Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Heather's Corner: Oro Valley's Sun City Astronomy Club-Are the Stars Out Tonight?

Have an interest in space, stars, and the Universe? The Sun City Astronomy Club might be for you. A chartered club of Sun City Oro Valley, this is a wonderful opportunity for amateur astronomers, those with extensive backgrounds, and anyone interested in what goes on in the space all around us. Club meetings feature guest speakers, demonstrations, and trips to nearby observatories. It won't be long before you can "identify stars, planets, and constellations with the naked eye and where to look for deep sky objects with binoculars or telescopes." They also donate a free telescope to every 5th grader at Coronado K-8 school.

"Star Parties" happen twice a year, in fall and spring; a field trip usually to Catalina State Park. Attendees bring viewing equipment and sac lunch (dinners) for gazing in amazement at the desert sky. Typically, a highly knowledgable staff member of Starizona, provides a high powered advanced telescope as well as the answers to many of your questions.

I spoke with their secretary Midge Berlowe, who told me when she first attended the meetings about 3 or 4 years ago, there were 7 people in attendance and how how their club has expanded over the years. 

"Now, thanks to our current president, (Peter Simpson ), we require three full rooms at the activity center."

She also boasts the clubs success to the talented astronomers living in the area adding richness to the general meetings and star parties. 

Even if you do not become a member of their astronomy club, Midge suggests still considering attending a speaker event. It just so happens, this Thursday, Dr. Don McCarthy, Astronomer and Professor at University of Arizona, will speak about "Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation." Known for his pioneering techniques for achieving high angular resolution at infrared wavelengths, he, amongst other accomplishments, has recently detected atmospheric waves on Pluto. Sounds like it will be an eye-opening and exciting night for all!

Currently the club has 200 members, 5 of those being non Sun City Residents. They do allow up to 20 percent of members to be non-residents so if you're interested, they welcome you!

For more information about this speaker, future events, and meetings, please visit their website, http://www.scovastronomy.com.

Anyone attending this Thursday, please keep us posted on how it went!

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