President's Message

Hi everyone. This month, the fun continues. We continue to have difficulties accomodating large groups of people safely, so this month we are holding another virtual club meeting. I personally will be out on vacation that night, so I'm handing duties off to Danny MacDonald, our Newsletter Editor and the person currently editing this copy for me. The club meeting will have an Okie-Tex update, both on the building and of the status of the Star Party itself, some observing highlights, and a brief astrophotography talk by our own Andy Fryhover.

Last month, we unfortunately lost two mighty members of our club - Glen Kilgour and Peter Kron.

Glen was Observing Coordinator for the club for many years, and was the announcer at the Great Okie-Tex Giveaway for a number of years. Glen was a very nice, very jovial, smart and fun man and he will be dearly missed. Glen unfortunately passed away on June 13, after a long battle with cancer.

Peter Kron passed away on June 11. Peter, or Pete, was an astronomer, a photographer, a telescope seller, a former OU track coach. Pete was a longtime employee of Astronomics and was a regular at Okie-Tex.

Both Pete and Glen will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with their families.

It's been a hard year, and I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy. With any luck (literally ANY luck, at all), we'll see the other side of all this madness soon enough. Stay safe, my friends, and clear skies!

Chuck Rice, president@okcastroclub.com

Okie-Tex Star Party - Updates!

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. We now have a metal tent! We've been told that the building takes about 30 days to install.

The building is on-going and on-schedule. Tune in to the club meeting Friday night for a more in-depth update from Larry.

Club News

COVID-19 remains with us. The state's grand re-opening has not gone well as Oklahoma (and much of the country) is seeing a record number of new cases. We still aren't able to hold much in the way of public star parties so many of our usual events have been pushed off or cancelled. With that said, CRO is still open and we are doing our best to continue to hold Cheddar Ranch Member Nights. If you're itching to get out and see some stars, keeping an eye on the forums for a member night is a great way to do so.

July 10 Club Meeting

We got some time outside last month with our club meeting in the Science Museum parking lot, but this month we are back inside looking at computer screens. Our July club meeting - Friday the 10 at 7pm - will include some announcements and a brief presentation on the critical astrophotography of "stacking." If you don't know what "stacking" is and have any interest in astrophotography, be sure to tune in.

The meeting will be broadcast live in YouTube. You can find it either from the front page of our website, on our club YouTube channel, or right here, embedded below.

July Member Nights at Cheddar Ranch

The two member nights for Cheddar Ranch are the 18 and the 25. We are hoping for some nice weather. If you've never been to one, and are a club member, and want to come out, head over to our club webforum for additional information as the dates get closer. We usually have escorts available to those that haven't been there before.

While Cheddar Ranch has a fair bit of social distancing built into it, please be cautious if you do go out. Please try to limit building usage as much as possible, keep your hands washed, and wear a mask if you do go inside the building.

CRO Gate Codes

Speaking of CRO, Dave Huntz has sent out the new gate code to CRO members. If you have not received the email, please email Dave for additional information: dave.huntz@okcastroclub.com.

If you would like to come out to CRO whenever you want, and not just on a Member Night, you can become a CRO member if you've been a member of the club for at least three months. It does cost an additional fee on top of your club dues, but you gain access to the CRO facilities whenever you want. You can contact our Membership Secretary for more information.

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

Space News & Activities

Get Up Early - See a Comet!

Want to check out a comet this month? Can you be up at before dawn with a telescope? If so, the comet Neowise is now visible in those early dawn skies. Keep reading to read about its history and how you can see it.

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From the Night Sky Network - Mars’s Latest Visitor: NASA’s Perseverance Rover

NASA’s latest Mars rover, Perseverance, is launching later this month!  This amazing robot explorer will scout the surface of Mars for possible signs of ancient life and collect soil samples for return to Earth by future missions. It will even carry the first off-planet helicopter: Integrity.

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Upcoming Events

Cheddar Ranch Member Nights

July 18 & 25

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!

Learn more

NSN Webinar: Solar Orbiter: A joint ESA/NASA mission to investigate the heliosphere

July 23, 8pm

Join the NASA Night Sky Network on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 8:00pm Central to hear Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, as she shares with us an update on the Solar Orbiter mission.

Learn more

Celebrate 30 years of exploring the universe with the Hubble Space Telescope

July 28, 7pm

In this talk, David Leckrone, emeritus senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, discusses several long threads of discovery that were made possible by Hubble’s extended lifetime and regular modernization.

Learn more

Quarterly OKCAC Board Meeting

July 28, 7pm

The OKCAC Board of Directors will be meeting on July 28 from 7pm - 9pm to discuss outstanding and upcoming issues. This meeting will likely be held online and full meeting notes will be released afterwards.

The July Sky

Comet NeowiseSee a comet this month! Looking for something to easily observe from your backyard in the July and August skies? 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 Neowise by Credit: Elinor Gates UCO Lick Observatory

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