Author Archives: Damian Allis

Sweet Science Series – Tesla: The Transportation Disrupter

May 9, 6:00-7:30 pm

Refreshments at 5:30

The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St, Syracuse, NY 13202

The remarkable story of recent vehicular electrification continues to unfold at an ever increasing pace, much directly related to the forces generated by the technological and market successes of Tesla. This presentation will provide an analysis of the impact that Tesla Inc. is making within the world of surface transportation and what lies behind the disruption that’s occurring. The presentation will include both personal experiences and data available from other sources. A lively, interactive discussion is anticipated to be followed by a hands-on tour of a Tesla vehicle.

People interested in learning more about electric vehicles are invited to attend the free Sweet Science Series presentation on Thursday, May 9th, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St, Syracuse, NY 13202. Admission is free and open to the public. Light snacks will be served at 5:30pm. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP to sweet.science@tacny.org by May 7, 2019. 

Presenter Information

Dan Steele is a retired Systems Engineer with an engineering career spanning 42 years from 1965 through 2007.  He has been employed by GTE, General Electric, Anaren Microwave and Lockheed Martin with a wide ranging engineering technology experience, including developments associated with space satellite ground stations, sonar, radar, laser, UAVs.  Before and after retirement activities include biking (cycling), scuba diving, cross-country skiing, hiking and solar energy systems.

About Sweet Science Series

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lectures, a program founded in 1913, is now called the Sweet Science Series and features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere for adults of all levels of technical understanding. A minimum of six free and open to the public presentations are held each year.

About TACNY

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York. For more information, see www.tacny.org

Volunteer Judges Needed! ESF Environmental Challenge Science Fair And Career Exploration – 21 May 2019

Greetings, fellow astrophiles – this in from the TACNY list. For more information, see: https://www.esf.edu/oelo/k12/sciencefair/

The Environmental Challenge is a science fair and career exploration opportunity designed especially for all Syracuse City School District seventh and eighth grade students.

Environmental Challenge encourages:

  • Student projects that support and extend 7/8th grade science curriculum
  • Student research, scientific inquiry, and critical thinking
  • Students to begin exploring science and science-related careers
  • Students to explore and understand the urban environment and its relationship to the global environment

Volunteers and Judges are needed. Without the help of over 100 volunteers, this event could not be possible. Register to judge here.

NASA Night Sky Notes: Mars The Wanderer

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting by the Night Sky Network in April, 2019.

By David Prosper

April’s skies find Mars traveling between star clusters after sunset, and a great gathering of planets just before sunrise.

Mars shows stargazers exactly what the term “planet” originally meant with its rapid movement across the evening sky this month. The ancient Greeks used the term planete, meaning wanderer, to label the bright star-like objects that travelled between the constellations of the zodiac year after year.

You can watch Mars as it wanders through the sky throughout April, visible in the west for several hours after sunset. Mars travels past two of the most famous star clusters in our night sky: the Pleiades and Hyades. Look for the red planet next to the tiny but bright Pleiades on April 1st. By the second week in April, it has moved eastward in Taurus towards the larger V-shaped Hyades. Red Mars appears to the right of the slightly brighter red-orange star Aldebaran on April 11th. We see only the brightest stars in these clusters with our unaided eyes; how many additional stars can you observe through binoculars?

Open clusters are made up of young stars born from the same “star nursery” of gas and dust. These two open clusters are roughly similar in size. The Pleiades appears much smaller as they are 444 light years away, roughly 3 times the distance of the Hyades, at 151 light years distant. Aldebaran is in the same line of sight as the Hyades, but is actually not a member of the cluster; it actually shines just 65 light years away! By comparison, Mars is practically next door to us, this month just a mere 18 light minutes from Earth – that’s about almost 200 million miles. Think of the difference between how long it takes the light to travel from these bodies: 18 minutes vs. 65 years!

The rest of the bright planets rise before dawn, in a loose lineup starting from just above the eastern horizon to high above the south: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter. Watch this month as the apparent gap widens considerably between the gas giants and terrestrial planets. Mercury hugs the horizon all month, with Venus racing down morning after morning to join its dimmer inner solar system companion right before sunrise. In contrast, the giants Jupiter and Saturn move away from the horizon and rise earlier all month long, with Jupiter rising before midnight by the end of April.

The Lyrids meteor shower peaks on April 22nd, but sadly all but the brightest meteors will be washed out by the light of a bright gibbous Moon.

You can catch up on all of NASA’s current and future missions at nasa.gov

Caption: The path of Mars between the Pleiades and Hyades in April.
Image created with assistance from Stellarium.

The Night Sky Network program supports astronomy clubs across the USA dedicated to astronomy outreach. Visit nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov to find local clubs, events, and more!