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Keep Looking Up!


“The Sky Is Falling!…Friday Night!” by Gary Fugman
After dark out away from the glare of streetlights and yard lights this Friday night you may notice a strange event.  Every minute you may see one or two bright, long tailed meteors, shooting “stars”, streaming from the northeastern sky.  You linger outside for awhile…and you see more of them!  What’s happening?  Is the sky falling?
In a way, yes.  Sand sized bits of debris from a comet that passed through the part of Earth’s orbit known as August 11-12 are hitting the air you breathe 60 miles above your head.  Friction with the air heats the debris and you see “the sky falling”, the Perseid Meteor Shower every August 11-12.  This is such a wonderful, natural, heavenly display that we’re having a party and you are invited!
All are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club’s Perseid Meteor Shower Party.  Weather permitting, this Friday, August 11 at 9pm at the Cory and Tracie Martin residence 3 miles south of Lyons, 1519 Highway 77, bring your lawn chairs and blankets, sit back and watch “the sky falling”.  Meteor rates of 1-2 per minute, 120 per hour, are common.  Two large astronomical telescopes will be available to view the Moon, planets, stars and other objects.  You are invited bring your binoculars and telescope along for the evening.  Traditional Perseid Meteor Shower Party refreshments will be served.  A third quarter Moon rising before midnight will blot out dim meteors, but bright meteors will still be able to be seen.
For more information on this and future NENAC events and presentations, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 and “Keep Looking Up!”
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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!


“Your Lunar Learning Curve; Get Started Observing the Moon” By Gary Fugman

 

Photo Courtesy of Gary Fugman.

Photo Courtesy of Gary Fugman.

Happy New Year!  How about starting 2015 with a fun project that cam be accomplished in just four weeks?  This fun project will teach you much about our nearest neighbor in space, the Moon.  The project is well suited for young or inexperienced observers and develops your visual, binocular and small telescope skills.  Besides, after this experience, you could take your “date” outside on a perfect evening, promise him/her the Moon and stars…and really deliver!
This Friday, January 16 at 7pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, January 17 at 7pm at the Decatur Sears Center, Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) with Pastor Gary Fugman will lead a discussion on completing a one month Astronomical League project to observe the Moon.  We will explain what features on the Moon can be seen with the naked eye, binoculars and a small telescope.  Then the discussion will center on what particular features to observe the third week of January, before 1st quarter Moon, the last week of January, 1st quarter Moon, the first week of February, full Moon, and the second week of February, 3rd quarter Moon.  Lists of lunar craters, seas, mountains and other features will be explained.  Ways to log and sketch your lunar observations will be discussed.  Moon maps will be made available and how to obtain your Astronomical League lunar certificate and pin will be explained.  Plus, you’ll be ready on Saturday, February14 to give your Valentine the Moon and the stars!
Later in the evening the January evening sky will be shown to all on free stars charts.  Weather permitting, Friday we will go to the Cory and Tracie Martin residence 3 miles 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 and telescopes as well.  Please dress warmly as winter evenings cool quickly.
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:
Why are humans so intrigued with the Moon?
When you look up at the Moon, why are some areas white and some areas grey?

Keep Looking Up!


“Christmas Gift Guide for Your Local Astronomer!”
Photo courtesy of Nenacstars/Gary Fugman

Photo courtesy of Nenacstars/Gary Fugman

Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) this fall has had 29 of its members join the Astronomical League!  Joining the Astronomical League opens up all kinds of certified observing programs to local amateur astronomers.  Many of the new League members are looking for star atlases, binoculars and sturdy, sensible telescopes to begin these observing programs.  With Christmas just after Thanksgiving, what are the best gifts for enthusiastic amateur astronomers?
The public is invited this Friday, November 21 at 7pm to the Lyons Library and Saturday, November 22 at 7pm to the Decatur Sears Center.  There Pastor Gary Fugman will present and discuss examples of quality star atlases, binoculars and telescopes for your star gazer.  An emphasis will be made to bring you to know about great telescopes for under $200.  These are not cheap, flimsy telescopes you see in department stores.  These are solid instruments with good optics, all for under $200!  Also, outlines of 5 Astronomical League observing programs to get you “star”ted in astronomy will be discussed.  These programs will include the “Sky Puppy Program”, “Lunar Program” and “Deep Sky Binocular Program”.  Wow!  What fun with getting to know the night sky!
Then, weather permitting, after discussing free star charts, Friday at 9pm we will observe the evening sky at Bill Hedges’ Lost in Space Observatory in Lyons and Saturday at 9pm at Fugman Observatory in Decatur.  You are encouraged to bring your binoculars or telescope to these observing sessions.  Please dress warmly for our colder evenings.
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, including NENAC’s 2015 calendar of events, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugmanat 349-1953 and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up


“Monster in the Middle of the Milky Way”
By Pastor Gary Fugman
We look into the evening sky in late summer and see the marvelous Milky Way Galaxy that we live in arcing overhead.  Even with the unaided eye, here in eastern Nebraska we can tell that our galaxy is a combination of stars, bright material and dark material.  What do we know about the structure of our home galaxy?  What do we know about what holds our home galaxy together?  And, what about the evidence of a monstrous black hole residing in the middle of our Milky Way?
This Friday, August 29 at 8pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, August 30 at 8pm at the Decatur Sears Center, Pastor Gary Fugman will lead a discussion on the galaxy we call home.  Images of giant stars zooming around the center of the galaxy indicating the presence of a monstrous black hole will also be seen.  Star charts will be given and the August-September night sky will be displayed.  We offer to those who desire to officially join Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) and the Astronomical League with observing programs, newsletters and book discount benefits, the opportunity to bring a check made out to the Astronomical League for $12.50 annual dues.
Then, weather permitting, Friday 3 miles south of Lyons at the Cory and Tracie Martin residence and Saturday on the south side of Decatur at Fugman Observatory, we will observe deep sky objects that define the center on our Milky Way Galaxy.  You are encouraged to bring your binoculars or telescope to observe this fascinating part of the sky as well.
For more information on this and future NENAC meetings, google “nenacstars” or call 349-1953, and Keep Looking Up!

Keep Looking Up!


By Gary Fugman
Kat Country Hub Contributor
 
“View the Great Nebula in Orion This Weekend!”
 
All are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) this Friday, January 31 at 7pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, February 1 at 7pm at the Decatur Sears Center.  Friday, after meeting at 7pm, we will go to the Hedges/Lyons Theater for our presentation. 
 
This weekend Bill Hedges will lead a discussion on the spectacular Orion Nebula.  First observed as an extended cloud of gas and dust in 1610, only a year after Galileo’s first use of the telescope on the planets Jupiter and Venus, the Orion Nebula is a star forming region.  Young by astronomical standards, about 30,000 years old, the Orion Nebula forms stars from dense, contracting clumps of gas.  We will view and discuss a short movie about the Hubble Space Telescope and it’s views of the Orion Nebula.  In the movie computer generated views will take you inside the nebula!
 
Then, weather permitting, Friday at the Hedges Observatory in Lyons, and Saturday at the Fugman Observatory in Decatur, you will see the Orion Nebula in all it’s glory close up and for real!  Other wonderful winter deep sky objects will also be observed through astronomical telescopes.  You are invited to bring your telescope or binoculars.  Please dress warmly as temperatures drop quickly after sunset.
 
For more information on this and future NENAC presentations, google “nenacstars” or call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953, and Keep Looking Up!
 
Questions to Consider:
Go outside tonight and look south at the night sky.  Identify the bright “H shaped” constellation Orion.  Three belt stars support Orion’s sword.  What difference do you see among the sword stars?  Which one of the sword stars hosts the Orion Nebula?  (Hint: If you need help, use your binoculars!)        

Keep Looking Up!


By Gary Fugman

Cory Martin observing through the 17.5″ reflector at Fugman Observatory. Photo courtesy of Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club.

Cory Martin observing through the 17.5″ reflector at Fugman Observatory. Photo courtesy of Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club.

“Jupiter To Be Seen At It’s Best This Week!”
Young and old alike are invited to Northeast Nebraska Astronomy Club (NENAC) this weekend for a close up look at the “King of the Planets”, Jupiter.  Pastor Gary Fugman, member of NENAC, states, “Here in January 2014, Jupiter is now about as good as we ever see it from Earth.  Jupiter is an active, giant planet that easily displays cloud belts with various changing details and four Galilean moons that cross the planet regularly.”  It is no wonder that when Galileo first turned his telescope to the night sky and spied Jupiter and it’s moons that astronomy and the Earth’s place in the heavens was changed forever.
Share the thrill of seeing Jupiter for yourself!  This Friday, January 17 at 7pm at the Lyons Library and Saturday, January 18 at 7pm at the Decatur Sears Center Pastor Gary will take you on a tour of Jupiter.  First, we will start inside with computer projections of Jupiter and free star charts, then, weather permitting, we will go outside to view Jupiter at the Hedges Observatory Friday and the Fugman Observatory Saturday.  Please dress warmly as the temperature drops quickly after sunset.
For information on this and future NENAC presentations, call Pastor Gary Fugman at 349-1953 or google “nenacstars” and Keep Looking Up!
Questions to Consider:
We observe volcanoes on Earth.  Where was the 2nd place humans observed volcanoes in the Solar System?
Why are the volcanoes on this other place in the Solar System active?
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