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Keep Looking Up!


By Gary Fugman

How Do You Say Xi Camelopardalis?”
Did you know that every star you can see with the unaided eye has a name? Some names are interesting: Polaris, Vega, Betelgeuse, Rigel…Others less so: Beta Cancri, Kappa Librae, or Xi Camelopardalis. How do you say those, anyway? This month’s Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) meeting will explore the names of stars and their pronunciations. We’ll also talk a little bit about who named these stars and the constellations in which they reside. The meetings are Friday, March 31st at 8pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, April 1st at 8pm at the Decatur Sears Center. Then at 9pm, weather permitting, Friday we will go to Cory and Tracie Martins’ south of Lyons and Saturday to Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur to observe the night sky through large astronomical telescopes. You are invited to bring your binoculars or telescope as well.
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, please call Cory Martin at 687-2631, and Keep Looking Up!

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Keep Looking Up!


By Gary Fugman
Our home in the universe, the Milky Way Galaxy, is 100,000 light years in diameter and a few thousand light years thick.  Our galaxy contains several hundred billion stars with our star, the Sun, two thirds out from the center.  We take 250 million years to make one orbit around the center of the Milky Way.  In the winter night sky we look out upon the outer arm of our spiral home.  But in the summer night sky we look in toward the center of the galaxy where an amazing amount of stars, star clusters and nebulae reside.
Join Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) this Friday, September 2 at 8pm at the Lyons Library and this Saturday, September 3 at 8pm at the Decatur Sears Center.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will lead a discussion on our stellar home, the Milky Way Galaxy.  From Orion to Sagittarius, we have learned much about the structure of our home galaxy over the past 100 years.  We discuss this structure.  But more that that, from our dark skies without light pollution here in Eastern Nebraska, the view we have toward the center of our Milky Way in late summer is a view of the spectacular and the beautiful.  Come share that view with us this Friday and Saturday!
Then at 9pm weather permitting, Friday we will go 3 miles south of Lyons to observe the Milky Way and Solar Suystem planets with large astronomical telescopes at the Cory and Tracie Martin residence.  Saturday we will observe from Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur.  You are invited to bring your binoculars or telescope as well.  Free star charts will be explained and shown under the real night sky.
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, please call pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 or google “nenacstars” and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up


By Gary Fugman
Catastrophic Collisions
The space inside our Solar System is littered with objects as small as dust to as large as miles across.  The history of the Earth and our Moon is proof of the existence of such objects.  Hundreds of craters on Earth and thousands of craters on the Moon plainly show us the marks of catastrophic collisions in the past.  Should we as the human race be concerned with the possibility of such a collision in our future?
People of all ages are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) Friday, October 16 at the Lyons Library at 8pm and Saturday, October 17 at the Decatur Sears Center at 8pm.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will lead a discussion about catastrophic collisions in our Solar System.  Near-Earth asteroids, meteors of all sizes and collisions between comets and planets will be explained.  Current passages of asteroids within in the distance of the Moon to Earth will be illustrated.  Free star charts of the October night sky will be given and discussed.
Then, weather permitting, Friday we will travel three miles south of Lyons to the Corey and Tracie Martin residence, and Saturday to Fugman Observatory south of Decatur to view Solar System and deep sky objects through large astronomical telescopes.  The brightest asteroid in the Solar System, Vesta, now at it’s closest approach to Earth, will be the featured object of the evenings.  Vesta may now be seen with your unaided eye or binoculars if you know right where to look.  You are invited to bring your binoculars or telescope to the observing session.
For more information on this and future NENAC events, call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 or google “nenacstars”…and Keep Looking Up!
Questions to Consider:
Are you concerned today about asteroid or comet collisions with Earth?
What do you know about the extinction of the dinosaurs?

Keep Looking Up


Picture the Planet Pluto
By Gary Fugman
 
The planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930.  Never well seen from Earth even with the Hubble Space Telescope, Pluto became controversial in this century as many objects like it were found in the outer reaches of our Solar System.  In 2006 NASA launched the New Horizons Spacecraft to image Pluto up close.  Traveling 9 years and 4 billion miles, we now have images of Pluto and its moons from the New Horizons mission.

 

People of all ages are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) Friday, September 11 at 8pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, September 12 at 8pm at the Decatur Sears Center to picture the planet Pluto.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will discuss with you how Pluto fits into the Solar System, how the New Horizons Spacecraft got to Pluto and the spectacular images from the NASA July flyby.

 

Then free constellation maps of the September sky will be distributed and discussed aided by computer imaging.  Weather permitting, Friday we will go 3 miles south of Lyons to the Cory and Tracie Martin residence and Saturday to Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur to see Pluto itself through astronomical telescopes.  Imagine seeing Pluto, an object smaller than our Moon, at the distance of 4 billion miles!  We will also use the telescopes to view deep sky objects in our Milky Way Galaxy.  You are encouraged to bring your binoculars and/or telescope to view the universe as well.
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, please google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up!


Astronomy Club Invites You to Experiment with Night Photography
By Gary Fugman
Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) invites you to their August “workshop”!  Have you ever wanted to capture photos at night, but were not sure how?  If so, this free workshop is for you.  Friday, August 21 at 8pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, August 22 at 8pm at the Decatur Sears Center local newspaper editor and astronomy enthusiast Jamie Horter will show you the basics behind night photography.  Please bring your own photography equipment, film or digital, phone or camera, simple or sophisticated, and Jamie will shape this exciting workshop around you with everyone taking night photos this Friday and Saturday night.  Tripods for equipment are recommended but not necessary.  There will be equipment to share from NENAC members.
Also, at these meetings like the July meetings, door prizes will be given away.  A fine pair of Meade 10X50 high quality, multi-use binoculars will be given away at the Lyons meeting.  Exquisite lunar maps with named features will be given away at the Decatur meeting.
Then free August star charts will be handed out and explained.  Weather permitting, Friday, we will travel 3 miles south of Lyons to the Cory and Tracie Martin residence to experiment with night photography, view the Moon and deep sky objects.  Saturday, we will travel to the south side of Decatur to the Fugman Observatory to experiment with night photography, view the Moon and deep sky objects.
For more information on this and future NENAC activities google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953.  Mark your calendars for this weekend to experiment with night photography, get in on door prizes, observe God’s glorious heavens, and, as always, Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up


“Area Astronomers Invite You to Observe the Moon”
By Gary Fugman
We all know what the Moon looks like…but take a closer look.  Our nearest neighbor to Earth in space has a surface that wildly varies from gray to white, from smooth to rough.  And then there those patterns on the face of the Moon, the Man in the Moon, the Woman in the Moon, the Rabbit in the Moon, even the Cow Jumping over the Moon!  How did they get there?  What else can you see on the Moon with just your eyes or your binoculars?
Friday, July 24 at 9pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, July 25 at 9pm at the Decatur Sears Center you and your neighbors are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club, NENAC.  There Jean Karlens, Bev Novak, Susan Strahm and Pastor Gary Fugman will relate their experiences in observing the Moon through the Astronomical League’s Lunar Program.  The Lunar Program is a list of 100 features on our Moon, maria (seas), craters, and larger features like the Man in the Moon that are able to be seen at 4 days, 7 days, 10 days and 14 days in the lunar cycle from new to full.  Jean, Bev, Susan and Gary will describe the program and their experiences in fulfilling it.  Also, along with Tom Fitzgerald, they will relate their July 12-17 experiences at the Nebraska Star Party south of Valentine.  Free July constellation charts will then be given and discussed with the aid of computer graphics.
Finally, weather permitting, all are invited on Friday to the Cory and Tracie Martin residence three miles south of Lyons and on Saturday to the Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur to view the 1st quarter Moon, Saturn and other deep sky objects through large, astronomical telescopes.  You are encouraged to bring your binoculars and telescopes to be advised as to what lunar features you can see at home with your equipment.
For more information on this and future NENAC programs, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 and Keep Looking Up!
Questions to Consider:
1. What do you think has been the cause of such heavy cratering on the Moon?
2. Why are we more likely to learn about the early history of Earth by studying the rocks from the Moon than those on Earth?

Keep Looking Up!


“Giant Jupiter and Its Amazing Moons”
By Gary Fugman
You walk outside at dusk this evening. In the west, in the clear, spring, night sky, you see a bright, steady object low in the northwest and a similarly bright, steady object halfway up in the sky.  These two objects outshine all the twinkling stars that are beginning to appear.  These steady, bright beacons are the planets Venus and Jupiter.  Venus is a “twin” to Earth in size and structure.  But Jupiter!  Jupiter is something else altogether!  It is a giant planet with an amazing system of moons!
People of all ages are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) Friday, May 22 at 9pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, May 23 at 9pm at the Decatur Sears Center.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will lead you on an amazing tour to the giant planet Jupiter and its many moons.  Computerized images of Jupiter will illustrate the tour.  A free star chart will be given to you so you can find Jupiter on your own this spring.
Also, in May and June, $5 annual dues will be collected for you to join the Astronomical League.  The Astronomical League in a national astronomy organization that provides to members night sky observing projects for people ages 10 to 100+.  One of these could be your next science fair project!  Participation in 2015-16 Astronomical League observing programs will be offered to you at this weekends’ NENAC meetings and again June 19 & 20.
Then, weather permitting, we will go on Friday to Bill Hedges’ “Lost In Space” Observatory in Lyons and on Saturday to Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur to see giant Jupiter and its moon for real!  Other deep space objects from your star chart will also be observed through these large astronomical telescopes.  You are encouraged to bring your binoculars or telescope to the observing sessions as well.
For more information on this and future NENAC events, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953, and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up!


 By Pastor Gary Fugman
“Beyond Messier, Into the Cosmic Web!”
In March Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) took all in attendance on a grand tour of the deep sky objects catalogued in the late 1700’s by Charles Messier.  A good part of those Messier objects are included in a web of galaxies that stretch from the tale of the constellation Leo to the outstretched hand of Virgo.  A web?  Yes, a web!  The universe is a pretty empty place.  There are “cosmic voids” divided by “cosmic webs” made of galaxies that stretch billions of light years towards the limits of the known universe.  Amazing!
All are invited to NENAC Friday, April 17 at 8pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, April 18 at 8pm at the Decatur Sears Center.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will lead a discussion on the cosmic web.  Only recently has it been possible to map the distribution of thousands of galaxies spread across billions of light years.  A striking weblike pattern, with lines, sheets, clusters and voids of galaxies fill our universe.  These patterns can be traced back directly to the microwave background, a remnant of the Big Bang.
After our web discussion, free April star charts will be explained and weather permitting, Friday we will travel 3 miles south of Lyons to the Cory and Tracie Martin residence to view cosmic web galaxies stretching between Leo and Virgo with their large telescope.  Saturday we will observe this cosmic web at Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur.
The planets Venus and Jupiter will also be observed.  You are encouraged to bring your telescope and binoculars to observe the universe with us.
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953, and Keep Looking Up! 

Keep Looking Up!


By Gary Fugman
orion1-2
“Messier, the Man and the Marathon.  Will You Run It?”
Image that you are living outside of Paris, France 250 years ago in 1765.  You own a telescope that is 4″ across, plenty of diameter of telescope to discover comets that are now small but heading toward the Sun, growing their famous tails.  You take great pleasure in this new area of study, the telescopic discovery of comets.  But, in night after night of searching for these new comets, you are distracted.  You are thwarted!  There are these small, fuzzy objects seen in your telescope.  You watch for them to move past the far away stars like comets do.  But they stay motionless.  They waste your valuable observing time.  You don’t know what these objects are, but they are not comets!  What will you do?
People of all ages are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) at 8pm this Friday, March 20 at the Lyons Library and Saturday, March 21 at the Decatur Sears Center to discuss with Pastor Gary Fugman the life and times of Charles Messier.  Messier discovered 13 comets between 1760 and 1785.  But that is not why we remember Messier today.  We remember him today for his list of 110 deep sky objects that do not “move”.  The discussion will then take you to how it is possible on a Moonless night in March to see, to run the marathon of viewing, all 110 of these deep sky wonders in that one night!  Wow!  What would that take?
Then March star charts will be handed out and explained.  Astronomical League observing programs will be offered.  And, weather permitting, Friday we will travel 3 miles south of Lyons to the Cory and Tracie Martin residence to view Venus, Jupiter and Messier objects through large astronomical telescopes.  Saturday, weather permitting, we will view from Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur.  You are encouraged to bring your binoculars or telescope for viewing, too.
For more information on this and future NENAC activities, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up!


By Gary Fugman
” Hot Topics in the Universe Revealed!”
The universe is full of mysterious objects.  These mysterious objects range from far away planets in our Solar System to forces in the center in our Milky Way and other galaxies.  Particularly in the 21st century astronomers have answered many more questions about mysteries in our universe, but with better images of the cosmos and more information gathered, more and more questions about astronomy have come to light.
Ten years ago Pastor Gary Fugman taught “Adventures in Astronomy” at Northeast Community College in West Point NE to dozens of area residents that wanted to know more about the night sky and the universe we all live in.  Now Pastor Gary and NECC-WP have once again collaborated to offer a new ground breaking, no, a sky breaking astronomy class, “Hot Topics in the Universe”.  The four session course will discuss and help you learn more about “Jupiter, King of the Planets”; Jupiter is the most influential body in the Solar System besides our Sun. “Planets around other Stars”; In recent years we know more and more about “exoplanets“.  “Sun to Die-Details Tonight at 7!”; Our Sun will not last forever.  What are the latest findings about the future of our star?  And, “The Monster at the Middle of the Milky Way!”; You are just going to have to come to this class because this is too scary for public print!
You are invited to enroll in this non-mathematical astronomy course that will keep you coming back again and again to “Hot Topics in the Universe” that we call home.  Call NECC-WP at 372-2269 or 888-749-6322 and ask to be part of “Hot Topics in the Universe” meeting in Room 207 on Mondays, March 23-April 20 (no class on April 6) at 7-8:30pm.  Included as part of the end of each class meeting will be real observations of objects in your universe with an astronomical telescope, weather permitting.  You are invited to bring your binoculars or telescope for these class observation sessions.
If you want to know more about “Hot Topics in the Universe”, this class is for you!
Photo courtesy of nenacstars.

Photo courtesy of nenacstars.

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