Hello SJAA Members and Friends,
Wow, does the SJAA have a crazy great weekend-plus planned! I already announced the Transit of Venus that we were able to custom order for Houge Park (ok, maybe not 'custom', but we will be at Houge for this event), and add to that the monthly General Meeting on Saturday with a fast-acting supernova-observing speaker. Then Sunday will see the new SJAA Solar Observing program in full force along with the even newer Fix It day. Whew! Read on for all the details, something for everyone...
===General Meeting, Speaker===
The San Jose Astronomical Association (SJAA) is hosting its general
meeting at 7:30PM on Saturday, 02 June 2012. Last month, we started the meeting a bit early for some 'social time', complete with refreshments and lots of mingling. It was a huge hit, so we're keeping it going. Try to arrive at 7:30 and share some social niceties! Then at 8PM, the SJAA is featuring an astro celebrity, Dr. Peter Nugent. His talk is titled "Observations of a Type Ia Supernova Within Hours of Explosion in the Pinwheel Galaxy", and you can find the abstract below.
Dr. Nugent is a Senior Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory in the Computational Research Division and an Adjunct
Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley. He has presented his work as a participant on PBS News Hour,
NASA's Space Science Update program, CNN, NOVA, NPR, and the BBC. His
work has been featured in Time, Newsweek, Science and Nature.
===SJAA Board Meeting===
Members and the public are always welcome to attend the SJAA Board of Directors meeting. It's held before the General Meeting, starting at 6PM on 2 June, in Building 1 at Houge Park in San Jose. This month's agenda includes discussions about the club activities calendar for 2013, a focus on the SJAA blog, setting up potlucks and other fun/social events at astronomical junctures of the year (such as the solstice or equinox). Interested in hearing more or getting involved? Please do come by!
The first Sunday of every month sees the SJAA's new Solar Observing Program. It happens at 'telescope row' near the tennis courts (where the Friday night staple events are held) starting at 2PM and ending at 4PM. The club's sexy new 100mm Lunt H-alpha scope will be trained on Sol for two hours straight, you can't miss it. But other folks bring their solar gear too for a fun time in the sun. If you come, sunscreen, hats, water and your solar set up are all recommended!
===Fix It Day===
Running concurrently with the Solar Program on Sunday will be the newest feature in our stable of events, the Fix It Day. We will have amateur experts on hand to answer questions about your gear, help you collimate your brother's dad's cousin's friend's telescope, and generally hang out and talk astro gear. Think of it like the Auction of Swap Meet with nothing to buy and sell, but all the camaraderie and fun. It's a good crowd in San Jose.
Yes, I announced the Transit of Venus already. It's the last one, I promise. For both the announcement (tweets not included) and the transit (for us). 2:30PM on 05 June at (you guessed it!) Houge Park. Not to be missed, no make ups in this lifetime.
All this stuff is free, open to all, and you are encouraged to come by! Directions to the hall at Houge Park are available on the SJAA website.
That (plenty) all for now. See Dr. Nugent's abstract below, it's serious science, can't get enough of it. See you this weekend!
San Jose Astronomical Association
event hotline: 408-559-1221
Title: Observations of a Type Ia Supernova Within Hours of Explosion in the Pinwheel Galaxy
Abstract: Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have been used empirically as standardized
candles to reveal the accelerating universe even though fundamental
details, such as the nature of the progenitor system and how the star
explodes, remained a mystery. There is consensus that a white dwarf star explodes after accreting matter in a binary system, but the secondary
could be anything from a main sequence star to a red giant, or even
another white dwarf. The uncertainty stems from the fact that no recent
SN Ia has been discovered close enough to detect the stars before
explosion. Here we report on the discovery and initial observations of
SN 2011fe (PTF11kly) in M101, the closest SN Ia discovered in the past
25 years. The early data, beginning only 11 hours after explosion,
places novel constraints on the progenitors and the underlying explosion mechanism.