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2013 Meeting Journal

December 8
LHAG Holiday Party
December 4 GM "Stellar and Planetary Evolution - from the Ground Up" by John Neil
Have you ever wondered how the chemical analysis of extraterrestrial and terrestrial material generates theories as to the evolution of stars and plants? John Neil explained how geochemistry is applied to astronomical questions.
November 15 CIG DVD Lecture Series "Cosmology - The History and Nature of our Universe" by Professor Mark Whittle
Lecture 05 - The Sweep of Cosmic History
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
November 6 GM "Astronomy Apps" by Dave Wood, Nina Mazzo, and Ron Olson
Our speakers described astronomy related applications for iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, iMac and PC computers. App categories include observing, information astronomy news, science and more.
October 21 CIG DVD Lecture Series "Cosmology - The History and Nature of our Universe" by Professor Mark Whittle
Lecture 03 - Overall Cosmic properties
Lecture 04 - The Stuff of the Universe
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
October 2
GM "Hubble's Amazing Universe" Microwave Background
Lecture 14 - Conditions During the First Million Years
Lecture Discussion and Q & A National Geographic video with an update by Anthony Oreglia
The Hubble Space Telescope has been responsible for unlocking many mysteries of the final frontier. The most renowned telescope in the world is reaching the end of its mission. It has explored the creation of stars and planets, the glory of supernovae and the formation of super massive black holes. It has charted dark matter and changed forever our understanding of the universe we live in. Hubble's Amazing Universe is a National Geographic video with spectacular images of the groundbreaking discoveries made by the Hubble Telescope during its 20 year history.  This was followed by an update of the latest Hubble discoveries and Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.
September 16 CIG DVD Lecture Series "Cosmology - The History and Nature of our Universe" by Professor Mark Whittle
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
September 4
"Comet Curiosities" by Ron Olson and " We Are All One With the Universe" by Morey Lewis
Comet PanSTARRS and ISON have been in the news as possible "Great Comets." Ron Olson discussed the who, what and where of these unique celestial objects along with their potential hazards for life on Earth. Morey Lewis took  us on a journey of discovery regarding some elements  in the Universe in our bodies formation. How do Cosmologists figure out these complex issues? Follow the steps from the Big Bang to the formation of planets rich with the elements for life.
August 21
Sierra College Planetarium Show and Presentation by Professor Dick Marasso
Professor Marasso presented some key articles appearing in Sky & Telescope magazine over the past 50 years he has been an educator. The planetarium show demonstrated the equation of time and described various sundial designs.
August 19 CIG Video "A Universe from Nothing" by Professor Lawrence Krauss.
August 7 TIG Star Party at Blue Canyon
June 5 GM "Saturn's Rings - New Results from Cassini"  Robert French from the SETI Institute
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, launched in 1997 has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. During that time it has taken over 70,000 picture and millions of spectra of Saturn's rings. This unprecedented amount of information has led to the discovery of many new features, such as a "wobble" in the rings likely caused by a cometary impact in 1993 and a small ringlet that always orients itself toward the Sun. In addition, Cassini has enabled the continuing exploration of previously known features, such as the weird F ring with its kinks and clumps and the sparse E ring produced by the ice geysers of the moon Enceladus.
May 15 CIG Video Lecture "Black Holes Explained"
Lecture 11 - Black holes and the Holographic Universe
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
Don Wilson - "Cosmology's Dreamscape:  Big Bang and the neo-astrologers"
May 15 TIG Community Star Party
Our star party was set up behind Orchard Creek Lodge on the Terrace and started at Sunset. Telescopes were setup  to view the Moon and its craters and mountains, Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and its rings and other interesting night sky objects.  A large turnout of viewers enjoyed a great night of viewing these objects for several hours.
May 1
Community Forum in the Ballroom "The Race Back to Space" by Nick Poppelreiter
Who is SpaceX?  What is the SLS?  Is the Dream Chaser just that?  From commercial spaceflight to NASA’s next big rocket, Nick presented what the score is in America’s attempt to get back into space. He compared players in the commercial space flight arena, provided status on what NASA’s currently building, and discussed the ISS and its International Partners.
April 15 CIG Video Lecture "Black Holes Explained"
Lecture 10 - Stephen Hawkings and Black Hole Evaporation
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
Current Topics in Cosmology - Article Review/Discussion by Don Wilson
April 3 GM "Space Shuttle Spin-offs" by Nina Mazzo
Nina presented some of the technological spin-offs from the Space Shuttle including firefighting, land mine removal devices etc. Morey Lewis narrated a video on the Atacama Large Millimeter Array.
March 26
Group Expo Orchard Creek Lodge
March 18 CIG
Video Lecture "Black Holes Explained"
Lecture 09 - Shortcuts Through the Universe and Beyond
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
Current Topics in Cosmology - Article Review/Discussion
Don Wilson discussed various topics including Black Hole DVD Comments, Cosmology's Latest News, and the use of fudge factors (Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark ...) in the Classical Tests to justify the Expanding Space Model (Big Bang) interpretation.
March 6 GM Prehistoric Astronomy Observatories" by John Neil
In early civilizations knowledge of the stars and their positions was important for the practical matters, i.e. agriculture, as well as predicting the future and receiving messages from the gods. Alignments of stones and openings that could be used to predict or observe astronomical events were often incorporated in their public buildings thus making them observatories. With those societies that left written records, we have information that explains their purpose. However, with those societies that did not have written records (prehistoric) it is challenging to recognize an alignment and to determine its astronomical function.
February 18 CIG Video Lecture "Black Holes Explained"
Lecture 08 - The wildest Ride in the Universe
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
Current Topics in Cosmology - Article Review/Discussion
Don Wilson discussed various topics including some of the history of astronomy/cosmology, the astronomers involved, and how their approach has changed over the years.
Febeuary 6 GM "Seeing the Unseen - The Hidden Treasure" by Morey Lewis
How do Astronomers learn about the stars, galaxies and other deep-sky objects when they cannot travel to them and make direct measurements of their characteristics? Visual telescopes provide one window into these distant objects, but much of the information astronomers gather comes from specialized telescopes designed to receive radiation from other parts of the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EM) including Radio, Microwave, Infrared, Ultraviolet, X-ray, and Gamma-rays. Morey described how EM radiation is used in astronomy.
January 21 CIG Video Lecture "Black Holes Explained"
Lecture 07 - Gravitational Waves - ripples in Space-time
Lecture Discussion and Q & A
Current Topics in Cosmology - Article Review/Discussion by Don Wilson
Alternate Views of Cosmology
January 2 CIG "Expanded "What's Up" by Joel Thomas
Joel took us on a tour of the January night sky visible from your backyard with binoculars or your naked eyes. He showed us how to locate Orion, Taurus and other notable star patterns. He also showed us how to locate Jupiter, the king of planets with binoculars as well as how to watch the hourly changes on the historical "cosmic clock" formed by Jupiter's four major moons, first discovered by Galileo in 1609. Joel also explained how, using this "cosmic clock" the Danish astronomer Ole Romer first calculated the speed of light in 1676 and nearly a century later the young surveyor George Washington used the clock to place the Ohio Valley on the map.