President’s Annual Message
Season’s Greetings and I hope you all had a Happy Holiday!
Well, 2020 has been a year to remember to forget or forget to remember, either way let’s hope that 2021 starts and ends on a better note. So the plan for this year is to wait and see if COVID subsides before we return to public outreach. You’ll see others doing public outreach and wondering why we don’t. The reason is that COVID or any virus is transmitted through mucus membranes, in our hobby that would be through your eye. If you have someone with symptoms that looks through your scope and they place their eye on the eyepiece (this happens a lot during public outreach) and someone else does the same then there is a very good chance that that person would be infected. Board members are testing new and innovative ways get us back out in the field as soon as possible.
I want to thank those BoD members (Donna, Ray, Dave, Jim, Cheryl, and Al) for their work this year and Jim Mazur for publishing our Newsletter.
We’ll continue with our Zoom General and BoD Meetings for now. Keep an eye on your emails from Prez@asnh.org for meeting notifications.
Have a happy and safe New Year!
Regards and clear skies
Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction of December 21, 2020
After sunset on December 21, Suzanne Duran Crelin used an iphone to take this image of the historic conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Look closely and you can see that the two planets have different colors. The planets were just about 6 seconds of arc apart, the closest they have been in hundreds of years. For those who were lucky enough to have clear skies, it was a memorable sight!
Torin Thurston writes:
Patricia and I were able to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn for about twenty minutes on December 21. I set up my 8” Newtonian scope in a few inches of snow. A yellowish Saturn, the two major bands around Jupiter and 4 of Jupiter’s moons dynamically tilted with respect to the horizon. Low in the horizon, between trees and clouds, but beautiful.
And, extra special as it was our 36th wedding anniversary!
Winter Solstice Celebration on Zoom
Like everything else in 2020, our annual Winter Solstice celebration had to be quite a bit different. Instead of gathering in person and sharing all sorts of delicious food, we met via Zoom on Saturday evening, December 19. There was a lot of interesting discussion on topics both astronomical and non-astronomical. Many of us had been watching Jupiter and Saturn as they approached their rare conjunction on December 21. Others had braved the cold and spotted some of the Geminid meteors, which apparently put on a pretty good show this year.
The highlight of the evening was the 28th edition of Al Washburn’s astronomy quiz. This year’s quiz included 15 questions, many of them quite difficult (as usual), and we graded ourselves on the honor system. No one came close to getting a perfect score, but Leo Taylor was the night’s winner with 11 correct, and Rich Cosgrove came in a close second with 10 correct. Well done, Leo and Rich!