Winter Solstice is Upon Us

By Sue Rose

The Winter Solstice is upon us, and the Sun will once again begin to rise higher in the sky each day, after December 21st, giving us more hours of sunlight, but fewer hours of observing time so make use of it. We cannot use our special permitted area due to the light show at Jones Beach which lasts until January 2nd. In January, we hope to have our new permit issued to us. As those dates are limited, you might consider getting a NYS StarGazers permit which allows access to other areas and is not limited by date or time. The method of purchase, and cost, have not yet been determined. Closer to the new year, you can go to the permit web page for details.

Our next general meeting, January 9th, will again be digital as a new virus variant has made an appearance and we don’t know the full ramifications as of yet. Hofstra University continues to be closed to clubs and organizations using their facility. The Cradle of Aviation has offered us space and we will wait until the virus situation settles down.

Thanks very much to our November speaker, Joe Rao, who traveled to Antarctica by ship (unfortunately unsuccessfully) to view the December 4th eclipse. I haven’t yet heard from our other intrepid explorers who attempted a view from an aircraft, although I have seen photos from other airborne groups already. If you were not within the shadow of the Moon, you can see eclipse photos at It’s time to start planning for the upcoming, and more convenient, solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024. Don’t miss them.

The Moon’s shadow projected onto Antarctica during December 4th Total Solar Eclipse

Also thanks to November speaker, Prezemek Mroz from Cal Tech, who discussed the search for rogue planets. At our December 5th meeting, Dr. Mike Pavelec, Chair of the Department of Airpower at the USAF Air Command and Staff College, provided us with a history of rocketry: the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s hope that the future uses are all for the betterment of mankind and the Earth.

On December 19th, Don Machholz, more closely associated with Messier object pursuits, will discuss the “History of Visual Comet Hunting”, the search for which prompted Charles Messier to assemble his list of nuisances. On January 9th, Chuck Allen, VP of the Astronomical League, will again visit and fill us in on what’s happening in 2022. If you haven’t planned a summer journey yet, the first in-person ALCON (fingers crossed) in 3 years will take place in Albuquerque. See Hoping to see you there.

Some of our lectures have been recorded for our members. Contact Jason Cousins for information on watching them. We greatly appreciate all those who have graciously given us their time on a Sunday afternoon and for those who we will visit with in the upcoming months.

Hoping to see everyone at our online meetings, Sunday, December 19th and January 9th, 1:30pm. On behalf of the Amateur Observers’ Society of New York, we would like to wish everyone a safe and healthy Holiday Season.

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