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 5, 2012

"Introduction to Astronomical Image Processing"
Club member John Upton will give an overview of how to get started in astrophotography. He will concentrate on understanding the basics of image capture and calibration of your images. Basic process flow for stacking and stretching of your images will then be explained.

February 2, 2012

"Stars & CERN" - Dr. David Dearborn, LLNL
Dr. David Dearborn will talk about the connections between Astronomy and Physics in the search for WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles).

March 1, 2012

"Members' Show and Tell"
Club Members will be doing a "Members' Show and Tell Night".  All members are invited to bring or offer to talk about some project or activity they have been working on some time in the past year or so.  If a member has some project (either physical or otherwise), bring it along for all to see or hear about.  

One member will be demonstrating some new software he has written, another will be bringing plans and CAD drawings for an equatorial platform he wants to build, and yet another has been trying to finish up a new 12" Dobsonian he is building for use at public star parties.  Also expected will be a new Dobsonian Upper cage buil from a "drum head", and an 8" imaging scope mirror nearing completion.  New equipment (even commercial), new books or observing guides, new software (even if commercial) all qualify.

April 5, 2012

Club member Mark Zell will explain the simplicity and intracacy of Earth's tides. He will cover how they arise and their effects on both the Earth and the Moon.

May 3, 2012

"CCD Enclosure Design" - James J Geraci, University of Texas
NASA has designed a new CCD scientific imaging system more reliable than any camera currently on the market.  However, thermal noise and condensation have proven to be an issue.  The "NASA Enclosure" group at the University of Texas at Austin was charged with performing a detailed investigation into the thermal management of the camera as well as designing and fabricating an enclosure for the device.  The results of this study will be presented.

June 7, 2012

"Members' Field Reports"
Several club members will present field reports from the recent eclipse and Venus transit.  All club members are encouraged to bring photos, videos, or present verbal reports of their experiences from recent observations.

July 5, 2012

"William Herschel" - Bruce Campney and Kim Van Camp, Club Members
Club members Bruce Campney and Kim Van Camp presented an in-depth biography of the life and work of William Herschel.  His contributions to the fields of telescope making, astrometry, and cataloging deep sky objects were woven into a story covering his life and character.

August 2, 2012

"The Geology of Mercury" - Pete Wehner, Austin Community College
Pete Wehner, geology instructor at Austin Community College, will discuss The Geology of Mercury.

September 6, 2012

"The SkyShed POD - A User Review" - Andy Raiford, Local Amateur
Local amateur Andy Raiford will present a review of the The SkyShed POD - a low cost commercial backyard observatory for amateurs.  Andy was a beta-tester for the product and now has used the product for several years.

October 4, 2012

"Designing With SketchUp" - T. Lum, Club Member
Club member T. Lum presented an introduction to the many uses for the free version of SketchUp applied to astronomy. Tips on getting the most out of the program were described in detail.  As a long-time CAD user, the presenter showed many design examples for telescopes, mountings, accessories, and tools which have been modeled using the program.

November 1, 2012

"Just Four Points of Light -- Quasar Research At SU" - Dr. Mark Bottorff of Southwestern University
Dr. Mark Bottorff of Southwestern University will present "Just Four Points of Light -- Quasar Research at the Fountainwood Observatory".  He will detail an ongoing nationwide research program studying the variability of the light from distant Quasars (Active Galactic Nuclei).

December 6, 2012

"All About NEOs" - Bob Read, Club Member
Club Member Bob Read will discuss the detection, study and importance of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) which may pose a risk to Earth.