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2021 General Meetings & Special Events

Until further notice we are doing all meetings and events online using Zoom.

A Zoom link is being included with the email notice sent out for the meeting. . The same link is being used for all meetings until further notice. You do not need a Zoom account to join this meeting.

Located in Flagstaff, AZ, the CAS draws expert program speakers from many sources, including Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Naval Observatory, Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, as well as organizations in AZ, NJ, CA, NY and our own knowledgeable membership, and occasionally from other astronomical groups. CAS also helps schools near the Navajo reservation, as well as the Hopi with their astronomical programs.

CAS Monthly Meetings and Astronomical Programs are held the Saturday closest to the Full Moon at the Mars Hill Campus of Lowell Observatory, Hendricks Center for Planetary Studies Auditorium (6:45 pm - 8:00 pm., unless otherwise noted) followed by refreshments, and informal discussion. Meetings are open free to the public.

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, January 30, 2021
Barry D. Malpas, CAS VP

Title: “Meteor Impact Craters around the World and Near Earth Asteroids”

Barry Malpas is currently CAS VP and teaches astronomy at CCC. Mr. Malpas contributes monthly astronomy articles to the Williams-Grand Canyon News and is also a collector of meteorites. He is a past-President of Amateur Astronomers, Inc, Union County College, Cranford, NJ, and past Founder and Director of UACNJ Observatory, Jenny Jump State Park, Hope, NJ.

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, February 27, 2021
John W. Briggs, Director of the Astronomical Lyceum Magdalena, NM

Title: “Walking Tour of Optical History - Artifacts and Anecdotes from the Astronomical Lyceum”

Our forefathers in optics allowed a revolutionary ascendancy of American astronomy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Astronomical Lyceum in New Mexico, originally built in 1936 as a theater and gymnasium, now houses a collection of telescopes, optics, archives, and literature from this ascendancy. The presentation will include unusual items, large and small, created by some of the America's greatest early optical artists, including Henry and Harry Fitz, Alvan Clark and Sons, Carl and Robert Lundin, John A. Brashear, George Willis Ritchey, and the pioneer of astronomical spectroscopy and photography, Lewis Morris Rutherfurd.

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, March 27, 2021
Dr. Klaus Brasch, past CAS VP

Title: “A Lifetime of Astronomy”

Dr. Brasch joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 and has remained actively engaged ever since. The hobby has changed greatly since then, when most people built their own telescopes and “observing” was done mostly by eye not photographically. It was also a golden era of amateur astronomy, because direct exploration of the solar system, manned spaceflight and the race to the Moon still lay ahead, and dedicated amateurs with modest size telescopes could meaningfully participate in the grand adventure to come. Klaus will trace this progression through 63 years of personal involvement.

Dr. Brasch’s astronomical images and articles have widely been published in popular books and magazines, including Sky & Telescope, Sky News, Astronomy Technology Today, the Journal of the British Astronomical Association and the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He has also translated several French books into English, including Urban Astronomy, Great Observatories of the World, New Atlas of the Moon and Space Probes, for Oxford University Press and Firefly Books.

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, April 24, 2021
Emily Mailhot

Title: “Adaptive Optics at Las Campanas Observatory”

During "Adaptive Optics at Las Campanas Observatory" we'll learn about how our pesky atmosphere causes poor seeing, adaptive optics basics, and how adaptive optics can emulate having a telescope in space from the ground. We'll also touch on how astronomers travel to remote observatories like Las Campanas in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Emily Mailhot is an Observational Specialist for the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory. She holds a B.S. in Astrophysics from Lehigh University. Since 2019 she has been operating the adaptive secondary mirrors on the Large Binocular Telescope and the Las Campanas Observatory Clay and Baade Telescopes. When she isn’t observing she is a flight instructor and road cyclist.

You can view the video from the meeting here: Emily Mailhot.htm Video

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, May 22, 2021
Dr. Nicholas Moskovitz a planetary astronomer at Lowell Observatory

Title: “The essential role of telescopes large and small in NASA's DART mission”

In 2022 NASA will conduct the first-ever planetary defense experiment by impacting a spacecraft into a binary asteroid called Didymos. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will impact the smaller body in the binary system and aim to change its orbital period about the primary by at least 75 seconds. This will test the efficacy of a kinetic impactor in deflecting the orbit of an asteroid. As the main spacecraft will not survive this encounter, studying the outcome will rely on ground-based telescopes. I will present results of pre-launch observations that have leveraged the 4.3-m Lowell Discovery Telescope, as well as the need for post-impact observations in October 2022 when Didymos will have an apparent magnitude of V~15 and thus be within reach for 1-m class telescopes.

Dr. Nicholas Moskovitz is a planetary astronomer at Lowell Observatory. His work focuses on small bodies -- asteroids, comets, meteors -- in the Solar System. He has degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara (BS) and the University of Hawaii (Ph.D.).

Saturday, June 26, 2021
Summer Picnic at Fox Glenn Park

We are reserving a ramada at Fox Gleen Park for our picnic between 2:00PM-6:00PM. This is for members only.

Members that have had the Covid shots do not need to wear a mask, those that have not had the covid shots must wear a mask unles eating or drinking.

Attendies must bring their own food and drink. There will be no sharing.

Further information should appear here as we get closer to the event. We are also sending specific information in the meeting notice about a week before the event.

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, July 24, 2021
Lonny Buinis

Title: “Virtual Reality Planets”

A century ago, planetary astronomers relied on little more than optical observations through great refracting telescopes. Preconceptions and the limits of human vision caused them to miss by the width of an eyepiece reticle the weird rotation of Mercury and the real nature of Mars’ surface. Lonny Buinis brings these worlds to life by giving you what effectively lets you hold a planet in your hands: VR objects.

Move and compare 3D versions of old planetary drawings of Mercury, Mars, and Saturn with modern globes. Use your fingers or any pointing device. Zoom in to features on the Moon, Pluto, and Charon. See how to find exoplanets. Lonny will conclude by describing his year long adventure creating the first saleable, 4K, interactive VR model of Mars with hyperlinked, narrated videos that include every landing and crash site.

Short Biography of Lonny Buinis

Lonny Buinis has been obsessed with all things outer space for a long time – ever since he looked through his first telescope and saw a pterodactyl fly by. In the Age of Mammals - 1994 - he helped to start the United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey. The Lonny Buinis Observatory was dedicated there in 2016. Lonny holds degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology in physics and computer science, and is a member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists. He was assistant planetarium director at Raritan Valley College, NJ, for many years. He published the first interactive space history book in 2018. He has just finished an interactive, Virtual-Reality model of Mars with narrated videos of all 18 landing and crash sites. He says you can always find someone smarter than yourself, but is no dummy because he had the wherewithal to marry his narrator, Jan Buinis.

You can view the video from the meeting here: Lonny Buinis Presentation Video

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, August 21, 2021
Stephen O'Meara

Stephen is making his presentation from Africa with a 9 hour time difference from Arizona. For this reason the meeting is starting at 9:00PM with Zoom opening up at 8:30PM

Title: “The Night Skies of Botswana”

A renowned visual astronomer, Stephen is globally recognized for his legendary eyesight and observational prowess. Among his many astronomical achievements, Stephen was the first to sight Halley’s Comet on its 1985 return and the first person to determine the rotation period of the distant planet Uranus. One of his most distinguished feats was the visual detection of the mysterious spokes in Saturn’s B-ring before the Voyager spacecraft imaged them.

A renowned visual astronomer, Stephen is globally recognized for his legendary eyesight and observational prowess. Among his many astronomical achievements, Stephen was the first to sight Halley’s Comet on its 1985 return and the first person to determine the rotation period of the distant planet Uranus. One of his most distinguished feats was the visual detection of the mysterious spokes in Saturn’s B-ring before the Voyager spacecraft imaged them.

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, September 18, 2021
Howard Simkover

Howard is making his Zoom presentation from eastern Canada. For this reason the meeting is starting at 6:30PM with Zoom opening up at 6:00PM

Title: “Mercury – The Elusive Innermost World”

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, Mercury was the fleet-footed messenger of the gods. We know it today as the smallest planet in our solar system that orbits closest to the Sun.

It’s a hot place! On the sunlit side, temperatures rise to over 420 C., hot enough to melt lead and tin. To future astronauts who might venture there, the Sun would appear as a giant, blazing disc in the Mercurian sky. Yet at night the temperature plummets to a bone-chilling -170 C.

Until the 20th Century, we knew very little about this small planet. Even in large telescopes, astronomers could barely discern any recognizable features on its sun-baked surface. It was only in the mid-1960s that we learned something as basic as the length of a day on Mercury.

Howard Simkover was born in Montreal, Canada and obtained his education there. He graduated as the leading student in McGill University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and was awarded the British Association Medal for Great Distinction. His professional career, during the daytime, has been in the field of telecommunications with Bell Canada and also in management consulting. He is a Professional Engineer, Ontario, and is currently working as a consultant in process management and governance with Health Canada, the federal government department.

Howard’s lifelong interest in astronomy began in 1956. He obtained his first telescope at that time, and used it to observe the planet Mars when it came very close to the Earth that year. Later, he became active in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, where he served on the Observation Committee and the Board of Directors of the Montreal Centre.

From 1968-89, Howard produced numerous shows and lectured on astronomy at the Dow Planetarium of the City of Montreal. Some of his shows have played at other planetaria in Canada and the United States. He has also lectured at the Canada Science & Technology Museum in Ottawa and at Carleton University. He currently speaks about astronomy to various groups around the National Capital Region, and to groups elsewhere via Zoom technology.

Howard admits to having observed the planet Mercury nearly 1,200 times.

You can view the video from the meeting here: Howard Simkover Presentation Video

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, October 23, 2021
Dr. Duane Ray

Title: “Gravitational Waves Detected!”

Detecting gravitational waves allows us to determine information about our universe that is obtainable in no other way. Gravitational waves were first detected in September of 2015. This amazing achievement was by a detector in Louisiana and a detector near Tri-Cities in Washington state.

First, we will review the creation and detection of gravitational waves. Then we visit the first ever Gravitational Wave Detector in Washington state, going behind the scenes for a rare view of the equipment involved. This is a new window into our universe. With more detectors around the world coming online we will be able to accurately determine the direction of gravitational wave sources. Plans for the future are even more challenging!

Short Biography of Dr. Duane Ray

Dr. Duane Ray - (B.A. Swarthmore College, MS & Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in physics)

After Dr. Ray retired and moved to the pacific northwest more than 20 years ago, he started teaching to the general community under the auspices of Clackamas Community College near Portland, OR, and Clark College in Vancouver, WA. His interests in both science and art continues.

You can view the video from the meeting here: Duane Ray Presentation Video

Online Zoom Meeting

Saturday, November 20, 2021

CAS Member Activity Presentations

Theme: “See Below”

Each year CAS members are active in the pursuit of their avocation of Astronomy. At this meeting 4-6 members will present 10-15 minute overviews of the activities and achievements they were involved in during the preceding year.

Member's Presentations

  • Klaus Brasch - Fun with Astrophotography
  • Padraig Houlahan - Spectroscopy With Small Telescopes
  • Barry Malpas - When I was a Kid There Were Nine Planets

You can view the video from the meeting here: CAS Member Presentions Video

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Christmas Dinner is at Ernest Webb's home between 12:00 and 16:00. His address will be in the email anouncement.

CAS Membership

We Welcome anyone interested in Astronomy

Membership in CAS is open to all interested in learning more about astronomy and telescopic observing. Membership entitles you to attend, and be involved with, the monthly general meetings, as well as special club events, observing sessions, and star parties, at our Dark Sky Observing Site. Annual and monthly events postcards with CAS happenings are mailed to all Members.

Besides “Regular Membership,” CAS has “Household Memberships” for two adults at the same address, “Junior Memberships” for students, and “Sponsoring Memberships” for those wishing to help support the Society.

If you are interested in becoming a member use the brochure application form, or the one on our website ( Join Us) web page

For questions you can email us at: info@coconinoastro.org, or contact Anne Wittke, CAS Treasurer, at (928) 606-2064.


Board Meetings

Board meetings are held on the Thursday preceding the regular Saturday meeting at the Mars Hill Campus of Lowell Observatory, Hendricks Center for Planetary Studies Auditorium. The meetings are open to all CAS members but the mailing list for the meetings only includes the board members.

Note that during our online meetings the link for the board meetings is the same as for the regular meetings.

Thursdays at 7 pm

January 28, 2021
March 25, 2021
May 20, 2021
July 22, 2021
Note This an optional meeeting to discuss The Flagstaff Star Party and any Covid issues arise
19, 2021
September 16, 2021
November 18, 2021


Williams Public Observing

Due to the Croonavirus Williams Public Observing has been cancelled until further notice

On the Friday evening closest to First Quarter Moon, April through October, CAS hosts its monthly community outreach program to educate and promote interest in Astronomy to the general public.

CAS members set up their telescopes at Glassburn Park in Williams, and invite the public free of charge to observe the Moon and other visible objects in the night sky

Directions for Williams

Location:Glassburn Park - in the natural area west of Rod’s Steakhouse parking lot.
Take I40 west. Exit 165 into Williams. The park is about 2-3 blocks after the hill, just past the edge of town on the right.

Contact: Barry 928-814-6367

April 23, 2021
May 21, 2021
June 18, 2021
July 16, 2021
August 13, 2021
Sept. 10, 2021
Oct. 15, 2021

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