April Monthly Meeting
At the April monthly meeting, Leo Taylor gave a presentation on the Clear Sky Chart website. This is a service provided by Attilla Danko that gives astronomical weather forecasts for over 5000 locations in the US and Canada. There are Clear Sky Charts for over 40 locations in Connecticut, including Young’s Pond Park, Silver Sands State Park, and the Strang Scout Reservation in Goshen. These three charts are sponsored by periodic contributions from ASNH, since these are sites that we use for observing sessions and the Connecticut Star Party. If you do observing from elsewhere in Connecticut, there is probably a Clear Sky Chart for a location just a few miles away.
Each chart gives hour-by-hour predictions about clouds, sky transparency,seeing, wind, etc., for the next two days, based on a weather maps provided by the Canadian Meteorological Center. Below is an example of a Clear Sky Chart for Silver Sands:
The columns show the local time in 24-hour format. Blue represents good conditions for astronomical observing (few clouds, good transparency, etc.), and white represents poor observing conditions.
Here is the link for the Clear Sky Chart for New Haven:
A list of all the Clear Sky Chart sites in Connecticut can be found here:
May Monthly Meeting
In his ongoing series of constellation posters made by students in his former astronomy classes, Al Washburn presented some nice posters on Andromeda. There was discussion of some of the main objects of interest in Andromeda. In addition to Messier 31, the famous Andromeda Galaxy, there is a small but distinct galaxy, NGC 404, that is very close to the star Mirach, and therefore it is relatively easy to locate. There is also a nice double star, Almaak.
Allan Sacharow gave a presentation about a wonderful experience he had recently. One of his former students, Henry Schorz, had on observatory built in California and dedicated it to Allan. The telescope is a PlaneWave 14-inch CDK on a Bisque MX mount. Henry flew Allan and a friend out to California on first class, and then they were picked up by a limo. Allan’s son Neil and the grandchildren were also there. There was an elegant dedication ceremony, and Allan was very honored and moved by the whole experience. He was given a T-shirt with the observatory’s name on it. Henry said that he will be installing a camera that will feed to Allan’s homes in Connecticut and Florida. Congratulations, Al!
In other business, Eliezer Cruz, who is a member of the Community Foundation of New Haven, mentioned that there are grants that we could apply for to help finance some other library scopes in the future. This could also pay for insurance in case something happens to the scopes.The future of the Bethany observatory site is still uncertain, but there appears to be genuine interest in the community to preserve and restore the observatory so that it can be available for public use. A member of the Audubon Society in Stratford offered to let ASNH use a site there for private viewing. He said that it is a peninsula the sticks out into the sound. First, however, we will try out the New Haven Land Trust site at the Long Wharf Nature Preserve in a members-only observing night on July 14 (rain date July 15).