Happy 2012 NSAS -- The UND Observatory and Department of Space Studies invite you to participate in a growing number of activities that we have planned for 2012. Our goal is to continue the growth in astronomy education, research, and infrastructure within the state. Here is a sampling of current plans:
1. Monthly fundraising events at Space Aliens Grill & Bar, Grand Forks. The first event is January 17. These fundraising events will net the UND Observatory 20% of the day's gross sales for all patrons who bring in the UND Observatory fundraising letter. I can provide that to you, upon request. Just bring it to the restaurant and give it to your server when ordering. We will also have space-related items on display and develop this as a major outreach activity in Grand Forks.
2. We will conduct outreach events for Astronomy Day, the Venus transit, and the Perseid Meteor Shower, also. NSAS members are invited for all of these events.
3. The 1st Annual UND Observatory banquet will be held in April. I'm working to finalize the date this week. It will occur at the Hilton Garden Inn and will feature a keynote speaker, a variety of presentations, a silent auction, and a good meal. You are all invited in advance. Details for the event should be available in a week or two.
4. We will roll out a donation program in a few weeks where donors can buy engraved bricks that will be used to pave the driveway leading into the observatory, as well as provide additional paved surface area to the east of the trailer concrete pad.
5. We are continuing our efforts to secure grant funding for the observatory.
Last year saw Internet Observatory #1 and #3 become fully operational. Along with supporting student projects, we have begun long-term asteroid light curve studies to better constrain rotation rates and (in the long term) produce shape models. We will also begin some variable star photometry projects this year.
In addition, we will commission a solar H-alpha filter and begin long-term solar observations.
This year, we are beginning a collaboration with Grand Forks Central High School to teach the basics of observational astronomy to their advanced physics students. These students will receive 10-15 hours of instruction using some of the instructional material from Space Studies 425. These students will receive practical training in telescope operations and will conduct a small project to detect the motion of a main-belt asteroid.
So, as you can see, we have a lot planned. If you have questions about any of these activities, please contact me via this group, my email at hardersen@...
, or by calling my office at 777-4896.
Thanks for your support,