Roper Mountain Astronomers


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  • December 09, 2019 8:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What a fantastic year our club has had!  For starters, I'd like to thank Russel Fern for serving as our last president.  Russel led the club to seek an updated web site.  If you are reading this you are on the new web site.  Thank you Russel!  The club also was able to reassess its use of costly storage.  In July, the club vacated its storage unit.  Frank Crowder, Vic Crowley, and Tim Sullivan also passed the baton of leadership and stepped down from serving on the board.  All three of these gentlemen served many terms, in various positions over the years.  The club is here due to their service over the years.  Thank you Tim, Frank and Vic.  We had a great line up of speakers throughout the year.  We covered many topics; from astrobiology, to women's contribution to astronomy, astronomy's contribution to ancient civilizations calendars, and lets throw in some dark matter as well!   

    We have a great lineup of guest speakers in 2020.  Author,  Jonathan Ward will be back to discuss preparing for a Messier Marathon.  Dr Judy Beck, who spoke several years ago, will also be back to speak.  Look for us to change up our Star Parties a little bit this coming year.   More on that surprise in the near future.   Randy Cockrill has volunteered to lead our club member learning effort.  We are looking for both mentors and mentees  If you want someone to mentor you or guide you to improve your astronomy skill and knowledge, or if you are willing to share your expertise, let Randy know.  The board is always looking for fresh ideas to improve the club and make your hobby more enjoyable.    Let us know your thoughts and ideas.   I'm looking forward to an exciting 2020.  

    Bill Michaud


  • November 03, 2019 10:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Braving colder than normal temperatures, members of the Roper Mountain Astronomers met at the Dark Sky Site on Saturday,  November 2nd. The Star Party dates were canceled during the month of October due to cloudy weather, so members were excited for clear skies. Gates were opened at 5:30 PM and attendees began arriving soon after.  Approximately 13 club members and guests were present by 9:00 PM,  3 of them children. It was great seeing the young faces! Club President Bill Michaud operated the club's 14 in scope, in addition to the 4 member telescopes, so there were plenty of viewing opportunities to enjoy. 

    A waxing crescent moon was visible for most of the evening, as well as Jupiter and Saturn. A long list of targets also included Hercules Cluster (M13), Ring Nebula (M57), Dumbell Nebula (M27), Double Double (Epsilon1-2 Lyrae), Andromeda Galaxy (M31), Double Cluster (NGC 884/869), Owl Cluster (NGC 457), and Pleiades Cluster (M45).  John Coutts and I took the opportunity to capture images. John used a CCD astronomical camera and I connected my iPhone to a NeXYZ telescope adapter. (pictures below).   

    At the time of sunset, the temperature was a comfortable 60 degrees, but a strong breeze and dropping temperatures quickly drove the temps into the upper 40's. The heated building provided a terrific place to warm up while waiting for the Moon to set.  By 10:00, the wind and Moon had all but disappeared and revealed a truly fantastic view of the Milky Way, quite possibly the best view attendees had experienced in recent memory.  Thanks to Allen Hill and Dennis Wilde for assisting with the opening and closing of the site. 

    Don't let cooler temperatures stop you from attending the next RMA Star Party.  If you would like advice on staying comfortable on a cool night, ask any of our experienced members and they would be happy to guide you toward the right clothing and equipment. Some of the best views we experience can happen during the colder months!  For more information on attending a Star Party, see the Events section of the website. The dates are published in the monthly Spectrum, and directions will be visible to Members after logging into the site.  Here's to clear skies!

    M13, Josh Palmer. Taken 11/2/2019 with iPhone 11 Pro and Celestron C9.25:

    Moon, Josh Palmer. Taken 11/2/19 with iPhone 11 Pro and Celestron C9.25:

  • November 01, 2019 3:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Board of Directors of the Roper Mountain Astronomers has made the unanimous decision to move our existing website and member management tools to Wild Apricot. Wild Apricot specializes in online membership management for organizations like the RMA and was a clear choice to provide a modern website and membership experience. In addition to the new web design, RMA will now see new benefits, including:

    • Members Only section.
    • Member Surveys
    • Event Calendar and Online Registration
    • Member directory
    • Site photo gallery and member photo galleries
    • Mobile apps for members and Admins
    • Online Store, Blogs, Forums, and Classifieds.  
    • Automated membership application and dues payments.
    • Recurring Membership Payments
    • Automatic Proration of Annual Dues for new members
    • Family memberships with multiple logins.

    Please bear with us as we transition our existing content and add the new features to the site. More announcements will be made to members in the near future. 

  • October 30, 2019 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The November RMA meeting will be held at Roper Mountain Science Center's Wilkins Conference Center on Thursday, November 21st @ 7:30PM. The guest speaker will be Mark Leising and he will be presenting on "Dark Matter and Dark Energy". Light refreshments will be served. This meeting is open to the public. See you there! 

    RSVP to the meeting here. 

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