomy. It was great to see the kids enjoying the beauty of the darkness and night sky with no game machines or phones glued to their faces!

    Everyone appreciated the opportunity to be surrounded by our fellow club members and to be able to enjoy the skills of our talented members.  Many members enjoyed casual observing with binoculars and telescopes. We were also treated to see Josh Palmer's obtain real time video of transiting satellites and David Quattlebaum's capture of nebula and galaxies!

    Thanks to David Moffett, Kepler Tumler, and David Quattlebaum, we were also able to remove the Meade 14" SCT from the Observatory and store it safely in the training room.  There will be a lot of maintenance activity in the Observatory this summer and we wanted the telescope to be safely stored. 

    We will post some photos in the members Photo Gallery area so you can be treated to some extremely nice smiles and happy faces.

  • August 12, 2021 9:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Have you ever wished upon a star? Now is your chance!

    August 12, 2021
    9:00 pm
    - 11:00 pm

    Have you ever wished upon a shooting star? Now is your chance! Join PARI from 9-11pm on August 12, 2021 for evening viewing of the Perseids Meteor Shower and the night sky at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park.

    Grab a picnic blanket or bring your own lawn chair and sit back and relax while enjoying the show that space provides as meteors rain down throughout the night!  Expected to be the brightest with the most meteors all year, so wrap up your summer with the experience of a lifetime at PARI.  PARI astronomers will also be on hand with telescopes for you to experience the night sky.

    REGISTER HERE for AUGUST 12, 2021 9-11pm

    Arrival time for this event is 8:30-9pm.  Please make arrangements to arrive during this time.  Late arrivals will not be permitted.

    Want more PARI?? Check out our OVERNIGHT CABIN  and OVERNIGHT CAMPING packages for the Perseids Meteor Shower that PARI will host on August 13-14, 2021.

    For additional information please contact PARI at 828-862-5554 or

    Perseids Meteor Shower - Evening Viewing ONLY - PARI
  • July 04, 2021 12:28 PM | Anonymous member

    Club Members

    Summer is here and so is our unpredictable weather.  The star party portion of our recent picnic at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site was cancelled.  However, the picnic portion with Bucky’s BBQ did take place.  If you haven’t done so check out the pictures on our website.  Thanks to all who helped make this event happen! 


    We do have some great news!  The Furman Observatory is reopening.  Our July 10th Star Party will be held at the Furman site. Additionally, the Roper Mountain Science Center is reopening.  Our July 15th Club meeting will be in person at the Science Center in the conference room, at 7:30pm.  We intend to broadcast this meeting via Zoom as well!   July’s topic is practical astronomy.  Based on our club survey there was a request for more hands on observational topics.  This is the first meeting of this topic and we hope to have more in the near future.  Randy Cockrill will demonstrate “Electrically Assisted Astronomy”. Josh Palmer will cover “Satellite Observing and Photography”.  Ed Overstreet will discuss “Permanent Outdoor Telescopes With Wireless Remote Access”.  We had a successful rehearsal broadcasting on Zoom from the science center this last week. 


    Josh Palmer has created a Private Discord Server for our club.  Discord is a free platform that allows communities and special interest groups to come together to chat and hold video meetings.  Check it out on our website under the Forums tab.


    The October Club Meeting will feature Executive Committee Board elections.  There are seven Board positions.  All positions are open for election.  Any club member can nominate someone for a position.  You can also nominate yourself for a position.   The seven positions are President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and three each Board Members at Large.  If you are interested in serving in anyone of these positions please contact me.  It is highly suggested that you attend a board meeting prior to nominating yourself.  Board meetings are all done via Zoom the second Thursday of each month. 

    See you soon!

    Bill Michaud


    Roper Mountain Astronomers Club

  • June 21, 2021 9:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Enter IDA’s ‘Capture the Dark’ Photography Contest

    on JUNE 21, 2021

    Capture the Dark Photography Contest

    Photography plays a powerful role in the dark sky movement. A photograph of the naturally dark sky connects those who’ve never laid eyes on the naturally dark sky to a universe hidden behind the veil of skyglow. Similarly, images of wildlife and the night impacted by light pollution can spark conservation awareness and action. Photography has the power to transport us and inspire us to connect with and ultimately protect the night. 

    In celebration, the International Dark-Sky Association is hosting the second annual Capture the Dark Photography Contest! It is free to enter and open to entrants worldwide. Winners of each category will receive a prize package that includes a Peak Design field pouch and camera strap, a PhotoPills license, a feature in our Nightscape publication, the IDA blog and social media, an IDA membership, and IDA swag.


    Entry Period:

    The contest submission window opens on June 21, 2021, at 12 pm PDT, and closes on July 23, 2021, at 12 pm PDT. To participate in the contest, please carefully review the submission instructions located here and use the submission links below.



    One winner will be selected for each categoryLimit one entry per category per person.


    • Connecting to the Dark – Experiencing a natural night provides perspective, inspiration, and leads us to reflect on our humanity and place in the universe. Share a photo that illustrates our connection to the night. 
    • International Dark Sky Place – Over 170 protected lands and municipalities around the world have been certified by IDA as an International Dark Sky Place creating havens for astrophotographers. Share a photo taken in one of these locations.
    • The Impact of Light Pollution – Light pollution can have significant impacts on the environment, human health, and our access to the night sky. Share a shot that demonstrates the impact of light pollution. This category also includes images of terrible lighting, glare bombs, etc. 
    • The Bright Side of Lighting – Light pollution can give artificial lighting a bad reputation, but lighting that follows IDA’s Principles for Responsible Outdoor Light can be beautiful, healthy, and functional. Share a shot of lighting that respects the dark. 
    • Creatures of the Night – Light pollution doesn’t only erase our view of the stars, scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on wildlife including amphibians, birds, insects, and mammals. Share a photo of a creature that is impacted by light pollution. 
    • Deep Sky – For thousands of years, humans have looked to the night sky and wondered what is out there. Today, we can take photos of deep space objects from our own backyards. Share a photo of an object(s) such as nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters.
    • The Mobile Photographer – No big camera? No problem! Share a shot from any of the above categories taken with a cell phone, tablet, or GoPro. No DSLR, mirrorless camera, or drone shots. 
    • Youth – Share a shot for any of the above categories taken by someone 17 years old or younger. 



      To judge submissions, IDA has coordinated a panel of astrophotographers from around the world:

      Entrants will remain anonymous to the panel during the judging period. 

      We want to extend a special thank you to the sponsors of the 2021 Capture the Dark Photography Contest for their generous support.


      Peak Design Logo

      Contest Details: 

      • Be sure to carefully follow the submission instructions located here. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.
      • You must include ALL of the required information in the caption section including camera settings (lens, shutter speed, ISO, aperture, etc.), technical category, and connection to the category. More information on what is required here.
      • The contest is free to enter. There is no purchase necessary. 
      • One entry per category per person.
      • The same photograph cannot be submitted to more than one category.
      • Submissions must be received between June 21, 2021, at 12pm PDT and July 23, 2021, at 12pm PDT using the submission form. 
      • The photo must be in JPEG format. 
      • Entrants applying to the Youth category must be 17 years of age or younger at the time of submission. 
      • Entrants must be the sole and exclusive author and owner of the photograph and have the full and exclusive right, power, and authority to submit the photograph to IDA’s Capture the Dark contest. 
      • All photos should follow ethical dark sky and wildlife photography practices and be taken legally (see below). 
      • In order to keep the judging process blind, submitted photos cannot be watermarked or be otherwise marked.


        Photo Entry Rules:

        All photos should follow ethical night sky and wildlife photography practices. Images that inappropriately add artificial light at night (such as light painting, shining white light towards the sky, etc.) will not be considered. Images must be taken legally, adhering to local access regulations such as nighttime closures or restrictions. Do not go to closed areas to photograph for this contest. 

        On the entry submission form in the caption section, you must indicate how your photo was taken or created! You must provide the correct information in the caption section when submitting your photo of your photograph will be disqualified. 

        In the caption section please tell us ALL of the following:

        • The camera settings you used for the photo (focal length, ISO, shutter speed, etc.) If submitting to the mobile category let us know what you used to take the photo. Be as detailed as you can. 
        • Which technical category your photo falls under (single exposure, blend, stacked, tracked, panorama). Select all that apply, more information on each can be found below.
        • The connection your photo has to the contest category (less than 100 words)
        • Any additional information you’d like to share about the photo

        The following is adapted from Royce Bair’s Nightscaper group.

        The following images are ALLOWED: 

        Single exposure: The image is a single exposure. In expression: the camera triggered only once to acquire the image. The image is a single light frame. 

        Blend: A digital combination of several images taken from the same tripod position, during the same night, with the same shooting direction and focal length.

        This includes:

        • Foregrounds captured during the blue hour/with moonlight, combined with a sky captured during astronomical night/without the moon in the sky.
        • Focus stacks for an increased depth of field
        • Tracked skies, blended with untracked foregrounds. In this case, small movement of the tripod position (i.e. to the backside of a foreground feature, to avoid too much blur in the tracked sky image) is acceptable but must be stated.

        Stacked: Noise reduction by stacking multiple images taken in immediate succession and with exactly the same settings, focal point, and length, field of view, and tripod position.

        Tracked: A tracking mount was used to capture the sky. These devices rotate the camera to counter earth rotation and thus allow longer exposures without producing trailed stars. Tracked & Blended images are allowed if they were both taken using the same tripod position as stated above. 

        Panorama: Multiple images stitched to produce a larger field of view. The individual images must be taken during the same night, from the same tripod position, and at the same focal length.

        The following images are NOT ALLOWED: 


        • Images merged together from different tripod positions/locations or with different viewing directions
        • Images merged together taken during different nights
        • Images merged together with different focal lengths
        • Images merged together with daylight foregrounds and night skies


        Make a Submission:

        STOP! Please carefully review the submission instructions located here to be sure that your submission is successfully received with all of the required information. If you do not put the correct information in the caption section your photo will be disqualified.  There is also a video walkthrough of the submission process located here. These instructions should help any answer questions that may arise during the submission process and ensure your photo is received successfully.

        Note: There are individual submission links for each contest category, be sure you are submitting to the correct category.

        Connecting to the Dark
        International Dark Sky Place
        The Impact of Light Pollution
        The Bright Side of Lighting
        Creatures of the Night
        Deep Sky
        The Mobile Photographer

        Help Spread the Word: 

        We have put together an outreach kit will all the tools you need to help us spread the word about IDA’s ‘Capture the Dark’ Photography Contest. Click here to get a copy.

        Questions about IDA’s ‘Capture the Dark’ Photography Contest? Please reach out to Lauren Scorzafava ( Note, submissions will not be accepted by email. 



        Looking for some astrophotography tips? We’ve got you covered! Check out this Astrophotography 101 YouTube video with Bettymaya Foott or check out her written guide.

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        Enter IDA’s ‘Capture the Dark’ Photography Contest | International Dark-Sky Association (

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