The Next LVAS Monthly Meeting!
Thursday, 4 February, 7:30pm.
Join us in the CSN Planetarium
on the Cheyenne Campus at
3200 East Cheyenne Ave in North Las Vegas
Click here for map.
"The PACA Project: Slooh 67P Campaign
The Importance of Amateur Observations"
President's Note - January
Happy New Years and welcome to the Las Vegas Astronomical Society. My name is Greg McKay and I'm proud and humbled to be taking over as president for 2016-17. I'm excited for what the new year brings and look forward to meeting and working with everyone. We have lots in store for the upcoming year beginning with our first meeting of the year, January 7th at 7:30pm. We also have our first Astronomy in the Park event on Saturday, January 9th.
My personal belief is that educating the public, children and adults, on the subject of the night sky should be our #1 priority. I’m very proud of the work the club has done with the public park events and especially the private school events. My plan is to attend EVERY one of these events that my job allows me to be there. Unfortunately, my work has me on the road a bit so I will not be able to attend every event but if I’m home I will be there. Not to single out just one person but I do want to recognize the work that Steve Bock has done to organize the educational events and I’m incredibly pleased to see that he will continue in that role.
While I’m not a professional astronomer I do consider myself an avid amateur. A little bit about myself, my adventure into this field began at about the age of 11 or 12 when helping my dad clean out our attic I found a very old 2” refractor telescope. Apparently it had belonged to my older brother years earlier and had been relegated to the attic I’m sure after many attempts to get any kind of useful image from it. Several nights of looking at the moon soon lead to boredom when one night I “discovered” Jupiter and Saturn. That first sighting of Saturn in this cheap little discarded telescope and I was hooked for life. Fast forward a few years and I’ve saved up enough lawn mowing money to buy a larger, slightly better 3” refractor. At least this one had an equatorial mount. A few years later and I made a serious upgrade to an 8” Celestron C8 and 5” Comet Catcher just in time for the return of Halley’s Comet. I managed to grab one decent image of the great comet but the combination of the C8 piggybacking the C.C. was just too much for the mount so the Comet Catcher scope was shelved for many years. Over the years the C8 was a great scope that helped me witness many great events including crash of Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter. Fast forward another bunch of years, yeah, that’s the technical term for it, and I sold the C8 for a Meade 12” SCT, my current main scope. The Comet Catcher remained shelved. Throughout this time period from Halley’s comet up until just a few years ago my interest in astrophotography had waned, mainly because of the difficulty. I just wanted to enjoy the night sky and anyone that’s done prime focus astrophotography knows that up until very recently it was a real pain. Off-Axis guiders, hypered films, freezing fingers…blah!
My interest in astrophotography was rekindled a few years ago with the purchase of the Canon 5D Mark II but I kept it simple with unguided star trails or piggybacked photography and then in March of 2013 C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) made an appearance and I decided to dive back into serious astrophotography, restoring the Comet Catcher and getting a new tracking mount for it.
So that’s where I’m at at this time and I plan on expanding my knowledge with this great bunch of guys and gals into the new year. Here’s wishing clear skies to everyone and as Jack Horkheimer used to say, “Keep Looking Up!”