What's Up with the Astronomical League - August 2014

Aug
09

In this issue:

  • Survey of night sky star gazing in Illionois
  • Update on League's Involvement with the Harvard Observatory Project
  • New Observing Award Programs Approved at ALCon 2014

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Comet C/2014E2 (Jacques) in August 2014

Comet C/2014 E2 (Jacques) is currently in constellation Perseus (week of Aug 10). It is currently around magnitude 7 in brightness with a coma of about 7 arcmin across. 

Interesting imaging opportunities in the evening on Aug 12 as it passes within 50 arcmin of open cluster NGC 1528; quite low though of those of us in the Denver --only 10⁰ above horizon in the NE (it will be higher up in eastern US). In the evening of Aug 19-20 as the comet passes through IC1848 and IC1845 (the heart and soul nebula). Astronomical darkness at 9:36 pm and third quarter moon rises about 1:12 am. Comet midway between around 10.

Peltier Award Introduction for Jim Fox

Aug
03

Having been “bitten by the bug” as a young boy in the 1950s, Jim began his amateur astronomy “career” as a member of a “Junior Moon-Watch Team,” eagerly awaiting the launch of the first artificial Earth satellites during the International Geophysical Year toward the end of that decade. But, unlike the young man in Walt Whitman’s famous poem, he never tired of the “Learn’d Astronomer” and quickly grew tired of simply gazing up at the beauty of the stars. He wanted to “Do something to contribute.”

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Survey: Stargazing at Illinois state parks.

Jul
30

Dear Illinois Astronomical League members and friends, and those who live in the neighboring states of Illinois:

In an e-mail conversation with Chicago Astronomical Society President Audrey Fischer, Elizabeth Norden of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has requested input from the Illinois Astronomy community.

If this is something in which you’d like to participate, please fill in the survey below  email to:

Elizabeth.Norden@illinois.gov

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Astronomical League Announces Youth Award Winners for 2014

Jun
30

Kansas City, MO)--The Astronomical League is pleased to announce the top finishers in its youth award programs for 2014. The first-place winner in the National Young Astronomer Award (NYAA) program is Pranav Sivakumar, from Tower Lakes, Illinois. A freshman at Barrington High School, Barrington, Illinois, his astronomical project uses a novel method developed to identify gravitationally lensed quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Understanding gravitational lensing can help decipher the properties of dark matter and dark energy.

The second-place winner is Katie Shen who lives in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Katie, a junior at Loudoun Academy of Science in Sterling, Virginia, titled her research project, “ Census of HII Regions in Sloan Digital Sky Survey.” These are regions of actively forming stars inside galaxies.

The top two finishers have each won an expenses-paid trip to receive their awards at ALCon, the national convention of the Astronomical League, being held in San Antonio, Texas, July 9-12, 2014. In addition, the first place winner will receive a special telescope from Explore Scientific, sponsor of the National Young Astronomer Award program.

The 2014 first-place winner of the League’s Jack Horkheimer/Smith Service Award, is Hagan Hensley, whose hometown is San Antonio. Hagan’s tremendous contribution to outreach activities for his astronomical society, the San Antonio League of Sidewalk Astronomers, earned him this award which is sponsored by the family of the late Jack Horkheimer, of the PBS astronomy program Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer. In addition to receiving his award, Hagan will receive a $1,000 check in recognition of this special achievement.

GE Austin, is the 1st place winner of the Jack Horkheimer/O’Meara Journalism Award for 2014. The title of his essay was “The Mass of Life”. He lives in the state of Oregon and will be receiving his award in person at ALCon 2014. He will also receive a $1,000 check for his special 1st place essay.

Our NYAA and Horkheimer Service awards are open to high school age youth. The Horkheimer Journalism award is open to youth ages 8-14. For specific entry guidelines, please refer to the Astronomical League website www.astroleague.org.

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