June 14 Meeting

Friday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m.

David Pecker Conference Room, WIllcox Hall, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY or via ZOOM (link on home page.

Solving the Missing Baryon Problem with Fast Radio Bursts

Isabel Medlock
Department of Astronomy, Yale University

Free & open to the public.

 

May 2024 WAA Meeting

Friday, May 10 at 7:30 pm

Live at David Pecker Conference Room, Willcox Hall, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY or via Zoom

Funding the Final Frontier

Emma Loudon

Department of Astronomy, Yale University

This interactive, in-person talk will explore the intricate dynamics of funding for space exploration, with a particular focus on NASA’s profound impact on society. We’ll discover how strategic investments in space missions have advanced our scientific understanding and spurred innovations that permeate everyday life. From technological advancements to fostering international cooperation, we will learn how NASA’s budgeting decisions shape economic growth, technological innovation, and even the geopolitical landscape. The vast societal returns generated by funding space exploration argue for continued investment in reaching beyond our earthly confines for what some would call less practical reasons. Join astrophysicist Emma Louden (@exoplanet_emma) as she charts the course from fiscal inputs to astronomical impacts, highlighting why pursuing the unknown yields dividends far beyond the stars.

Free and open to the public.

 

April Club Meeting

April 12, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.

Live at David Pecker Conference Room, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY or via ZOOM (Zoom link on WAA homepage)

The History of the Universe, from 1919 to Today

Jeremy Tinker, PhD
Associate Professor at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics and the Department of Physics at NYU

Dr. Tinker will review the discoveries that led to our current understand of the state of the universe, starting with the confirmation of Einstein’s relativity, through the discovery of the expansion of the universe, and the pursuit of the nature of the universe that led to the discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up.


Dr. Tinker at the Jantar Mantar Observatory, Jaipur, India.

Free and open to the public.

 

 

March 2024 Meeting

Friday, March 8 at 7:30 pm

Galactic Archeology

Allyson Sheffield, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics,
LaGuardia Community College & American Museum of Natural History

How did the Milky Way get to look the way it looks today? Are there “cosmic fossils” that can be collected and studied, in the same way that the Earth’s history is probed with terrestrial fossils? The answer is yes, and one manifestation of these cosmic fossils are groups of stars called stellar streams. The identification of stellar streams associated with the Milky Way provide a way of looking at events that occurred billions of years ago, in some cases right after our galaxy formed. In this talk, Dr. Sheffield will discuss what stellar streams are, how they form, and how they can be found using large data sets..

The meeting is free and open to the public. We encourage live attendance so you can meet and greet fellow WAA members. If you can’t make it to Pace University, you can watch it on line. The Zoom link is on the Home page.

 

 

February 2024 Meeting

LIVE at Pace University or via Zoom (see Home page for link)

Friday, February 9 at 7:30 pm

The Vera Rubin Observatory and LuSEE Night

Steve Bellavia

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Two of the most recent projects at the Brookhaven National Laboratory are the camera for the Vera Rubin Telescope (formerly called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) and the LuSEE at Night lunar radio telescope. Steve will discuss how these two instruments are designed and built and describe their scientific goals.

Steve is an amateur astronomer, astrophotographer and telescope maker. He’s been at Brookhaven National Laboratory since 1992 and is the principal mechanical engineer for the Vera Rubin camera, the largest and most sophisticated astronomy camera ever built. He is an assistant adjunct professor of astronomy and physics at Suffolk County Community College and the Astronomy Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold, New York.

Free and open to the public!

 

 

January 2024 Meeting

WAA Meeting & Lecture
Friday, January  12 at 7:30 pm

Live at David Pecker Conference Room, Willcox Hall, Pace University or via Zoom
(link on WAA home page)

Astronomy Education’s Changing Perspective

Marc Taylor
Senior Manager, Planetarium and Science Programs. Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY,

In the past, astronomy education was largely about mathematics, observing techniques, and perhaps theological interpretations of those observations. Over the past 75 years, astronomy education has democratized and become more widely available to all ages, backgrounds, and interests, and can now take us to other worlds and other times. But there has been another change, very recent, permeating the sciences and science education as well — and this newest turn is not really about astronomy at all…

A native of Upstate New York, Marc grew up exploring the woods and streams of the Hudson Valley, and investigating the wider world through popular accounts of science, his father’s math textbooks, and whatever science television programs could reach the family rooftop antenna through the hills of the Hudson Highlands. He attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1993 with a degree in art and a focus on geology, having also studied art history, biology, physics, and chemistry. A summer job at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, led to the field of science education. Over the past ten years, as awareness and alarm about ecological issues has grown, Marc has been bringing in more elements of local ecology into programs at the Hudson River Museum; leading nature walks and creating ecology-focused activities and workshops for the public. He is currently pursuing an Urban Naturalist certificate from the New York Botanical Garden and planning for the 2024 Solar Eclipse.

Free and open to the public.

 

 

December Meeting & Lecture

Friday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Live at Pecker Conference Room, Willcox Hall, Pace University, or via Zoom (link on WAA home page)

Navigating the Cosmos: Satellites, Astro-physics, and the Balancing Act

Emma Louden
Department of Astronomy, Yale University

This lecture explores the dynamic relationship be-tween astronomy, satellites, and the redesign of astrophysics, while also addressing the nuanced im-pact of satellites on astronomical observations. Satellites have remarkable capabilities for unraveling the universe’s mysteries, but also delve pose challenges by their increasing presence in the night sky. This thought-provoking lecture offers a comprehensive look at the benefits and drawbacks of satellite technology.

Emma Louden is an astrophysicist and consultant on space policy and industry trends. As a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in astrophysics at Yale University, Emma is passionate about future-focused strategy for astro-physics, engaging the public with space exploration, & applying evidence-based solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems. When not working on her Ph.D., she focuses on her STEM workforce project & supporting the next generation of astron-omers through the Summer Science Program.

Free and open to the public.

 

 

November Meeting

Friday, November 10 at 7:30 pm

Live at David Pecker Conference Room, Willcox Hall, Pace University or Via ZOOM (link on Home page)

The Right Stuff…Past, Present, & Future

Andy Poniros
NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador

Andy will discuss his recent experiences interacting with the U.S. space program, including a trip to California to meet and interview Apollo-Soyuz and three-time space shuttle astronaut Vance Brand. He’ll take us behind the scenes to where the “Right Stuff” began at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He will interview Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot and command a U.S. space shuttle. Andy will also discuss the future of manned space exploration.

Besides being a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, Andy Poniros is a radio show host, a Board member of the Northeast Astronomy Forum, an amateur tele-scope maker, and a space enthusiast.

 

 

October 2023 Lecture & Meeting

Friday, October 13, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Live at David Pecker Conference Room, Willlcox Hall, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY
or via ZOOM (link on Home page)

Space Volcanos

Caitlin Ahrens, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Caitlin Ahrens’ research involves remote sensing of icy surfaces and volatile interactions, including permanently shadowed craters at the lunar poles, focusing on the composition and thermodynamics of ices. Dr. Ahrens’ specific expertise focuses on modeling of thermal phases of ices, and applications to geomorphological and geophysical data on icy surfaces, including cryovolcanism. Dr. Ahrens also works on a number of planetary volcanism projects, including lava flow morphology, caldera formation, and rheology, on Mars, Ceres, Titan, and Pluto. Dr. Ahrens is currently applying LRO Diviner data with a myriad of other remote sensing data to investigate the volatiles at the lunar surface and lunar volcanism.

Dr. Ahrens received her B.S. in Physics/Astrophysics and Geology from West Virginia University in 2015, and a Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Science at the University of Arkansas in 2020.

Dr. Ahrens is currently a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, advised by Dr. Noah Petro. She is also a member of the Diviner Science Team.

In 2018, Dr. Ahrens received the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award (presented by the Jaycees) for her efforts in science communication and outreach.

Free and open to the public!

 

 

 

September 8th Meeting: Members’ Night

Friday, September 10th
Live at David Pecker Conference Room, Willcox Hall, Pace University and via Zoom

Members’ Night

One of the most popular meetings of the year is our annual “Member’s Night.” Club members present talks on a vast range of subjects of astronomical interest, including their astronomy trips, observations, new equipment, imaging techniques, and other topics.

Members interested in presenting should email WAA’s Vice President for  Programs, Pat Mahon, at waa-programs@westchesterastronomers.org.

In-person attendance is always encouraged. Meet and greet fellow amateur astronomers.

Roman Tytla at WAA Members’ Night