Roper Mountain Astronomers


  • February 25, 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A great crowd of stargazers arrived at the Dark Sky Site for our February Star Party on Saturday. Although the temps were projected to be in the 30's, we had at least 15 people in attendance for much of the evening, including a couple children and other guests. We had two club telescopes in operation, and 5 or 6 more brought by members. This was the first star party for my new CPC telescope, so it was great to work out the remaining bugs with my new setup.

    Arriving just before sunset, we found the weather to be a rather pleasant sunny 55 degrees while our equipment was brought out. And thanks to all of the attendees who brought snacks, there was a terrific assortment of treats and nutritious items. We started off with dazzling views of Venus, which is moving towards its maximum Eastern elongation in March. After the sun set, we were treated to a clear sky and good visibility. Just a few thin clouds moved in and out over the course of the evening. Quite a relief after all of the cloudy skies and rain we've had in the Upstate this winter. Our guests and kids were treated to views from multiple scopes as we toured our favorite winter objects like the Orion Nebula, Pleiades Cluster, and the Eskimo Nebula. As the night went on, a few more folks stayed inside to keep warm. The rest soldiered on, but eventually decided to call it a night by 11:00 PM. I worked on some photography of Venus and M42, and those images are below. 

    We hope that the weather remains clear for the next Star Party in March, and that you will join us!

  • February 20, 2020 1:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tonight's scheduled RMA member meeting has been canceled due to inclement weather. The presentation on Lunar Photography will be rescheduled for a future date.

  • February 07, 2020 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    We have added a new page for loaner telescopes, which are available for checkout by RMA members. This page can be found under the "Members" menu while logged in. We will be adding additional information and telescopes to this list in the near future. If you don't have a telescope to use, we encourage you to consider checking one of these out so that you can begin exploring the night sky. 
  • January 30, 2020 4:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I'm pleased to announce that the member directory is live! This new benefit will allow us to keep in touch with one another, while protecting our privacy from public website visitors.

    We have only included essential information, such as name, phone, and email. To access the directory, log into the site, then DIRECTORY from the MEMBERS menu at the top. If you wish to change the amount of information shown for your account, please click your name at the very top of the screen to access your profile. Click Privacy, then Edit Profile. Here, you can enable and disable certain items. If you wish to be excluded from the member directory select "No access" for all items, then remove the check mark for "Show my profile to others". Click Save when done. 

    If you have any questions about this or any other new feature of the site, please email me or see me at the next club event! 

  • January 13, 2020 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two upcoming events have been added to our Events section: "Project Artemis-Forward to the Moon" and "Seeds in Space." Both presentations are being given by NASA Solar System Ambassador and past RMA President David Leaphart. Please join him for these fascinating subjects. Registration with the libraries is required for these events, and those details can be found on our Events list or on the Greenville County Library System website. Please note that these are independent events and not affiliated with the Roper Mountain Astronomers club.  

  • January 10, 2020 2:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Celestron has released a useful guide to celestial events in 2020. Hope you enjoy!

  • December 10, 2019 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The new RMA website is live! As of today, the domain is taking visitors to our new Wild Apricot site. Online payments have been activated through Affinipay, allowing members to make payments directly on the site. 

    The Roper Mountain Astronomers made the decision to move our existing website and member management tools to Wild Apricot, which specializes in online membership management for organizations like ours. It 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, News, Forums, and Classifieds 
    • Online membership application and payments
    • Automated membership management
    • Family (Bundle) memberships with multiple logins

    Online registrations are now being accepted, and we are asking all new and existing members to register on the site for 2020. We'll be sending out more information soon, so watch your inboxes. 

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

    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. 

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