Amateur Astronomy in Nevada County

This post was written by jd on November 10, 2009
Posted Under: Community Events,Local Writers & Contributors


An important point of astronomical activity in the county is the science museum, with education and sky shows.  Regarding education, this is the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009, and the Imaginarium Science Museum is celebrating the event this fall with astronomy exhibits and activities for local school children during the week throughout the fall into December.  For November, two public events are:

Nov. 13th Imaginarium Open to the Public

Time: Noon to 5 pm

Astronomy exhibits and activities supplement other science exhibits
COST: $4 Student $6 Adults
Nov. 20th, Astronomy Event – Movie Night:  The Universe in Powers of Ten

5:00 – 6:00 Museum Open
6:30 – 7:00 Films:  Powers of 10 and Zoom, 12 and 8 minutes, respectively
7:00 – 7:30 Film:  Cosmic Voyage, 35 minutes
7:30 – 8:00 Discussion and talk featuring Wayne Watson,
                   the Astro Guy on the Size and Shape of the Universe
COST:  $4Student $6 Adult

The three spectacular movies (Zoom, Powers of 10, Cosmic Voyage) present a common theme of exploring the universe that is visually developed further with each successive film under newer technology. They will be followed by a 20-30 minute discussion and talk on the size and shape of the Universe. You’ll learn about some the very unusual, fun, mind warping features of the universe that weren’t featured in the films.  The first two movies are appropriate for children 6 and older, child care will be provided from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. For more information check the museum’s information line at 478-6415.  For sky show schedules see local media, radio, newspapers, as below for other sky shows.

The museum’s monthly sky shows from April to November have supported the IYA with views of the sky, and short talks on various subjects from April to November. The next sky show is at Tobaissen Park 300’ up the hill from the Madelyn Helling County Library parking lot on Friday, November 13, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Another important group is the Nevada County Astronomers club, NCA, which meets at the Madelyn Helling Library County Library Community Room  near Nevada City  the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., except during the summer months.  They feature discussions and talks by astronomy enthusiasts.  Their web link is Nevada County Astronomers

Additionally, popular and informative sky shows are provided by Alan Stahler of KVMR-FM who hosts sky watches throughout the year near Grass Valley and Nevada City, and famed comet hunter, Donald Macholz, who hosts sky shows throughout the year in Auburn.  Auburn is just out of our county, but close to much of our population.  For schedules on Alan’s shows see KVMR-FM, KNCO-AM announcements, and The Union’s Thursday Prospector. For Don’s shows see similar radio and newspaper outlets in the Auburn area.

If you want to enjoy our good skies for astronomical viewing, then latch onto the activities above. You’ll find plenty of knowledgeable amateur astronomers and resources at the museum to help you.

Source: Wayne Watson, Imaginarium Science Museum Sky Show Host

Wayne Watson’s Website

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