The sky forecast looks awesome and clear for tonight, so back up your gear and let's head to star party hill! Arrive at dusk if you'd like to be social and chat with our astronomers as they set up their telescopes.
On Sep 17, 2017 Cal Poly held their annual Showcase event to finish off WOW week. Ron Setina and Dave Majors helped the Cal Poly Astronomy Club with their booth with our Solar Scopes. Since their scopes were looking at the Sun, Dave powered his with solar panels. Here are some images from that event: [...]
I am excited to announce that we have recently been able to secure a Cassini scientist to give our 2nd Ross and Sue Benitez Space Exploration Forum on Saturday, September 16. This is the day after the end of the Cassini mission as the spacecraft plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere. Jani is a dynamic speaker who [...]
There is a major eclipse over much of North America this month. The sun will go dark during the day right in the middle of a cloudless day. An eclipse is when one object completely blocks another. If you’re big on vocabulary words, the word that describes this as a syzygy, which is a straight [...]
Having recently visited UCSB's Sedgewick Reserve at the foothills of Figueroa Mountain in the Santa Ynez Valley, I was eager to learn more about the organization, people, and equipment comprising the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, commonly shortened to LCOGT Network or simply LCO. LCO's very first fully automated research telescope was installed in [...]
Our CCAS Members went on a road trip to SLAC on January 26, 2017! SLAC is the world's longest particle accelerator and has done incredible science over the past 65 years of operation. Six scientist have won Nobel prizes for their work done at SLAC, and each year they turn out over 1,000 research papers! [...]
Mt. Wilson Observatory Trip November 5-6, 2016 Trip summary and observation by Glen Smeltzer After meeting in the San Luis Obispo Home Depot parking lot, we boarded the bus and a car for the trip south. We stopped in Santa Barbara for a quick lunch and a peek through Dave Majors' H-alpha solar telescope [...]
For C.C.A.S. members who own a telescope or plan to use or purchase one in the near future! WHAT: Discussions and examples will include: Types of telescopes w/advantages and disadvantages of each. Telescope mountings and how they are used. Types of eyepieces and how to select them. Importance of eye relief, exit pupil, field of [...]
WHO: For C.C.A.S. members who own a telescope or plan to use or purchase one in the near future. WHAT: Discussions and examples will include, Types of telescopes w/advantages and disadvantages of each. Telescope mountings and how they are used. Types of eyepieces and how to select them. Importance of eye relief, exit pupil, field [...]
One of the students getting his first glimpse of the sun and a solar flare. Georgia Brown school. A little background: My daughter teaches first grade at the school, so last year she arranged for me to present to the third graders as part of their unit on the solar system. That went [...]
Here are the links I promised you all about the Epsilon Aurigae debris cloud imaged by the CHARA Array. This is the star I was discussing with the Docent at Mt. Wilson when he was explaining the CHARA Array. This is the star in that triangle I pointed out to some of you when we [...]
Here are several different member's report on the Mt Wilson trip! Click here to download Dave Major's account of the trip. The following is by Steve: Looking back, the trip was a great success. Even the mountain drive going up to the Observatory was very pleasant. We walked up to the 100 inch Observatory, passing [...]
We had TWO locations for star gazing in May, and here's the report for both of them: Talley Vineyards: "I arrived at Talley about 7PM to hazy skies with wind. I waited until 7:30 and then decided to set up. The winds died down and by 9:30 we had pretty good seeing although water began [...]
Mentoring Program with Lee Coombs is coming up on May 9th! This group meets in the evening at Lee's private observatory. This program is specifically for new members with little to no experience in astronomy. It’s designed to provide basic instruction about the night sky as well as how to use one of our club’s [...]
Our happy club of friendly astronomers were busy at the Earth Day astounding folks with different views of the sun through a variety of different solar scopes, including optical and h-alpha filters, including a special guest appearance by David Gibb's Lunt scope (image on the right below shows Dave Majors and his Coronado PST). [...]
The total lunar eclipse of April 15 lasted about 3.5 hours between late Monday and early Tuesday, with the Earth's shadow slowing darkening the face of the so-called "Blood Moon" in a jaw-dropping sight for stargazers willing to stay up extra late or rise super-early for the event. The lunar eclipse peaked at 3 a.m. [...]
Very full meeting last night! Dr. Dave Mitchell spoke to about 85 people, including a bunch of youngsters who asked as many questions as the adults! It was so nice to see the interest from the community about astronomy. Dave had a hard time getting speaking about the moons since there were so many questions [...]
Last week, Glen Smeltzer (that's me) gave a Solar Presentation at Dennis Eaton's 3rd grade class, San Gabriel Road Elementary School, Atascadero. Mr.Eaton's had been studying the solar system, so I offered to let the students view the sun through my Coronado PST so they could see more than just a bright yellow circle in [...]
We lost one of the true giants of the amateur community on January 15, 2014. John Lowry Dobson was a popularizer of amateur astronomy. He is most notable for being the promoter of a design for a large, portable, low-cost Newtonian reflector telescope that bears his name, the Dobsonian telescope. Read more about him here.
January 7, 2014: Major group of Sunspots yesterday that originated a huge x-class flare today! There wasn't a flare yesterday through the H-Alpha. Photo by Dave Majors Read more about this here
Here is a nice collection of upcoming astronomical events during 2014 from Universe Today.
On Friday 6 December, Joseph Carro conducted a star party for students of Georgia Brown Elementary School of Paso Robles. Three adults and eleven children enjoyed viewing the Moon, and the planet Venus. The night was clear, and several constellations were visible from a parking lot near Cuesta College. The students had many questions about [...]
Key Stars For observers at mid-northern latitudes, the Pleiades star cluster is due south around 10 P.M. local time. Above it is Perseus, flanked by Auriga and Cassiopeia. Orion can be found above the southeastern horizon, and between it and the celestial pole glitters Capella. High in the east are Castor and Pollux, the brightest [...]
On November 1 Joseph Carro, Tom Frey, Dave Majors (aka Galileo), Gus Nelson, and one parent with an SCT were at Branch Elementary School outside Arroyo Grande. The school had a very good turnout and we estimated at least 100 people. At one point all 5 telescopes had long lines of at least 15 people at each. On [...]
On Saturday Oct 5th, 2013 at 10am Aurora Lipper gave an astronomical presentation at the SLO library to the general public entitled “Black Holes, Solar Flares, and Jupiter’s Lasers”. We had over 80 people join us on this bright sunny morning, Dave Majors, Joseph Carro, and Aurora Lipper amazed the crowd with their solar scopes [...]
Here are a couple of beautiful images from the annular solar eclipse on May 9 / 10th. More info and images are available from NASA and Space.com
Curiosity has successfully landed on the surface of Mars! Here are some of the first images: More images are being posted by NASA here: Mars Science Laboratory Image Gallery Live coverage starts at 8:00pm on NASA TV and 2:00pm at The Planetary Society's Planetfest This is the stuff of dreams, imagination, creativity and innovation. This [...]
Talk Title: Special Event - Summer Astronomical Research Presentations Time & Location: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 7:00 PM - 8:40 PM, Room 2402 at Cuesta College (the observatory building) A special joint meeting of the CCAS and Cuesta College will take place on Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 7:00 PM - 8:40 PM, Room 2402, Cuesta [...]
This event is over... thank you to everyone who participated. Together, CCAS reached over 1,000 people! Here are some if the pictures from the transit: A transit of Venus is the observed passage of the planet across the disk of the sun. The planet Venus, orbiting the sun [...]
On May 20, 2012, an annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible within a narrow corridor that will traverse the Northern Hemisphere of Earth. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the [...]
Monthly club newsletters are available for members to download. If you’re a member of CCAS, you’ll be able to download these newsletters to your computer.
Join the CCAS for a star gazing event, rain or shine at the Los Osos public library! Here's the information you need to know...
Kermit King Elementary held theirs on the evening of Thursday, January 26. These events are held in the schools’s gym and feature various science exhibits- some by the school ‘s students ,Van de Graaff Generators by High School students, and of course our own CCAS members with telescopes. This is education at its best- hands [...]
Jill Tarter is Director, Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. On October 8th, she gave an amazing presentation to over 300 people at Cal Poly State University. Tarter’s work has brought her wide recognition in the scientific community, including two Public Service Medals from NASA. In 2004 Time Magazine [...]
At the invitation of Joe Laurenzi of the Los Osos Public Library, CCAS astronomers held a very successful star party featuring the first quarter Moon and Jupiter. Attending for CCAS were myself with my 12 “ Orion Intelliscope, Joe Carro with his 11” Celestron, and Tom Frey with the big boy-his 18” Obsession Dob. We [...]
As part of "Math and Science" night at Virginia Peterson Elementary School - Principal Brad Yee requested a couple of telescopes from CCAS. In response Joe Carro arranged for us to have our telescopes at their school. The packed auditorium was set up with tables for the various grades to to demonstrate knowledge of math [...]
We're bringing telescopes to view the moon and Jupiter on Feb 10th! Here's how you can join us:
On Jan 7 Joe Carro and I attended a star party at Trinity Lutheran Church School in Paso Robles at the invitation of Jackie Loper- one of the teachers at this school. This event was a wild success with 50 or so students and parents in attendance. To start with- this party was coupled with [...]
December 1, 2010 Visitors: Administrators, Adults and students from the Guadalupe-Nipomo, Dunes Center Chris Estrada, Dave Majors, and I (Tom Frey) held a star party on 12/1/10 at the Nipomo Native Gardens (NNG) in Nipomo, CA. This was at the request made to Cindy Jelinek and Charlie Gulyash, members of the NNG, from Kanani Fox, [...]
There's a full lunar eclipse on Dec 21st at 3:17am Eastern Time (12:17am Pacific) which is visible from all of North America! If you have no idea what a lunar (as opposed to solar) eclipse is, check out this new JPL information video: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=950 For those of you more experienced with eclipses, here's the exact [...]
On the night of 28 November 2010, a star party was held at a residence in West Templeton. Astronomer Joseph Carro met with Mary Gardner and members of her family. There were five adults and six children at the house on Claassen Road. Upon his arrival, the skies were cloudy, so Joseph placed his telescope, [...]
From Dave Majors: I was at the Boy Scout event on 10/29-30 with over 500 scouts and possibly rainy weather, and it turned out better than I thought it would (given the weather forecast). It clouded over as the sun was going down but I did get the chance to shoot holes in the clouds. [...]
I figure we will be asked about the planet discovery that was in the paper so here are the stats: Star Name: Gliese 581 - also listed as variable star HO Lib Spect: M3V Mass: .031 Suns Luminosity: .013 Suns Apparent Mag: 10.55 Surface Temp: 3500 K Distance: 20 ly or 6 pc Variability: BY [...]
After being worked on at Reed and Chris Estrada’s place in Lancaster, California, the 1 meter photometric telescope has been moved back to the Orion Observatory (near Santa Margarita Lake not far from San Luis Obispo, California). Below are some photographs (taken by Cheryl Genet) of the telescope being set up. IMPORTANT: Click on the [...]
Wow... what a beautiful night! We had such a great time with the clear night as tons of folks trekked up the hill. Many thanks extend out to Kent Wallace, Pete Roebber, Chris and Reed Estrada for their time, telescopes, and talent! We had mostly 'big guns' up at the hill (18", 20", and 22" [...]
The August 7, 2010 KOA star party was a success even though there were only 4 telescopes. Dave was there with his 12” Intelliscope, Kent with his 20” Starsplitter and Reed with his and Chris’s homebuilt 22”. A 6” Newt on a German equatorial arrived after dark and was set up at the north end [...]
From VP Chris Estrada: The last Star Party on July 10, 2010 at the Santa Margarita KOA had mixed results... Only 4 scopes turned up... Reed Estrada and I, Tom Frey, Pete Roebbers and David Majors... There was a modest public turn out... The afternoon started out iffy but then just after sun set it [...]
One Meter Photometric Telescope at RTMC (Riverside Telescope Maker’s Conference) on May 15, Big Bear Lake, California Report from: Russ Genet, Reed Estrada, and VP Chris Estrada The one meter wooden prototype photometric telescope made it to RTMC this year. First “sawdust” was this past October, so construction has been underway for about seven months. [...]
The CCAS was invited to be the guest speaker for the Cambria Rotary Club on Friday, June 18th, 2010, who meets weekly at the Cambria Pines Lodge. Member Joseph Carro was the presenter: "The meeting of the Cambria Rotary went very well. I had a presentation ready, but as soon as the introduction ended the [...]
The CCAS was invited to co-host a wine-tasting event under the stars on June 19, 2010 at sunset. This is the fifth year in a row that we've had this wonderful opportunity to share with the public, and we hope to continue this event in the future. "Cass Winery star party was an unqualified success! [...]
The June 12th, 2010 public star party at the KOA campground was a HUGE success. It was well attended by both astronomers and the general public. The Night started off a little breezy but it rapidly calmed at dusk. The conditions where clear and cool, which made for a very pleasant evening. Also not to [...]
The CCAS was invited to host a star-gazing event on Saturday, June 5, 2010 with the American Cancer Society. The event was called Camp Reach for the Stars "Creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays..." According to one of the organizers there where approximately 15 children, cancer survivors, and their families attending the [...]
We were at the new star site, Dancing Deer Ranch in Templeton on Saturday, June 5th, 2010. Although we weren't sure what to expect to see with the scopes (it was really our first time out there), we were quite impressed! Here's the scoop on the scopes: From Tom Frey: "Omega Centauri (NGC 5239) is [...]
On June 5, CCAS members were finally able to give the Dancing Deer Ranch site a good workout. Attending with their scopes were the dobs: Aurora's 8 year old son Benji with his 3” scope. Kent with his 20” Tom with his 17” Dave and Andy with their 12” scopes The skies were clear, the [...]
Saturday, June 5, 2010 at Sunset CCAS Members are invited to a private star party just for CCAS members at an 80-acre ranch in Templeton, owned by retired professor Peter Huber (who is also an amateur astronomer). The ranch is an eco-friendly retreat center available to CCAS free of charge on select nights. The site [...]
The CCAS provided a star gazing event on May 15th, 2010 to Boy Scout Pack 91 at Lopez Lake - here are the highlights! From Member Joseph Carro: We met at Camp Mabel French at 8pm to find about 20 Boy and Girl Scouts and about 15 adults who accompanied them. After setting our telescopes, [...]
We had lots of sun at the Earth Day event in Mission Plaza, SLO on Sat. April 24th, 2010. Representing CCAS were members Dave and President Aurora, who found they were the only booth that didn't bring a tent for shade, as their exhibit included five solar-viewing telescopes. Dave's 12" Dob had an off-axis solar [...]
Report from VP Chris Estrada on the monthly CCAS meeting for April 2010: The meeting went great - we had lots of people both young and "seasoned" alike. The power point, though a little mistimed was full of interesting information ( I should know I spent the better part of 2 days staring at it) [...]
Looking for fun ways to celebrate National Astronomy Day on April 24th? CCAS Members are invited to hit the streets with us on Saturday, April 24th at 11am at the Earth Day celebration event in the plaza at the SLO Mission. We'll be showing the public the sun and answering questions about telescopes and astronomy. [...]
Dancing Deer Ranch 17 Apr 2010: We had a small group of 7 people and 2 telescopes. Just a nice small informal group. We had a retired physicist who is a new member to the club along with one of Peter’s staff who live on the grounds. Along with Aurora we had a couple of [...]
Here's a website with the Epsilon Aurigae IR images: http://www.citizensky.org/content/big-announcement
YouTube: KSBY TV News Report of Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenberg in December 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upq6bsvjLS0&feature=youtube_gdata Santa Maria Times Article: VAFB Gets Ready for Heavy Duty (Delta IV Heavy) http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/local/military/article_e5e6b9c2-2119-11df-948a-001cc4c002e0.html Scientific American Article: Does the U.S. Produce Too Many Scientists? You can provide your views and comments to the author of this "draft" article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-the-us-produce-too-m&sc=WR_20100224 [...]
This is Part 1 in a series of ten videos produced by the ESA for public distribution about the Hubble Space Telescope and much more. If you want to watch all ten videos, click on the player below and you'll be taken to You Tube, where you can access all ten.
Sadly, the weather got in the way of our night under the starry skies! We highly suggest joining our email list, where you'll get the latest information on whether a star party is a GO or NO-GO depending on weather conditions.
Are you ready for Saturday's STAR GAZING event? We'll be at the Santa Margarita KOA at sunset - come join us for this once-a-month free public event under the night skies!
April 17, 2010 at Sunset CCAS Members are invited to a private star party just for CCAS members at an 80-acre ranch in Templeton, Dancing Deer Ranch, owned by retired professor Peter Huber (who is also an amateur astronomer). The ranch is an eco-friendly retreat center available to CCAS free of charge on select nights. [...]
Here's a brief movie highlighting the Science and Technology behind NRAO's instruments: the Very Large Array (VLA) and its expansion (EVLA); the Green Bank Telescope (GBT); the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA); and the Atacama Large Millimeter-wave Array (ALMA). Read more here.
Astronomy Beat #40 Speaking for Astronomy: Harder Than It Looks (PDF, 1 MB) by Bruce Margon (University of California, Santa Cruz) Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer.
Astronomy Beat #39 Dark Matter: A Talk with Vera Rubin (PDF, 650 KB) by Douglas Isbell and Stephen Strom Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer.
Here's a nice 22 deg ice halo from Morro Bay this morning from CCAS member Dave Majors.
Astronomy Beat #38 Finding the Naked s Process in Stardust (PDF, 672 KB) by Donald D. Clayton (Clemson University) Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer.
On April 3, 2009, countries from around the world participated in the '100 Hours of Astronomy' webcast to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy. Produced to support the webcast, this movie highlights the discoveries of the SOHO and TRACE satellites, and features NASA solar scientists Alex Young and Dawn Meyers, describing how both satellites view [...]
Astronomy Beat #37 Heaven's Touch (PDF, 823 KB) by James Kaler (University of Illinois) Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer.
For those of you interested in the subject of global warming and climate change, here is another opportunity to listen to the views of local retired professional astronomer Dr. Ray Weymann who has been deeply immersed in studying this subject over the past year to understand details of the science, facts and fiction behind information [...]
Saturday, April 24th in front of Borders Booksellers in SLO from 11am - 2pm Come out and celebrate National Astronomy Day! CCAS Members are invited to hit the streets with us in celebration of this years Astronomy week. We will be handing out NASA Astronomy Packs, peeking through telescopes, and sharing the love of the [...]
Astronomy Beat #36 Preserving the Dark: Advocating Against Light Pollution at the American Medical Association (PDF, 664 KB) by Mario Motta, MD Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer.
What is a black hole? A black hole is a region of space that has so much mass concentrated in it that there is no way for a nearby object to escape its gravitational pull. There are three kinds of black hole that we have strong evidence for: 1. Stellar-mass black holes are the remaining [...]
Sky Map for November 2009 One of the perks of being a member of CCAS is all the great up-to-date astronomy information we provide. This is a star chart published monthly for you to explore, learn, and enjoy the night sky. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the file. Reprinted with permission from www.SkyMaps.com.
Astronomy Beat #35 The White House Star Party: Reports from the South Lawn (PDF, 1.1MB) by Stephen Pompea and Dara Norman (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer. Click here for a video of this amazing [...]
Celestial Observer Newsletter: November 2009 You'll find monthly sky highlights, new meeting location information, and more in our monthly newsletter. Click here to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer. Adobe Reader is required: Download the free software.
College and high school students are conducting original scientific research through an innovative one-semester seminar offered by Cuesta College. Students present their research at major scientific conferences and their findings are published in scientific journals. Real science is about the unknown; these students, just like working scientists, do not know what they will find—no one [...]
You're invited to the Sagan/Michelson Fellows Symposium, Nov 12--13 (Thurs-Fri) at Caltech. The symposium highlights cutting edge research being conducted by current Sagan postdoctoral fellows and past Michelson postdoctoral and graduate student fellows. In addition to keynote talks by Dr. Jeremy Kasdin and Dr. Chas Beichman, there will be presentations on studies of stars, disks, [...]
This is a neat presentation of the March 2005 teleconference on the Hubble Top 10. It comes bundled with a power point presentation, MP3 audio, and PDF written transcripts. Be sure to download all three before you get started. Best enjoyed with a bowl of popcorn. You can play the file by downloading the entire [...]
Astronomy Beat #34 What If the Earth Had a Backwards-Orbiting Moon: The Art and Science of "What If?" Questions (PDF, 692 KB) by Neil F. Comins (University of Maine) Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer. Adobe Reader is required [...]
Dr. Laurance Doyle from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute and Dr. John Keller from Cal Poly discuss the possibility of life on other planets. You can click PLAY on the audio player below or download the MP3 file. Download the MP3 file here.
Astronomy Beat #33 The Discovery of the First Gravitational Lenses (PDF, 1.3 MB)by Ray Weymann (Staff Member Emeritus, Carnegie Observatories) Click on the link above to view the pdf, or right-click (PC)/control-click (Mac) the link to download the file to your computer. Adobe Reader is required to view Astronomy Beat. Download the free software.
This is a FOUR-PART video series that takes you on a complete tour of the International Space Station, guided by a NASA astronaut and filmed in the summer of 2009. Enjoy!
Cal Star is a great 4 day event that my father and I (Chris) always have fun at. Lake San Antonio is not the greatest place for star parties but it works well. There are plenty of things to do both day and night. We usually bring swim trunks, bikes, and hiking gear. The night [...]
Get the latest information on space exploration events happening worldwide, including current and upcoming NASA missions, news about the International Space Station, star gazing reports, and other astronomical resource information. Check out past events hosted by the CCAS: The Search for Life in the Universe NASA Kepler Mission: Detection of (Tatooine-like) Habitable Planets Around Double-Star [...]