Welcome To The Kopernik Astronomical Society

  • KAS members wrapping up at the Cherry Springs Star Party in 2017.

The Universe’s Splendor Is Within Your Reach

The KAS is always interested in getting new members of all levels of background and interest in Astronomy! We believe in letting members pursue their interest in Astronomy at whatever level they would like. We have members who are Beginners, Celestial Gazers, Astro Photographers,
Theory People or Experienced Observational Astronomers.
There’s So Much to See In the Dark!

 

2020 Kopernik Winter Star Party – Feb 22, 2020

WSP 2020Messier Object Chart
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A star party is a gathering of amateur astronomers for the purpose of observing the sky. Kopernik’s annual Winter Star Party tradition continues this year and you are invited! Family-friendly activities and observing will begin at 6 pm when the doors open. At 7 pm, celebrate Kopernik’s 546th birthday (February 19, 1473) with cake and following the celebration, we will have a speaker present on an exciting astronomical topic. Once we confirm the speaker’s presentation, more information on the Winter Star Party will be made available on our Website. If clear, throughout the evening you can see winter constellations, the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, much more through Kopernik’s powerful telescopes.

 

2020 KAS Messier Marathon

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Planning is underway for the 2020 KAS Messier Marathon.  This is a great opportunity to view all the objects catalogued by Charles Messier that took him 24 years to observe.  Messier catalogued objects that he originally thought were comets, but could not confirm them as such.  Basically these objects appeared to him as “faint fuzzies” but unlike comets, they never moved. His list of 110 objects were almost considered a hinderance by him.

Messier Object Chart

Messier Object Chart (click to view larger – credit tripod.com)

Today, this list of objects are the most accessible and easiest to view objects in and around our galaxy.  About 10 of them can be spotted with the naked eye, and the rest are all findable with even a fairly modest telescope.  Every year during the new moon dark window in March, all but a few of these great objects are observable in just one night.  This year, 2020 there will be two windows to attempt “mostly” Messier marathons. In March the best chance will be the period surrounding March 23-25, and A second window will be March 27/28, 2020.  Despite the likelihood on an incomplete Marathon, seeing so many Messiers in one night would be a lofty accomplishment, and these can be done anytime during the 3/20 – 3/29 window for 2020!

There are objects that will be impossible to see or extremely hard (usually 3-4 of them – see the SEDS article below). There are also darkish windows around those two dates where partial marathons will also be possible.

The objective here would be that the KAS gather on the first clear night during that window at Kopernik Observatory & Science Center.  So far there is interest with a a few KAS members.  This will be a Kopernik Astronomical Society ONLY event.

Here is a list of references for preparing, planning and executing a Messier Marathon:

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