CNYO Brochure – A Guide For New Observers

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

In preparation for upcoming 2013 lecture and observing sessions, we have put together instructional brochures to help introduce the Night Sky to attendees. The first of these, entitled “A Guide For New Observers,” is provided below in PDF format. This brochure will be available at our combined lecture/observing sessions, but feel free to bring your own copy (or the PDF on a tablet with a good red acetate cover!).

Download: A Guide For New Observers (v4)

NOTE: These brochures are made better by your input. If you find a problem, have a question, or have a suggestion (bearing in mind these are being kept to one two-sided piece of paper), please contact CNYO at info@cnyo.org.

2013may1_gfno_pg1

2013may1_gfno_pg2

Guide For New Observers

 

The Importance Of The Constellations

“For modern amateur astronomers, constellations are the ‘coarse adjustment’ by which we find our way around the Night Sky, using these star groupings as guides to planets, star clusters, nebulae, comets & galaxies.”

The Importance Of Dark Adaption

“A camera flash or smart phone will set your dark adaption back MINUTES, SO AVOID BRIGHT LIGHTS!”

Sky Too Confusing? Start In The City

“Light Pollution is the bane of astronomers, but it does simplify the search for constellations by making your eyes less sensitive to light from dim and distant stars.”

Distances In The Sky – Hand’s Up!

“With some ‘digital’ calibration (as in, your fingers), a walk between constellations becomes a matter of letting your fingers gauge how far you need to look based on any sky charts you may be using.”

Why Polaris Doesn’t (Seem To) Move

“Like the Sun, the Night Sky appears to rise in the East and set in the West (which is a result of the Earth spinning from West to East).”

The Zodiac And The Ecliptic

The Zodiacal Constellations mark the ecliptic – the path the Sun and planets appear to take over the course of the year.

The Circumpolar & Seasonal Constellations

The circumpolar constellations are the best places to start for the new amateur astronomer because they are always visible from your latitude (even if you have to turn your head a bit to see them all).

NASA Space Place – Exploring the Water World

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. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in April, 2013.

By Diane K. Fisher

2013february2_spaceplaceIn some ways, we know more about Mars, Venus and the Moon than we know about Earth. That’s because 70% of our solar system’s watery blue planet is hidden under its ocean. The ocean contains about 98% of all the water on Earth. In total volume, it makes up more than 99% of the space inhabited by living creatures on the planet.

As dominant a feature as it is, the ocean—at least below a few tens of meters deep—is an alien world most of us seldom contemplate. But perhaps we should.

The ocean stores heat like a “fly wheel” for climate. Its huge capacity as a heat and water reservoir moderates the climate of Earth. Within this Earth system, both the physical and biological processes of the ocean play a key role in the water cycle, the carbon cycle, and climate variability.

This great reservoir continuously exchanges heat, moisture, and carbon with the atmosphere, driving our weather patterns and influencing the slow, subtle changes in our climate.

The study of Earth and its ocean is a big part of NASA’s mission. Before satellites, the information we had about the ocean was pretty much “hit or miss,” with the only data collectors being ships, buoys, and instruments set adrift on the waves.

Now ocean-observing satellites measure surface topography, currents, waves, and winds. They monitor the health of phytoplankton, which live in the surface layer of the ocean and supply half the oxygen in the atmosphere. Satellites monitor the extent of Arctic sea ice so we can compare this important parameter with that of past years. Satellites also measure rainfall, the amount of sunlight reaching the sea, the temperature of the ocean’s surface, and even its salinity!

Using remote sensing data and computer models, scientists can now investigate how the oceans affect the evolution of weather, hurricanes, and climate. In just a few months, one satellite can collect more information about the ocean than all the ships and buoys in the world have collected over the past 100 years!

NASA’s Earth Science Division has launched many missions to planet Earth. These satellites and other studies all help us understand how the atmosphere, the ocean, the land and life—including humans—all interact together.
Find out more about NASA’s ocean studies at http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography. Kids will have fun exploring our planet at The Space Place, http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/earth.

This article was written by Diane K. Fisher and provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

2013april24_ice_630

Caption: This image from September 2012, shows that the Arctic sea is the smallest recorded since record keeping began in 1979. This image is from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center.

About NASA Space Place

The goal of the NASA Space Place is “to inform, inspire, and involve children in the excitement of science, technology, and space exploration.” More information is available at their website: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Powering Our Future”

Saturday, April 20, 9:30-11:00am

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, Syracuse NY


We will look at the adoption of energy by the human race over time, the finite resources of non-renewable energy (i.e. oil, gas, coal and nuclear), the importance of energy conservation, and the promise of renewable energy resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat to help Central New York become a net-zero energy community.

People interested in learning more about sustainability are invited to attend the free Junior Cafe presentation on Saturday, April 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing jrcafe@tacny.org by April 18, 2013.

Presenter: Dr. Peter Plumley is the Exhibits Project Manager at the MOST, and a Research Associate Professor at Syracuse University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is a geologist with an extensive background in computers and technology. Dr. Plumley’s principle focus area has been northwest North America, specifically, Alaska and northern Canada, where he researched plate tectonics and application of paleomagnetic techniques to regional tectonics. His most recent and active research is focused on educational issues of secondary students related to motivation and the Science of Learning. Dr. Plumley was responsible for development and implementation of K-12 outreach for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. Students impacted by his outreach programs number approximately 2,000 students from middle schools per year, and 2,100 high school students per year. Dr. Plumley teaches introduction to engineering classes for environmental engineers, with a focus on energy, and is actively designing and building a new exhibit at the MOST dedicated to energy and sustainability. Dr. Plumley was honored as the TACNY 2003 College Educator of the Year and was a recipient of the 2011 Post-Standard Achievement Award. Dr. Peter W. Plumley currently manages a small farm called Plumley Farms in LaFayette, New York, where he raises honeybees and chickens, and produces honey, eggs, beeswax candles, and maple syrup.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

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 about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.