VBAS Calendar

September 2017
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Astronomy Picture of the Day
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  • The Big Corona

    Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the


Monte Sano State Park

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Von Braun Astronomical Society

Monthly Society Meeting

The next VBAS Monthly Meeting is Friday, September 15 at 7:30 PM. Join us for pizza at 7:00 PM.

The September program is: “Mars: Exploring the Red Planet” discusses humanity’s long relationship with Mars and what it will take to send people there as part of NASA’s Journey To Mars and will be presented by Dr. Tom Percy. Mars/VBAS Frank Schenck

Bio for Tom Percy

Dr. Tom PercyDr. Percy is an Aerospace Engineer working in the Advanced Concepts Office at Marshall Space Flight Center. In his time working at Marshall, Tom has primarily been involved in advanced in-space transportation, including advanced propulsion technology development, trajectory analysis, and spacecraft and mission concept development. In his current role with the Marshall Advanced Concepts Office Tom supports the evaluation of transportation architecture options for human deep space exploration and the development of robotic space mission concepts. Prior to his time with the Advanced Concepts Office, he analyzed emerging propulsion technologies for the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program Office at MSFC. He holds a PhD in Aerospace Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from GeorgiaTech, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

 

Don Reed

Vice-President

 

September 2017 Planetarium Shows

We Host a Public Planetarium Show Every Saturday in the Wernher von Braun Planetarium that Begins at 7:30 PM

Johannes KeplerJohannes Kepler- Saturdays, September 2 & 30 at 7:30 PM

Johannes Kepler was an incredible mathematician and astronomer. We will take a brief look at his life and contributions to science. We will also talk about the planets that have been discovered around other stars in our galaxy using data from the Kepler Space Telescope. Presented by Gena Crook, VBAS Director of Education and Programs.

Soap Opera in the Sky - Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 PM

Many of the constellations are named for mythical subjects. Join VBAS Resident Astronomer, Doug Horacek, as he describes some prominent fall constellations that are a part of a well known story, which has a hero, princess, a Gorgon, a winged horse, just to mention some of the main characters.

Galileo - Saturdays, September 9 & 23 at 7:30 PM Galileo

Over 400 years ago Galileo looked to the heavens using a new piece of technology, the telescope. What he saw change our perspective of the universe. It moved the Earth from being the center of the universe to a planet orbiting a star. Come learn what he saw and hear the stories of his life. Some stories are true and some are myths. Presented by James Brelsford, veteran VBAS presenter.

Remember that if weather permits, there will be telescopes open for viewing.

If you have your own telescope, feel free to set it up after the show. If you need some assistance with setting up or operation your telescope, our ever helpful observing crew will try to help you  so that you can better enjoy the night sky.

Admission for Saturday Planetarium Shows:

Admission is $5 for Adults, $3 for Students, and free for children under 6, as well as VBAS members. Weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to look at some of the wonders of the universe through our telescopes following the planetarium program with the help of our experienced and knowledgeable observing crew.

For information about our Planetarium shows, as well as special group scheduling, and pricing, please contact our Planetarium Director,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or our Director of Education and Programs,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


 

A Brief VBAS History

Written by Al Reisz Sunday, 07 November 2010 20:45

 

In 1954 Huntsville High School student Sam Pruitt wrote a letter asking Dr. von Braun, then at Redstone Arsenal, to build an observatory for school children interested in astronomy. Von Braun didn’t hesitate in organizing his colleagues, students and others in the community to build our observatory on Monte Sano. Von Braun was our society’s first president [then known as the Rocket City Astronomical Association (RCAA)]. After his death we re-named our society in his honor. VBAS is an astronomical society for amateur and professional astronomers. VBAS is a special astronomical society in that our origins began with the citizens who fervently believed in space exploration before it began. In the early 1960s NASA scientists used the telescopes at VBAS to help select lunar landing sites for the Apollo program. VBAS history is storied with space exploration pioneers such as Oberth, von Braun, Stuhlinger, Swanson and Angele. Many of our members were involved in developing the Saturn V, the rocket that sent the Apollo astronauts to walk on and explore the Moon. Our planetarium has a shield of the Saturn V third stage fuel tank top half serving as our projection dome. VBAS is a society that provides the public with opportunities for telescopic viewing of the night sky. We have astronomy programs, star parties and astronomy related special events. Still true to our beginnings we continue to give presentations in astronomy and star tours to student and other groups. We welcome those of you with interests in exploring the stars to join us.

26 June 57 The Rocket City Astronomical Association (now the Von Braun Astronomical Society) put out the first edition of the locally edited Space Journal, a new magazine dealing with space travel and the astrosciences. The first issue was dedicated to Dr. Hermann Oberth, who is known as the

26 June 57 The Rocket City Astronomical Association (now the Von Braun Astronomical Society) put out the first edition of the locally edited Space Journal, a new magazine dealing with space travel and the astrosciences. The first issue was dedicated to Dr. Hermann Oberth, who is known as the "father of astronautics." Left to right: Dr. Hermann Oberth, Dr. Wernher von Braun, RCAA (VBAS) President, and Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger.

VBAS is the second observatory that Wernher von Braun was instrumental in building. As a student at the Lietz boys high school that he attended in Berlin, at the school’s North Sea campus on the island Spiekeroog, he influenced the school to buy a telescope and build a small observatory in 1927. He selected a reflector with a 95-mm objective lens.

Al Reisz,

Past-President

   
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