President's Message (CRO Tour Video)

This month, our president takes us on a quick tour of Cheddar Ranch Observatory, and some very riveting weed eating. If you've never been to CRO, or have forgotten what it looks like, this is a nice reminder that the site actually still exists and will be in prime shape for Saturday's Member Night.

Additionally, President Chuck has some brief words about club dues, information about the June meeting, and what to look forward to for July.

Okie-Tex Star Party - The Building is Going Up!

As of right now, this second, the Okie-Tex Star Party is still a go. We do still have the August 11 date to decide for sure whether the event is a go or no go, but for now we are still a go. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue for quite some time, and we have to take not only the health and safety of the attendees, speakers and staff of the OTSP into account, but also the wider Cimarron County population. It's a tricky, evolving situation and we'll keep everyone posted here, on our webforum and on the Okie-Tex website.

Now, with that said, the building is still going up and construction is underway. The site has been excavated and graded, and a culvert from the county has been installed. Larry Beatty, our vice-president, is headed up to take care of the underground plumbing, which will allow the construction crew to pour the foundation pad. After that, the building starts to go up. We've been told that the building takes about 30 days to install.

The building is on-going and on-schedule. Once the building starts going up we hope that someone out there remembers to bring a camera and can send us some photos of the installation.

May Meeting Replay

The May club meeting was broadcast live on YouTube. We had a brief club update from our president, and then a talk by Kerry Magruder, Curator and John H. and Drusa B. Cable Chair of the History of Science Collections, Associate Professor of Bibliography & Associate Professor of the History of Science. Kerry's talk was a fantastic dive into the history of how and when cultures were able to prove that the Earth was round. If you missed it, don't worry, you can still see it here on the YouTube replay:

Club News

COVID-19 remains with us, but the state is opening up and we are doing our best to figure out how best to hold events and gatherings for our members and the community at large. This month, we do intend on holding our regular CRO Member Nights (weather permitting) and we're going to continue to schedule and hold events as we can. The safety of our members remains our highest priority, and we thank everyone for bearing with us through this wild year.

June 12 Club Meeting

Our June meeting is once again, in person. It's even at the Science Museum of Oklahoma! But, because of the pandemic, we are holding the meeting outside in the parking lot. The museum itself is open, but we cannot yet accomodate a fairly large group of people into a relatively confined space. We are looking forward to seeing everyone and hearing your story about making it through the first wave of the pandemic, and especially if you managed to get any observing in during the past three months.

The club is providing moon pies (picture above - I had no idea this was a thing), water and soft drinks. Please bring your own lawn chairs and telescopes are of course welcome. Please do your best to maintain social-distancing practices and we hope to see you out there!

June 13 Member Night at Cheddar Ranch

The forecast for the June 13 CRO night is looking good, and we're going to try to hold this event is any CRO member would like to come out. We are going to try to keep some restrictions in place: no more than four people in the main building at any given time, and please refrain from bringing guests out if possible. The pads are spaced out enough as it is for social distancing purposes, but please be cognizant of peoples' spaces.

As long the weather holds, it should be a great night. If you're a club member, feel free to come out and enjoy the evening with us. If you haven't been before, the best place for directions or an escort remains our web forums: June 13 Member Night .

Okie-Tex Registration is Open

September 11-19, 2020

Progression on the new building is proceeding as planned and we are still on track to be using it for Okie-Tex 2020.

The OTSP is the premiere star party in North America. Around 500 fellow star-gazers gather at Camp Billie Joe near Kenton, OK and enjoy nine nights of some of the darkest skies in the country. We have wireless internet, catered food, and a full slate of speaker presentations, give-aways, swap-meets and more. The surrounding area has plenty of hiking and exploring to do. We do our absolute best to make Okie-Tex the absolute best star party in the world. If you have an Okie-Tex question, email us at starpartyinfo@okie-tex.com.

We are hoping to avoid any COVID-19 related issues for 2020. We have set early August as a "go/no go" date. If you'd like a refund, the normal refund policy applies, but we are very aware of potential issues this year, and will do our best to work with you.

Register for Okie-Tex

Club Dues Reminders

Club dues reminder emails were recently sent out. We know that the first quarter of this year has been wild, and that we haven't been able to meet in person since February. The club dues link in the email will allow you to pay online via PayPal, or you can pay in person at the club meeting. If you can't or don't want to renew this year, that's fine too! We know it's been a wild year for many.

If you can't get the link to work, or if you didn't get a renewal email and know you still need to, please contact membershipsecretary@okcastroclub and we'll make sure you get sorted out. Thank you for all your continued support!

Space News & Activities

Nasa & SpaceX Successfully Dock with ISS

The biggest space-related news of the month is easily the successful launch of the SpaceX spacecraft Crew Dragon carrying two passengers to the International Space Station. After having the original launch scrapped and facing some oncoming weather, NASA was able to launch the Crew Dragon on May 30.

The launch was the first time in history that an American commercial rocket had launched astronauts successfully into space.

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McDonald Observatory Confirms Second Exoplanet around Proxima Centauri

We can't be the only ones that have daydreamed about moving someplace far, far away lately. A researcher at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin, using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, discovered and mapped the existence of a second exoplanet around our closest star (that isn't the sun).

Can we go there? Of course not. Would we want to? The planet is seven times the size of the Earth, which is great for social distancing, but probably not to great for supporting life. That's not going to keep us from dreaming about it though.

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From the Night Sky Network: Summer Triangle Corner - Vega

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and look up during June evenings, you’ll see the brilliant star Vega shining overhead. Did you know that Vega is one of the most studied stars in our skies? Find out why in this issue of NASA's Night Sky Notes!

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Upcoming Events

Cheddar Ranch Member Nights

June 13 & 20

The weather for the 13th looks good, and we are holding member nights while we can. Please help us maintain safe social distancing practices by having no more than four people in the building at a time, being aware of your distance to others, and washing your hands frequently. Hope to see you out there!

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NSN Webinar: A Revolution In Commercial Space Development: The Next 42 Months

Join the NASA Night Sky Network on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 6:00pm Pacific Time (9:00pm Eastern) to hear Bruce Pittman from NASA's Space Portal Office, as he shares with us the present, and future of commercial ventures in space.

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The June Sky

Looking for something to easily observe from your backyard in the June and July skies? The following items should be easily doable and are great for beginners. June is a great month for learning a new constellation, checking out an old favorite, or viewing some planets, even if the sun doesn't set until pretty late. For free planetarium software to help you learn the night sky, check out Stellarium (www.stellarium.org) or Cartes de Ciel (https://www.ap-i.net/)

Photo of the Lunar X by Gerald Miller

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