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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!
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Keep Looking Up!


Celestial Fireworks Seen This Weekend!
By Gary Fugman
Have you had enough of things that go BOOM in the night?  I thought not.  Have we got an experience for you!
This Friday, July 8 at 9pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, July 9 at 9pm at the Decatur Sears Center Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) invites people of all ages to a discusion of “Celestial Fireworks!”  At the end of their lives, stars can do a variety of interesting things: from the surface explosions of white dwarfs, to instabilities in more massive stars that cause them to brighten and fade.  Then there are the supernovae!  A supernovae can increase a star’s brightness to as much as 10 billion suns!  All this has and is going on around us in our own Milky Way Galaxy.  This weekend Pastor Gary Fugman will lead a discussion on the brighter points of these celestial fireworks and you are invited!
Then free July star will be given and explained and, weather permitting, we will observe celestial fireworks in the July night sky with large astronomical telescopes.  Friday, we will observe at the Cory and Tracie Martin residence 3 miles south of Lyons and Saturday we will observe at Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur.  You are encouraged to bring your own telescope or binoculars to observe celestial fireworks as well.  The planets Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will also be available to see in the telescopes.
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, including the August 11 Perseid Meteor Shower Party, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 and Keep Looking Up!
Questions for Consideration:
How can the “surface” of a stars be hotter after the star explodes?
Does the fact that you are made of stardust, the remains of exploded stars, give you a sense of unity with the universe?

Keep Looking Up!


“Four Great Astronomy Programs for Your Computer”

By Gary Fugman

How can I use my computer to help me find objects and keep track of everything I’ve seen? What would it look like to fly to and orbit Saturn?  How about flying to and orbiting the Pleiades Star Cluster? What’s out there to help me find my way across the surface of the moon?  Can my computer do any “real science” that might lead to a new discovery? Come to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) May 6 at 9pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, May 7 at 9pm at the Decatur Sears Center to check out some of these great computer applications. Then at 10pm, 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 Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953, and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up!


Glorious Total Solar Eclipse Tales by Gary Fugman
Our Sun, the nearest star, is basically a featureless disk with a gaseous surface.  But seen under special circumstances, the star that keeps us all alive, comes to life itself with sunspots, a chromosphere and prominenses.  These features are waiting to be observed at the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse across central Nebraska.  This weekend you can start to make your plans to observe the 2017 solar eclipse!
You are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) Friday, November 13 at 7pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, November 14 at 7pm at the Decatur Sears Center.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will lead you on a fascinating journey of discovery in the realm of eclipses and solar eclipses in particular.  You will learn about Baily’s Beads and pinhole camera associated with solar eclipses.You will learn about how a total solar eclipse was used to confirm Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.  Even more exciting, learn about details of the coming 2017 total solar eclipse!
Then, weather permitting, using free star charts, we will on Friday observe the November deep sky objects from Bill Hedges’ “Lost in Space” Observatory in Lyons.  On Saturday we observe from Fugman Observatory on the south side of Decatur.  Please dress warmly as temperatures fall quickly after sunset.
For more information on this and future NENAC events, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953, and Keep Looking Up!
Questions to Consider:
1) During a total lunar eclipse, what would someone on the Moon see when looking toward the Sun?
2) Why is important that you be in a particular place on Earth to see a total solar eclipse?

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!

Meteor Shower to be Seen August 12th……You’re Invited


     By Gary Fugman
     People of all ages are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club’s (NENAC’s) Perseid Meteor Shower Party Wednesday, August 12 at dusk at the Cory and Tracie Martin residence 3 miles south of Lyons on Highway 77.  The Perseid Meteor Shower is the result of the Earth moving through its orbit and plowing through debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle.  Every August 12 the Earth is at the same place in its orbit where the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle intersects the Earth’s orbit.
On that date we see as many as 40-80 per hour slow, bright meteors, shooting stars, coming from the northeast burning up in our atmosphere.  The meteor showers vary from year to year, but the Perseids are one of the best known and most reliable showers of the year.
     When you come to this August 12 event, please bring a lawn chair and warm clothes or a blanket.  You will want to be comfortable as you watch for meteors looking northeast as the evening progresses toward midnight.  The Perseids will grow in intensity toward and after midnight as we become the leading edge of the Earth traveling in our orbit.  During the shower you will also be able to take time out to observe Saturn and deep sky objects through two large astronomical telescopes at the Martin’s.            You are invited to bring binoculars and telescopes as well, but they are not needed to enjoy the meteor shower.
     NENAC will hold it’s regular meetings open to the public August 21 at the Lyons Library and August 22 at the Decatur Sears Center at 8pm where Jamie Horter will discuss “Night Photography”.  Maybe you’ll be able to grab some meteor pictures August 12!  For more information on any NENAC presentations, please call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953, and 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!
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