Welcome

Westminster Astronomical Society serves as the Astronomical Resource for Carroll County, Maryland. We have public star parties all around Carroll and the surrounding counties as well as other community service work to further educate the citizens of Carroll County about the great overhead nightly resource, our Milky Way. Astronomy is looking up!

Observatory Project at Bear Branch

The training classes for the observatory continue in April the observatory.  The first two classes held in March, uncovered some issues with the telescope that led to some new equipment being added.  Beyond April, additional classes will be offered for members and qualified volunteers.  Please come back and check for more information later.

Meetings

7:30 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Westminster’s Bear Branch Nature Center. The only exception is December when the regular meeting night is used for the annual WAS Holiday Banquet for members.

The meetings are free and open to the public. Anyone who wishes may bring a telescope and observe after the meetings.

July 8 Meeting (7:30 p.m.)

With the year 2015 marking the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) now is a good time to reflect on WASI’s involvement in its legacy. But the WASI connection goes back even farther.  At the 1986 annual convention of the Astronomical League (A.L.) in Baltimore, the director of the Space Telescope Institute (STScI) announced a revolutionary new program to make telescope time available for amateur astronomers.  the Amateur Astronomers Working Group (AAWG) was formed to encourage amateur astronomers to submit observing proposals for review.  WASI member Mike Potter served as the liaison between the director and the AAWG.

Out of the hundreds of proposals submitted, only five were accepted for observation.  One of those five was WASI member Ray Sterner’s.  Ray conducted his observation in person at STScI in 1992.  His observation required images up to 40 minutes each during four orbits of HST.

At the July meeting a video will be shown that captured these historic events.  The video also includes a PBS interview with Ray.  Ray is attending the meeting and will be available to meet members, provide more insider information about the HST, the hypothesis behind his original proposal, and answer questions.

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