Hi. From the Editor.

Hi everyone. This month, as has been the case since February, COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives, even as some states and businesses gradually begin to reopen. Our club thrives on community events, and those just aren't really a possiblity right now. So, I decided to try something different for this month while we can't see each other in person - make this newsletter more dynamic and interactive.

Keep scrolling down, or use the Menu in the top right to navigate to all the stuff you'd usually see in the newsletter.

Let me know your thoughts on this format. Clear skies, and stay safe!

Danny MacDonald, editor@okcastroclub.com

May Speaker - Kerry Magruder

The May speaker presentation will be given 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.

The talk is called "The Shape of the Earth." Join us live on YouTube Friday, May 8 at 7pm.

"When did people discover that the Earth is round? Was their evidence for the spherical Earth convincing? If you were to find yourself in some remote location where people did not know the shape of the Earth, would you be able to point them to evidence accessible to them that would prove the Earth is round?"

Learn more about Kerry Magruder

April Board Meeting Notes

April 28 was the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club's second quarterly Board of Directors Meeting. This was our first, and hopefully only, video conferenced Board meeting.

This board meeting covered the COVID-19 situation, including how to handle the May club meeting (live on YouTube!), what happens to Okie-Tex (so far, nothing, but we're staying on top of it), and how to handle public events (none for the moment). The Board also took care of our usual agenda, including the Treasurer's Report, which was accepted. We also discussed the progress of the Okie-Tex Star Party plans, including the building of the new 40x60 facility for our 2020 event.

Our club Secretary, Patrick, will be publishing full meeting notes as soon as he is able. Those will be linked when they are completed.

Full Meeting Notes

Club News

COVID-19 has continued to keep our star parties and group activities to a minimum, but we still have some club news and events that you can find below.

Remembering Moe Massey

One of our longtime members, Maurice "Moe" Massey, unfortunately passed away on April 22. Moe was a long-time club member, and one of the first people that many of us met. He was a regular at club events, the Okie-Tex Star Party, and especially at Cheddar Ranch. He was a warm, funny and incredibly smart man and astronomer. He was always eager to share his vast astronomical knowledge, and was always willing to teach whoever happened to wander too close to his telescope. There was no greater friend to have in astronomy or in life than Moe and he will be dearly missed.

Moe's wife Sherry has created a memorial page for Moe. When things get back to relative normal, we hope to hold a club memorial service for him and any others that we have lost.

Memorial Page on Remembered.com

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

June Meeting

7pm Friday, June 12

While we are hopeful that things slowly return to normal between now and June, it is entirely possible that our June meeting will also need to be held online. The Science Museum of Oklahoma remains temporarily closed, and we certainly don't want to put our members at risk.

If the museum is open by then, we will see what we need to do to safely hold a club meeting. This is certainly a strange time, and the safety of our members is, and remains, paramount to us. Please bear with us as we navigate these strange times.

Space News & Activities

Become a Citizen Scientist with NASA

Ever want to mix in some science with your stargazing, but not sure where to start? NASA hosts a galaxy of citizen science programs that you can join! You’ll find programs perfect for dedicated astronomers and novices alike, from reporting aurora, creating amazing images from real NASA data, searching for asteroids, and scouring data from NASA missions from the comfort of your home. If you can’t get to your favorite stargazing spot, then NASA’s suite of citizen science programs may be just the thing for you.

Continue Reading...

Astronomers Find Jupiter-like Cloud Bands on Closest Brown Dwarf

Today’s weather forecast: partly cloudy with ammonia rain Brown dwarfs, often called “failed stars,” weigh up to 80 times as much as Jupiter, yet their gravity compacts them to about the size of Jupiter in diameter. And like Jupiter, brown dwarfs can have clouds and weather. Astronomers have found evidence that the closest known brown dwarf, Luhman 16A, has Jupiter-like cloud bands. In contrast its companion brown dwarf, Luhman 16B, shows signs of patchy clouds.

Continue Reading...

Why Alien Life Would be Our Doom

Many of us know about the Fermi Paradox - if there are so many habitable planets like ours, why haven't we seen any evidence of other life? But fewer of us have heard about the Great Filter. The Filter attempts to explain the Fermi Paradox by positing that most species annihilate themselves before they can colonize their surroundings. Is humanity in front of the Filter, or behind it?

Watch Now...

Upcoming Events

While Cheddar Ranch remains available to members, our public events are currently cancelled. But don't let that stop you from learning something! We have many links to astronomy related webinars that you can enjoy from your socially-distant couch.

Astrophotography 101 - Free Webinar

6pm Friday, May 15 on Facebook Live

If you have ever wanted to try your hand at astrophotography or hone your existing skills, now is your chance to do it from home! All you need is your cell phone! This beginners’ overview class will be led by the President of the East Bay Astronomical Society, Richard Ozer, and will guide you through basic steps of astrophotography

Learn more

Cheddar Ranch Member Nights

May 16 & 28 are this month's CRO member nights. If you're heading out, or want to head out, please keep an eye on the discussion forum for weather updates and closures. If you've never been to CRO before, another member that is heading out will be able to provide an escort.

Learn more

The Sky this Month - Free Webinar

6pm Friday, May 22 on Facebook Live

Join Chabot’s astronomers, with Gerald McKeegan & Don Saito on Facebook Live for a short tour of May’s nighttime sky. Learn to recognize many of this month’s constellations and bright stars, and even learn a little about celestial navigation!

Learn more

NSN Webinar: International Space Station

8pm Wednesday, May 27

Join the NASA Night Sky Network and we will discuss the latest from the International Space Station.

Learn more