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Lincoln Hills Astronomy Group

Past Meetings

December 6      
December 6 Meeting  "How astronomers Learn About the Stars" by Dave Wood 
                                       What is a star made of? How big is a star? How hot is a star? How fast is moving? Astronomers can determine these
                          things and many others about stars (and galaxies and nebulae) by measuring the properties of the light emitted. We
                          can observe the direction, color, and intensity of the incoming light. Dave described how we can learn so much about
                          the stars from these measurements of starlight.

November 1       General Meeting  "Solar System Water District" by Don Wilson
Don took us on a journey through time, space and energy to show how, when and where water in its many forms is
                           distributed throughout the entire solar system as a dynamic process in equilibrium and producing life. Don also
                           critiqued his recent participation in the “Twilight Zone”: COSMO 2006, where top cosmologists and particle
                           physicists from around the world met at their tenth annual Conference on Particle Physics and the Early                

October 4           General Meeting  Star Party at Orchard Creek Lodge
                                        The Star Party was cancelled due to cloudy weather.  The following presentations were given instead of the Star
                                       1. Demonstration of the shifting of the path of the sun (ecliptic) between seasons  - John Combes
2. A short presentation on the upcoming transit of Mercury across the sun (Nov 8) - Joel Thomas
                              This is an event that will be viewed in small telescopes with solar filters.
3. A presentation on "Modern Telescope Features" - Ron Olson
                              This presentation will describe features in modern telescopes for amateurs which enable easy location and
                              viewing of thousands of celestial objects.

September 6       General Meeting  "The Outer Solar System – Pluto and Beyond" by John Combes
                            John started by taking a look at Pluto to see why it is the odd-ball of the nine planets. He descried the Kuiper Belt
                            and Oort Cloud and the kinds of objects that lurk in these outer zones and the effect some of them have on the inner
                            zone of the Solar System.

August 2             General Meeting  "The Spacetime Fabric of the Universe - A Glimpse at Our Current Understanding". Dr.     
                            Harry Houpis
                                         This is a topic that is one of the “hot frontiers” of current research interests. Another way of stating the topic is that
                            space and time are fused into a “canvas” upon which the Universe plays out its evolution. However, there is much
                            debate about exactly what the “canvas material” is and how it interacts with the material components of the
                            Universe. Harry discussed just a few items which illuminate the problems with our current “canvas” picture of the
                            Universe. The presentation was followed by a planetarium show featuring the summer sky.

July 5                  General Meeting  "Many Moons and their Mysteries" by Nina Mazzo
                                         Our solar system has 9 planets. However, it also has 141 moons varying from icy fragments to complex worlds with
                           volcanoes, oceans and atmospheres. Nina presented a tour of these mysterious micro worlds.

June 7                  General Meeting  "Comet Hunting" by
Don Machholz
                             Don is a Colfax resident and amateur astronomer who has discovered 10 comets. This most recent discovery,
                             Comet Machholz (
c/2004 Q2) was discovered from his backyard in August of 2004. The comet was bright enough
                             to be visible to the naked eye in January 2005. Don presented a description of his comet hunting career, his ten
                             visual comet discoveries, and the path he has taken to get to this point.

ay 3                   General Meeting  "Online Astronomy Resources" by John Flaherty In this presentation the vast array of
                             Astronomy resources available in an online astronomy course was  demonstrated. These resources included
                             animations, images, web sites, interactive tutorials, and films. These resources will made accessible at no cost to
members via their home internet connection.

April 5                "Star Party at Orchard Creek Lodge" 
                             Due to the weather, the star party was not possible. John Combes presented a demonstration on "The Size of the
                             Solar System" which was followed by the video "Cosmic Voyages."

March 1                General Meeting     "Fact, Fiction, Faith or Fraud?" 
                              Don Wilson 
presented a cursory reality check of presently high profile cosmology subjects from the dark side. 
                              Don's presentation discussed the nature of the very mysterious Dark Energy and Dark Matter; the Dark Age
                              elusiveness; and dark holes (from monstrous Black Holes at galactic centers to time travel microsized

February 1             General Meeting    "The Gas Giants of the Solar System" by John Combes 
The solar system is comprised of five components; the Sun, terrestrial planets, asteroids, gas giants, and the icy
                               objects far beyond. This presentation discussed the four gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune and why
                               they are that way as compared to the inner terrestrial planets.

January 4                General Meeting    "The Cosmic Distance Scale" by Dave Wood 
How do we know the distance to remote galaxies? By a series of stepping stones and extrapolations from basic
                                triangulation of the nearest stars, via galactic clusters, cepheid variables, supernovae, and red shifts. Dave
                                described how we evolve from reliably known distances (by triangulation) to estimates of distances to the most
remote galaxies in the universe.