SLAS Regular Meeting
Friday, November 19, 2010
TWO meetings for the price of one!
The Exploration of the Moon
Dr. Pamela Gay
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
How to Buy a Telescope
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Exploration of the Moon: Humans have always been fascinated by the Moon. Ancient civilizations noted its changing shape and tracked its position in the sky with great accuracy. Four hundred years ago, Galileo used the recently invented telescope to discover previously unknown surface features. Since then astronomers and planetary scientists have studied the Moon closely, using ground-based telescopes, orbiting spacecraft, and lunar landers. Twelve NASA astronauts have walked the surface of the Moon – the only world other than Earth to bear human footprints. Dr. Gay will talk about the exploration of the Moon – what was done in the past, what research is being conducted now, and what might happen in the future when humans return to the Moon. She will also explain how members of the public can conduct their own lunar research on home computers, using free software and images provided by the Moon Zoo web site.
Dr. Gay is an astronomer, writer, and podcaster focused on using new media to engage people in science and technology. Her best-known project may be Astronomy Cast, a podcast co-hosed with Fraser Cain, Producer of Universe Today. She is currently a Lecturer at SIU-Edwardsville
How To Buy A Telescope will be an introduction intended primarily for first-time telescope purchasers and will be held concurrently in the upstairs classroom in McDonnell Hall.
Astronomy is a science that is not limited to professional scientists. Many interesting objects are visible to the unaided eye. Many more can be seen with ordinary binoculars, but even a small telescope greatly expands the possibilities for viewing the Moon, planets, star clusters, and other celestial sights. Today there is a bewildering variety of sizes, types, and prices for telescopes, including computer-guided instruments. Not all of these telescopes are well made; not all perform as advertised. Few sales staff, at department stores or even specialty stores, know enough about telescopes and astronomy to provide the information necessary to select the best telescope for the buyer’s interest and budget. In this introduction, Mr. Heuermann will explain what to look for - and what to avoid - when buying a telescope, especially a first-time instrument.
Rich Heuermann is the Outreach Program Coordinator of the NASA Missouri Space Grant Consortium at Washington University. A Webster Groves resident, he is also an amateur astronomer and long-time member of the Saint Louis Astronomical Society.