From The Director

by Rex Parker, PhD

Our future is in Princeton.  Many of you, like me, would rather have our monthly astro gatherings in person at a prestigious science place in Princeton rather than Zooming.  This may happen this fall, and I hope you’re on board as we transition back to real 3-D meetings.  But the venue for our last 30 years, Princeton’s Peyton Hall, is not going to be available for the foreseeable future.

We’re awaiting a decision on a good alternative – Wolfensohn Hall at the Institute for Advanced Study. The IAS is steeped in Princeton’s science and math history and counts 35 Nobel Laureates and many other big medal recipients as members and faculty. The big Hollywood production “Oppenheimer”, filmed in part at IAS, may be the buzz around Princeton next summer.  Wolfensohn Hall is known for outstanding acoustics, home to the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and has a nearby parking lot plus easy driving access.  While it will be a technical challenge, the option of hybrid meetings with video from the live stage in Wolfensohn with Zoom/You Tube is the intention.

Finally, if we do meet monthly at IAS, we will be required to monitor all attendees for COVID vaccination status, so long as this continues to be the Institute’s policy. No vaccine = no admittance and proof will be required.  IAS uses the software system Crowd Pass for external attendees, and is considering allowing us to use this for vaccine certification and security.

All systems are go for Observatory reconstruction.  At long last we have received all the permits from the State and authorization to proceed with the big masonry job.  The steel reinforced concrete block columns which hold the roll-off roof at Washington Crossing Observatory will be torn down and replaced.  A big thanks to each of our members who contributed to the reconstruction fund.  We have now raised nearly all of the money to meet the $9700 estimate for the job. Especial thanks to our Treasurer Michael for sticking with it to get us through the permitting process.  Last week we met with the contractor to confirm the plan and now we wait only for the company to schedule the start date.  Hopefully the Observatory will be closed for construction for only a few days.

Mid-summer supernova remnant The Cirrus Nebula in Cygnus, NGC 6992, is high overhead after sunset in August and makes a great target for EAA and astrophotography.  It is part of a large circular structure expanding in space like a shock wave from the nova event 15000 years ago.  During a few clear nights recently, I was able to obtain some decent data on this colorful though faint supernova sequel.  The image below was processed from about 6 hours of data, with 10 min subs using a 12.5” scope and ASI2600MM camera with filters.  Astrophoto by RAParker from NJ

This entry was posted in Mid-summer 2022, Sidereal Times and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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