Williamson County Astronomy Club

Past Meeting Program Subjects


The Williamson County Astronomy Club offers meeting programs covering subjects of interest to both armchair astronomers and observers alike.  Listed here is a sampling of our past meeting programs.

January 7, 2010

"Members' Show and Tell"
Members discussed projects and equipment they have worked with for the past year.

February 4, 2010

"Life In Our Galaxy" - Dr. Mark Bottorff, Southwestern University
Dr. Mark Bottorff of Southwestern University discussed the methods used to estimate the number of potential instances of intelligent life within our Milky Way galaxy.

March 4, 2010

"Improving The Star Party Experience" - Pete Wehner, Austin Community College
Pete Wehner of Austin Community College will present ideas, methods and techniques for improving the operation of Star Parties for participants and guests alike.

April 1, 2010

"The Structure Of Our Galaxy" - Mark Vining, Austin Community College
Mark Vining of Austin Community College will discuss the structure of the Milky Way galaxy and observations relating to its invisible core.

May 6, 2010

"Asteroids - Avoiding Armageddon" - Dr. David Dearborn, Lawrence Livermore Nation Laboratory
Dr. David Dearborn of Lawrence Livermore Nation Laboratory will discuss the dangers of near Earth asteroids, detection methods, and possible ways to prevent a potentially catastrophic future impact with Earth.

June 3, 2010

"Basic Optics For Amateur Astronomers" - John Upton, Club Member
Club member John Upton will present a tutorial covering basic optical theory that every amateur astronomer should understand.  In addition to basic concepts like image formation, magnification, and field of view, the topics of aberrations in optical systems will be touched upon.  Finally a practical example analysis of a typical Newtonian telescope will be summarized.

July 1, 2010

"KSC Visit -- The Last Launch Of Atlantis" - Jeff Foreman, Club Member
Club member Jeff Foreman will present commentary, photos, and video of his recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center where he had the opportunity to witness the final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

August 5, 2010

"Roving Mars" - History Channel Video
A video covering the deveopment and operational aspects of the Mars Rover program was shown.

September 2, 2010

"20 Things You Never Knew About Radiative Recombination" - Bruce Campney, Club Member
Club President Bruce Campney will present "20 Things You Never Knew About Radiative Recombination", a collection of interesting factoids concerning one of the early stages of the universe following the Big Bang.  The presentation will vaguely follow the monthly inside-cover articles of Discover Magazine.  The topic was chosen by members in an experimental topic-generation exercise during a meeting several months back.  If well received, we will likely have similarly formatted programs from time to time in the future.

October 7, 2010

"HR Diagram of Star Clusters" - Dr. Mark Bottorff, Southwestern University
Dr. Mark Bottorff of Southwestern University will discuss the range of star types that may reside within a star cluster.  He will illustrate the regions of the HR diagram occupied and discuss the life cycle of the members of star clusters.

November 4, 2010

"Pair Instability Supernovae" - Dr. David Dearborn, Lawrence Livermore Nation Laboratory
Dr. Dearborn will present 3-D hydrodynamic simulations of pair-instability supernova (PISN) explosions. He will follow the evolution of a 50 solar mass and a 65 solar mass helium-burning core from the main sequence to a pre-explosion evolved phase.

December 2, 2010

"A Visit To Kovac Planetarium" - Greg Habas, Club Member
Club Member Greg Habas will discuss his recent visit to Kovac Planetarium in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  This unique, amateur built planetarium features an unusual interior globe design.  The story behind this large project will be presented through photos of the construction and final results.