Nebraska Star Party Review and “Adventures in Astrophotography” by Mark Dahmke. We will show photos and video from the annual Nebraska Star Party held at Merritt Reservoir near Valentine. Also Mark Dahmke will talk about how he finds and plans astrophotography targets of opportunity such as his photo of the Nebraska State Capitol Building and the Moon. The meeting will begin at 7:30pm on Tuesday August 30 and program will start at about 8:00pm.

Meetings are 7:30pm on the last Tuesday of the month at Hyde Observatory and are open to the public.

The Calibration effort for “Alice” aboard NASA’s New Horizons Mission – Nathaniel Cunningham, Nebraska Wesleyan University

New Horizons flew by Pluto in July of 2015, carrying out a first (and last for a long time!) close-up exploration of this distant, richly-varied world. I’ll introduce the New Horizons mission, and Alice, an ultraviolet-sensing instrument aboard New Horizons. I will discuss my work with the Alice instrument team, characterizing and calibrating the instrument, and will show Alice’s results and discoveries about Pluto’s atmosphere. Along the way, I’ll highlight unexpected challenges that arose for Alice during flight, and the in-flight problem solving we carried out to understand and deal with those challenges.

The meeting will start at 7:30pm on Tuesday May 31st and the program will start around 8pm. Meetings are at Hyde Observatory and are open to the public.

The Martian portrayed a positive future for the US Space Program. NASA, with help from China, was able to rescue Mark Watney after being marooned on Mars. To do this, we saw them use great technology that exists today. But what are the legal implications of interplanetary travel? Attorney Mark Ells, a recent graduate of UNL’s Space Law Program, will explore that topic at the March PAC meeting.

The meeting will start at 7:30pm on Tuesday March 29th and the program will start around 8pm. Meetings are at Hyde Observatory and are open to the public.

At the February meeting, Jim Kvasnicka will present an overview of the Astronomical League’s observing programs. It will benefit any new members who are thinking of starting an observing program. It will cover how to get started, which program to start with. He will also review the observing awards earned by PAC members.

The meeting will start at 7:30pm on Tuesday February 23rd and the program will start around 8pm. Meetings are at Hyde Observatory and are open to the public.

Every holiday season people ponder buying telescopes as gifts, for their children, for their family or for friends. The few designs found in most department stores offer little information and clerks are rarely knowledgeable. Buying on the internet or home shopping channels without any help doesn’t inspire confidence. What if you had a chance to have help in making that purchase?

The Prairie Astronomy Club offers this assistance this month at its regular meeting at 7:30pm at Hyde Observatory on Tuesday, November 24th with a session on “how to buy a telescope.” Experienced amateurs will provide examples of both the good and bad purchases and lots of helpful hints.

Our guest speaker this month will be Michael Sibbernsen from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Michael will be presenting “The Sky is Falling,” and will share with us his wonderful collection of meteorites and impactites. During the program, you will learn about the three main types of meteorites, and even get a chance to hold one of these artifacts from the formation of our solar system. Michael will also give us updates on Branched Oak Observatory and the Eclipse-Nebraska Consortium.

The meeting will start at 7:30pm on August 25th and the program will start around 8pm. Meetings are at Hyde Observatory and are open to the public.

Dave Knisely will present a program on Deep Sky Observing: techniques used for deep-sky observing including proper equipment, site selection, dark adaptation, atlases and books, magnifications, etc.

PAC meetings are open to the public. The meeting will be held at Hyde Observatory, 7:30pm, April 28th.