Events

May 13, 2014 7:00 PM at the Magic Mountain Lodge in Londonderry, VT —   Find out what’s up in the current night sky (Moon and Planets) and learn about the Deep Sky Object of the Month and how to find it.  We will also discuss Jupiter and its weather, as well as Arp Objects.  Newbies and experienced astronomers alike are welcome.

Star Party Central

Members, please monitor your SoVerA Chat List messages for late determinations (see mailing lists). Typically, if weather is looking good a note will be posted the day before of percentage likelihood that we’ll observe as well as description of location, followed on the day of observing with a confirmation either way at ~4PM.

Past Events

 2014 Archive

April 8, 2014 7:00 PM at the Magic Mountain Lodge in Londonderry, VT — Join us for a night of general observation and tips, as well as a discussion about scientist, teacher, author, raconteur and musician Richard Feynman.

March 11, 2014 7:00 PM at the Magic Mountain Lodge in Londonderry, VT — Join us for a night of skills development. This is a meeting for people at all levels of observing, from novice to experienced. You may learn about such things as eyepieces, how to identify objects in the sky, how to use a skychart or even binoculars. This promises to be a lively evening!

February 11, 2014 7:00 PM at the Magic Mountain Lodge in Londonderry, VT— Guest speaker David McGaw of Dartmouth University will be speaking about the history and function of timekeeping and time dissemination. He will be looking at the ever-increasing precision of Solar to Astronomical to Atomic Time, from days and years (10^? seconds) down to sub-femtoseconds (10^-16 seconds).

January 14, 2014 7:00 PM at the Magic Mountain Lodge in Londonderry, VT — Our meeting topic is:  Carl Sagan and All of Us.  The late planetary astronomer was a legendary communicator of the scientific method, and through it, illuminations on the workings of the universe.  He was as concerned for all of our futures as he was about continuing a robust exploratory effort to learn more about the planets.

 2013 Archive

This archive includes second Tuesday meetings in Chester and (since February 2013) Fourth Thursday meetings in Arlington 

December 10, 2013 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT — Observing the Local Group – The Local Group is a group of galaxies, including our own, that are gravitationally bound together. We will talk about finding and observing the brightest members of the local group with just a modest telescope.

November 12, 2013 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT — Part I: Hot Stuff: Solar Beauty. A couple of experienced SoVerA astronomers will present a short PowerPoint talk about the sun and show some absolutely spectacular images of our primary energy source. We’ll discuss our plans to conduct solar observing this winter at Magic Mountain on a regular basis and the commencement of a campaign to raise funds for a new, specialized solar telescope for the purpose of bringing its surface to many more members of the public. Too hot for you? Then cool it with: Part II: Binocular Observing in Winter. Why a binocular? Because, let’s be real, when it’s cold, it’s easier to just dash out in our PJ’s and bunny slippers, and look at a few lovely celestial hot spots before we freeze. That’s much better than taking a long time setting up a computer telescope and dropping eyepieces in the snow. We’ll show you some neat tricks to find hot stuff on a cold night.

October 8, 2013 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT — Dartmouth Researcher and long-time SoVerA Member, David McGaw, will be speaking about ground and rocket auroral research in Greenland in the fall, Alaska in the winter and especially Antarctica in their summer time. Though umbrella drinks are a bit scarce, passion is not, in the subject of auroral study. Come see how the other side spends its summers (and on this side our winters), now that ours is waning behind us.

September 25 2013 7:00 PM Martha Canfield Library – The Life of a Star – Our nearest star is the sun. We will talk about stellar evolution, where our sun formed, how planets were formed, and what is the future of our sun (and along with it our solar system).

September 10, 2013 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT The evening will feature a hands-on and short-talk medley of experienced SoVerA observers who will begin a new series called ‘How to Observe’. We will describe how to observe and record what you see with just the naked eye as a rank beginner or as a seasoned observer via use only of the naked eye. You will learn about what real science you can contribute by just observing with a lawn chair, a red light, a clip board and a pencil. Future portions of this series will address binocular and telescope use.

August 22 2013 7:00 PM Martha Canfield Library — The Solar System Part 2 – We will take a tour of the planets of the solar system paying particular attention to the original to the original five (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn).

August 13, 2013 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT The night’s main speaker was Jonathan Kemp, SoVerA member and astronomer, who discussed the observatories atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii and his work there.

July 25 2013 7:00 PM Martha Canfield Library — The Solar System Part 1 – One of the earliest achievements in Physics was evolving understand of our solar system.  We will discuss the evolution of our understanding of the solar systems and the people who shaped our thoughts about the structure of the solar system.

July 9, 2013   7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT  The Astronomer’s Library  Patrick Porch, SoVerA VicePresident, showed us how to use the website Heaverns-Above to guide our viewing of the International Space Station (ISS) and iridium flares.  Bob Dudley, SoVerA Board member, presented an overview of the useful books one might include in an astronomy library, for those rare days when the Vermont weather does not cooperate with viewing.

June 11, 2013  7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT Member Bennies  Maureen Bell gave a presentation on the benefits which all SoVerA members enjoy through the Astro League. The Summer Constellations  —  Donna Monahan, SoVerA Board member, discussed what to look for in the Summer sky, when the weather cooperates but the sun just won’t go down.

Sunday, May 19th, 2013  Poetry and a Star Party!! Who could ask for more?

Misty Valley Books in Chester sponsored a reading of astronomy poetry on Sunday, May 19th, at 7:00 PM.   Three local poets read from their work a series of poems whose subject matter is related to astronomy in one way or another.  Local poet Rick Bates introduced them, and gave a brief reading of his own work.

The poets were:

Kate Gleason is the author of a full-length collection of poetry, Measuring the Dark (First Book Award at Zone 3 Press) and has work in Best American Poetry, Verse Daily, LA Times Book Review, Green Mountains Review, Crab Orchard Review, and has received fellowships from the NEA, Vermont Studio Center, and NH State Council on the Arts. A Pushcart Prize nominee and the former editor of Peregrine literary journal, she teaches writing workshops and runs Writers Submit, a literary editing and submitting service.

Patrice Pinette teaches creative writing and speech eurhythmy, which embodies the dance of language, in Waldorf high schools, Antioch University New England and Center for Anthroposophy’s Renewal Program. Especially interested in the interface of poetry and the arts, she collaborates with artists and musicians in workshops and performances. Published in literary journals and anthologies, she has been a featured poet in New Hampshire Poets Showcase and has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Becky Sakellariou was raised in New England and has lived her adult life in Greece. Now she spends half of every year in New Hampshire. She is the author of Earth Listening, a full length book of poetry (Hobblebush Books), and two chapbooks, The Importance of Bone (Blue Light Press) and What Shall I Cry? (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). A Pushcart Anthology nominee, she has been published in a number of journals, including Common Ground Review, White Pelican Review, Dos Passos Review, and Passenger.

 

May 14, 2013   7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT  Messier Objects  Rick Hunter, SoVerA member, presented an overview of the 103 Messier Objects, with discussion of strategies for staging a Messier Marathon.

April 25 2013  7:00 PM Martha Canfield Library – Observing the night sky with binoculars  One does not need an expensive telescope to observe night-time deep sky objects.  We discussed binoculars, observing techniques and objects that one may spot in the night sky.

April 9, 2013   7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT  The Seasonal Night Sky   Donna Monahan will discuss the Spring Sky — what to look for as the evenings become more comfortable for viewing.  Weather permitting, we may journey outside and look up.

March 28 2013  7:00 PM Martha Canfield Library – The spring night sky   We discussed how to find and identify the springtime constellations and other nigh- time objects.  Observing techniques were discussed.

March 12, 2013   7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT  The Great Comet of 2013 is on its way. Comet ISON will be in our skies in November and December. It could become the brightest comet in the last 100 years. Al Boudreau, SoVerA member, showed us what to expect and why we are excited about this landmark astronomical event. He showed us where and when to look for this beautiful heavenly body. This presentation was designed to be understood by people with little or no astronomical background.

February 28 2013   7:00 PM Martha Canfield Library – Comets   2013 may well be the year of the comet with a fairly bright comet visible in the northern latitudes and a potential bright comet appearing around Thanksgiving.  Attendees were able to learn about comets, learn how to observe them and take pictures of them.

February 12, 2013     7:00 PM at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT  Comets 101  Claudio Veliz, President of SoVerA and general bon vivant, discussed comets, their genesis and their typical behavior, with a powerpoint presentation.  Members joined in to discuss their comet observing experiences.  Donna Monahan, with her story of a trip to Australia, got the prize for traveling the farthest to see the least (who says it doesn’t rain in the outback?).

January 8, 2013  at 6:00 PM at the Whiting Library.  We showed  the film “Contact” and had a discussion of the plausibility of the physics in the film.

 

2012 Archive

December 11,  2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library. “Celestial Eye Candy – the Simple Beauty of a Complex Universe” – SoVerA Board Member Donna Monahan and Board President Claudio Veliz hosted the December Meeting, showing attendees some of the most striking images of sky, close and far, as taken by SoVerA members, NASA and other sources.

On November 13, SoVera held its regular monthly meeting at the Whiting Library in Chester, VT at 7:00 pm.  Board President Claudio Veliz gave a brief presentation on the status of the proposed new observatory in Chester.  Board member Donna Monahan then gave the featured presentation, “A Beginner’s Guide to the Moon” which afforded a comprehensive overview of our nearest celestial neighbor.  9 members attended.

On October 13 SoVerA held its final Saturday Observation Session of the season. The topic was Messier objects.

October 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.  Observing With a Binocular  SoVera Member Bob Dudley presented on the use of a binocular in astronomy.  The discussion included a variable star which is easily viewed in the Fall, and also discussed deep sky objects.  In addition, Claudio Veliz, SoVerA President, gave an update on the proposed Chester Observatory.  18 people attended.

September 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library. How to select a telescope.

August 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library. How to build a backyard observatory.

Tuesday, July 10th, the Southern Vermont Astronomy Group (SoVerA) met at the Whiting Library in Chester Vermont at 7:00 PM.  There were 16 members and guests in attendance.

The main topic of the meeting was the redesign of the telescope which we have donated to the Library to make it more user friendly and less prone to damage by amateur users.  We followed the guidance of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for their willingness to share the results of their labors.  By the end of the evening we had a working, child-proof telescope which we used behind the Library to look at Saturn.  The Message was in attendance, and took photos.

If you want to check out the procedure we used to set up the telescope, follow this link:  http://nhastro.com/files/ltp/LTPOverview.pdf

Saturday, June 23:  SoVerA is holding a series of Saturday meetings throughout 2012.  The June meeting meeting included a lecture and an outdoor observing session.  We will gathered at the Whiting Library at 6 PM.  Ron Jackson gave a presentation and we did solar viewing.

June 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.  Dividing the Globe.   Members reported on their observations of the Venus transit, and showed photographs they had taken.  Claudio Veliz gave a presentation on Finding Objects in the Summer Sky.  Rick Bates gave a presentation on the system of longitude and latitude measures as used on Earth, and a gave us a look at methods used to identify locations in the sky and on certain celestial objects. We opened the packages we had received, and looked at the new telescope which SoVerA purchased to give to the Whiting Library.  The Library accepted the donation, and there were photo ops for all.

May 2012 Meeting:  May 8, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.  The Venus Transit.  A discussion of what to expect from this exciting occurrence.  Also, planning for star parties to observe the Transit ( the last one until 2117).  Also, Finding Objects in the Spring Sky.

HERRICK’S COVE WILDLIFE FESTIVAL — Sunday, May 6   SoVerA had a booth and spent the day educating folks about astronomy in general and SoVerA in particular, while waiting for breaks in the clouds to allow for solar observing.  Several members came by for varying lengths of time, some with telescopes.  The morning wasn’t so great, but by afternoon the sky opened up some.  We gave many children and adults  the opportunity to stare into the sun safely.  And, though the clouds were not as cooperative as we might have liked, the sun came through splendidly, showing several large sunspots.

Super Moon — On May 5th SoVerA members and friends gathered on East Hill in Andover for an early evening observation if the moonrise.  I am told they had a wonderful time.  I cannot corroborate this personally, as I took a wrong turn somewhere and had my own solo viewing (which was quite lovely).

SoVerA members have just completed presenting an 8 week Astronomy course at Keene State College, in Keene, NH as part of the Cheshire Academy of Lifelong Learning.  This is our biggest educational event to date, and it was very successful.  The class schedule was as follows:

March 9   Scale of the Universe
March 16  Astronomy in Different Cultures
     March 23  Using Computers to Enhance Viewing
     March 30  Selecting and Using Small Telescopes/Solar Observing
     April 6   Measuring Variable Stars
     April 13  Sundials
     April 20  Supernovae
     April 27  Final wrap-up and Q & A

April Monthly Meeting — We met April 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.   Rick Hunter discussed Messier Marathon Strategies – how to view in one evening all of the celestial objects which comprise the catalog of Messier objects.  We broached the subject of a series of Star Parties in coming weeks dedicated to viewing all 110 objects.

We met March 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.   We discussed the possibility of an astronomical observatory constructed in Chester.  Members and guests offered suggestions of what their ideal observatory would include.      Also, Patrick Porch gave  a presentation of the NEAF (Northeast Astronomy Forum) meeting.

Star Party 6:00 PM Saturday February 25, 2012

We met at the Library for a discussion on the basics of eyepieces, a brief PowerPoint report from Claudio of his adventures at the Kennedy Space Center, another report of his tour of the Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, and  then we went outside for viewing.

February 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.  Astronomy in other cultures — Rick Bates gave a Power Point  presentation on the role of astronomy in cultures other than those of Europe and 21st Century North America.  Also, Claudio Veliz gave an overview of February Constellations and Night Sky Objects.

Member Meeting January 10, 2012  at 7:00 PM at the Whiting Library.  The new Observer’s Handbook — an overview of the 2012 Observer’s Handbook and how to to use it through the coming year.  Also, Winter Sky for Dummies — a brief section covering the basics of navigating the winter sky by naked eye viewing.  Also a Show and Tell section for members to present items of interest. A 44 year old puzzle was solved in about two minutes.

HUNTING for EARTH 2 – The Search for Earth-Like Extrasolar Planets

Friday, January 5th, 2012 at 6:30 PM at the Springfield Library in Springfield, VT  —  A clear and only slightly technical presentation was given about the current status of the worldwide search for Earth-like planets orbiting (relatively) nearby stars. Both ground-based efforts by professional and amateur teams, and those of the space-based Kepler Observatory were discussed. Also covered were what researchers know currently, how the search is being conducted and how audience members wishing to do so may participate in the search and join the researchers who are stalking our planetary twin. Methods and procedures were described.

 

2011 and Earlier Archives

December 13th, 2011 at 7:00 PM Whiting Library, Chester, VT Presentations included an orientation to the night sky, and a discussion of what to look for when purchasing a telescope.  Members brought telescopes and binoculars and gave brief presentations on the strong and weak points of their various equipment.

2011 November 8, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont A presentation was given by Al Boudreau on the Herschels.

2011 October 15, Saturday, 7:00pm – Grafton Ponds, Grafton, Vermont (joint SoVerA-NMaG collaboration event, presentations and star party) [details]

2011 May 6, Friday, 7:00pm – Vermont Bird Place, Manchester Center, Vermont (Telescope Workshop and Night-Sky Observing)

2010 December 14, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Catherine Garland, Castleton College, on Mayan Astronomy)

2010 November 9, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by David McGaw, Dartmouth College, on timekeeping)

2010 October 12, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau on Charles Messier)

2010 September 14, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Robyn Millan, Dartmouth College, on the outer planets)

2010 August 24, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (special event, presentation by Ron Lewis on the Stellafane Convention)

2010 July 13, Tuesday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Ron Lewis on Castleton Observatory)

2010 June 8, Tuesday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by SoVerA members on telescopes and binoculars)

2010 May 21, Friday, 7:00pm – Nature Museum at Grafton, Grafton, Vermont (joint SoVerA-NMaG collaboration event, presentation by Rick Hunter)

2010 May 11, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau on the lives of stars)

2010 April 13, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Rick Hunter on the Earth-Moon relationship)

2010 March 26, Friday, 7:00pm – Nature Museum at Grafton, Grafton, Vermont (joint SoVerA-NMaG collaboration event, presentation by Donna Monahan)

2010 March 9, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Claudio Véliz on extrasolar planets)

2010 February 9, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Takeda on astrophotography)

2010 January 22, Friday, 7:00pm – Nature Museum at Grafton, Grafton, Vermont (joint SoVerA-NMaG collaboration event, presentation by Claudio Véliz)

2010 January 12, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (various astronomical and organizational discussion)

2009 December 8, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau on black holes)

2009 November 10, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Catherine Garland, Castleton College, on galactic structure)

2009 October 13, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Robyn Millan, Dartmouth College, on radiation belt balloon research)

2009 September 8, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by David McGaw, Dartmouth College, on Northern Lights radio emissions)

2009 August 11, Tuesday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Ron Lewis on buying astronomical equipment at Stellafane)

2009 July 14, Tuesday, 7:30pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Ken Slater on telescope making)

2009 June 9, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Ron Lewis on Castleton Observatory)

2009 May 12, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by SoVerA members on the summer sky)

2009 April 14, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Carl Malikowski on Vermont astronomy history)

2009 April 4, Saturday, 7:30pm – Manchester Park & Recreation, near Volleyball Pavilion, Manchester, Vermont (special event, 100 Hours of Astronomy)

2009 March 10, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau on large telescopes)

2009 February 10, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Misty Valley Books, Chester, Vermont (presentation and book-signing by Andrew Chaikin on Mars)

2009 January 13, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Richard Hunter on stars)

2008 December 9, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Donna Monahan)

2008 November 11, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau)

2008 October 14, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Baba-À-Louis Bakery/Phoenix Café, Chester, Vermont

2008 September 9, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Takeda)

2008 August 12, Tuesday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (discussion about the fall sky)

2008 July 8, Tuesday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (discussion)

2008 June 10, Tuesday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (discussion about Phoenix Mars Lander)

2008 May 3, Saturday, 7:00pm – Vermont Academy, Saxtons River, Vermont (first part of presentation by Claudio Véliz on Extraterrestrial Organisms)

2008 May 13, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (second part of presentation by Claudio Véliz on Extraterrestrial Organisms)

2008 April 8, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau on Extrasolar Planets and Extraterrestrial Life)

2008 March 11, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by John Thorstensen, Dartmouth College, on Extrasolar Planets)

2008 February 20, Wednesday, 7:00pm – Unitarian Universalist Parish, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Claudio Véliz on the Lunar Eclipse)

2008 February 12, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Donna Monahan on Atmospherics)

2008 January 8, Tuesday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Claudio Véliz on Supernovas)

2007 November 15, Thursday, 7:00pm – Skinner Library, Manchester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau)

2007 October 18, Thursday, 7:00pm – The Nature Museum at Grafton, Grafton, Vermont (presentation by Al Takeda)

2007 September 20, Thursday, 7:00pm – Equinox Village, Manchester, Vermont (presentation by Cathy Stewart)

2007 July 19, Thursday, 8:00pm – Skinner Library, Manchester, Vermont (presentation by Cathy Stewart and Tom Bourgeois)

2007 June 21, Thursday, 8:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Claudio Véliz)

2007 May 19, Saturday, 5:00pm & 9:00pm – The Green, Chester, Vermont (“sun party” & “star party”)

2007 April 19, Thursday, 7:00pm – Skinner Library, Manchester, Vermont (presentation by Al Boudreau)

2007 March 15, Thursday, 7:00pm – Eagles Club, Manchester, Vermont (presentation by Tom Bourgeois)

2007 February 15, Thursday, 7:00pm – Misty Valley Books, Chester, Vermont (presentation by John Thorstensen, Dartmouth College)

2007 January 18, Thursday, 7:00pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont

2006 November 16, Thursday, 7:30pm – Whiting Library, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Claudio Véliz)

2006 October 19, Thursday, 7pm – Misty Valley Books, Chester, Vermont (presentation by Donna Monahan)

2006 September 21, Thursday, 7pm – First Congregational Church (Annex), Manchester Center, Vermont (presentation by Cathy Stewart)

2006 August 17, Thursday, 7pm – Skinner Library, Manchester, Vermont (presentation by Josh Marsfelder)

2006 July 20, Thursday, 7pm – Mulligan’s, Manchester Center, Vermont (formative and administrative meeting)

2006 June 10, Saturday, 4pm – Mulligan’s, Manchester Center, Vermont (formative and administrative meeting)