NOVAC General Meeting – Sunday April 8, at 7:00 PM at GMU


Come join NOVAC members to hear Dr. Tom Fowler from the George Mason University speak. Guests are welcome at our meetings.

Topic: Electronically Assisted Astronomy

For amateur astronomers today it is “the best of times and the worst of times,” to paraphrase Dickens. We have at our disposal a veritable banquet of sophisticated equipment, much of it superior in quality to most professional equipment of a few generations ago. But we also have the plague of light pollution, negating much of the capability of our fine instruments. Here we will investigate what we can see, under various conditions, and what we can do to improve the situation. We will examine the three principal ways of doing astronomy, of which Electronically Assisted Astronomy or EAA is the newest. We will examine how EAA works, and then discuss several topics that relate to the improvement in your view of objects with EAA. These topics include the differences between stars and extended objects, how the eye works, bit depth, and exposures. We will also look at limiting photographic magnitude and how it affects EAA procedures. We will conclude with a discussion of several types of EAA equipment, EAA viewing methods, and some demos. Along the way we will look at many EAA images and compare them with what can be seen visually as well as with long-exposure photographs of the same objects.

Bio: Dr. Tom Fowler is an Adjunct Professor at GMU and has been an avid amateur astronomer for many years. He began exploring EAA to answer the question of what you can actually see when looking through a telescope, and how to overcome the limitations of purely visual astronomy, especially given the increasing levels of light pollution nearly everywhere.

Important to know
Meetings start at 7:00 PM. If you come earlier you can do a little socializing. Paid parking near the meeting room is available in the Shenandoah parking structure.

Meeting attendees are invited to join our informal pre-meeting dinner at Red Hot and Blue, 4150 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030 at 5:30 p.m. The pre-meeting dinner is an excellent way to meet club members, welcome newcomers, and renew old friendships.

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