Goddard Astronomy Club

Issue 248 February 2019

NEBULA is the official newsletter of the Goddard Astronomy Club (GAC), an employee organization of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. GAC meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

WWW page: http://gac.gsfc.nasa.gov/

President: Stephan Klene (stephan.klene AT nasa.gov), 301-286-6194

Editor: Allison Evans (allison.evans AT nasa.gov), 301-867-2044

Last Meeting: February 12th

The Goddard Astronomy Club held its May meeting on Tuesday the 8th. We began the meeting with a discussion of the upcoming Caroline Furnace trip, which will be May 3-5. For members who are attending the event, contact Keith Evans if you still need to pay ($34/night/person).

Next we had a discussion on the outreach events for the year, which can be found in the Upcoming Public Events section below.

Our next topic of discussion was about the 1-meter mirror. There is a plan to determine what is financially/legally allowed with the mirror in terms of turning it into a telescope. Once we have ironed out these issues, the club can then start making a path forward. Please see the 1-meter Progress to date section below.

Scott Hull then gave a presentation on Applications of Some Basic Astronomy Concepts, which has been uploaded to the Dropbox account (check emails for link). Scott reviewed his previous experience with focusing a small refractor indoors at an outreach event. With the equations he presented, he was able to determine the shortest and longest focus distance for several telescopes. Some discussion was had amongst the club after the presentation about what are the best cheaper telescope options for new astronomy enthusiasts. Richard Kelly suggested searching Astronomer's Without Borders, which has a donation program with certain telescope purchases.


1-meter Progress to date: The assembly building as been identified and inspected by team members for the contruction of the 1-meter telescope. The building is in area 200, which is in the same complex as the club's roll top roof observatory. Initial plans and a bill of materials have been generated in the past. The mirror was delivered to Bldg 35 receiving in late October. Preparations were made to the mirror in order to transport it to the lab for optical testing. The mirror was uncrated, covered and put vertically on two dollies and transported to the lab in early December. Shortly after delivery, a Ronchi test was performed on the mirror. More testing is required. A meeting was held April 6th to discuss the next steps in this project. The back plates were removed to show the mounting of the mirror to the cell (see the club's Flikr site). The mounting frame may be inducing stress to the mirror, so more testing will be performed to see if this is the case. Scott Hull and Mike Rhee have configured a sling in order to hold the mirror for the next phase of testing, which is capable of holding up to 400lbs and is already in place. This sling has been tested and is ready for use. Several tests were performed by Mike Rhee and Scott Hull using the sling and it was determined that this mirror is in fact usable as a telescope. We have begun the process of contacting NASA's legal and education department to determine what is possible financially and legally in terms of finding outside funding sources and/or partnerships.

Quick GAC Event Notes and Reminders


Upcoming Public Events


Next Meeting: Tuesday March 12th, 2019


Lunar Eclipse January 2019