Check out the link above for our 2017 Outreach Schedule. Always a work in progress, check often.

Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017 Information

About Us

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to to education and enjoyment of the night sky. Established in 1982, the GTAS has about 30 members from the Traverse City and the Grand Traverse area of northern Michigan.  Meetings are held on the first Friday of every month beginning at 8 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College's Joseph H. Rogers Observatory, though the August meeting is preempted by the annual picnic at another location.

Guests are always welcome to our meetings.

Over 750 attended the society sponsored Comet Hyakutake Watches March 23, and 24th, 1996. The farthest traveler came from Detroit to enjoy the dark skies and the spectacular comet through many telescopes. Comet Hale-Bopp attracted approximately 1,400 during the three scheduled viewing nights that were clear.

We've hit the road, so to speak, with outreach beyond the NMC Observatory since 2007. Since 2011 we've held monthly star parties at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from April to October with additional eclipse and meteor shower watches. We bring our telescopes and exhibits to several festivals around the area along with Friday Night Live in Traverse City. Since 2010 the society has been hosting monthly star parties at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and beginning in 2016 at the Arcadia Dunes.

The GTAS belongs to the International Dark-Sky Association and participates in Project Astro.

We also participate in the annual International Observe the Moon Night.

Upcoming Meetings and Outreach Events

Note that outdoor events are weather permitting

August 18, Friday

Friday Night Live: 5 p.m. to ? - 200 Block of Front St, Traverse City.

August 21, Monday

Partial Solar Eclipse: 12:50 – 3:40 p.m. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Dechow Farm on M-22 about 4 miles north of Glen Arbor. There will be safe ways to view the partial solar eclipse.

This is a location change as of August 8th.

August 25, Friday

Friday Night Live: 5 p.m. to ? - 200 Block of Front St, Traverse City.

August 26, Saturday

Star Party: 9 p.m. - NMC Rogers Observatory.
If it's clear: Moon early, Saturn, dark skies late.

September 1, Friday

GTAS Monthly Meeting: 8 p.m. - NMC Rogers Observatory.

Program: Reports from members on their adventures with last month’s total solar eclipse.

Star Party: 9 p.m. - NMC Rogers Observatory.
If it's clear: The Moon, Jupiter and Saturn.

September 16, Saturday

Leland Heritage Festival – 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Fishtown, Leland MI.

Star Party: 9 p.m. - NMC Rogers Observatory.
If it's clear: Saturn, dark skies – summer Milky Way.

September 23, Saturday

Star Party at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Dune Climb 9 – 11 p.m. Saturn and summer Milky Way.

September 28, Thursday

Star Party at Traverse Area District Library, Central Library at Woodmere 7 – 9 p.m. Saturn and the Moon.

September 30, Saturday

Acme Fall Festival 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. – Flintfields Horse Park 6535 Bates Rd, Acme. Featured: Views of the Sun, exhibits.


This article is provided by NASA Space Place.

With articles, activities, crafts, games, and lesson plans, NASA Space Place encourages everyone to get excited about science and technology. Visit spaceplace.nasa.gov to explore space and Earth science!

The 2017 Solar Eclipse Across America

By Teagan Wall

On August 21st, the sky will darken, the temperature will drop and all fifty United States will be able to see the Moon pass—at least partially—in front of the Sun. It’s a solar eclipse!
A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting its shadow on Earth. Sometimes the Moon only covers up part of the Sun. That is called a partial solar eclipse. When the Moon covers up the Sun completely, it’s called a total solar eclipse. As our planet rotates, the Moon’s shadow moves across Earth’s surface. The path of the inner part of this shadow, where the Moon totally covers the Sun, is called the path of totality.
The path of totality on August 21 stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. If you happen to be in that path, you will be able to experience a total solar eclipse! If you’re in any of the 50 United States during this time, you can see a partial solar eclipse.
No matter where you’ll be for the eclipse, remember that SAFETY is very important. Never look at the Sun when any part of it is exposed, like during a partial eclipse! It can hurt your eyes very badly. If you want to view the eclipse, you can buy special eclipse glasses. Go the NASA 2017 Eclipse Safety website to learn more about what glasses to buy.

If you are in the path of the total eclipse, you may look directly at the eclipse only when the Moon has completely covered the Sun. This is called totality, and it lasts a very short time. You must be sure to put your eclipse glasses back on before the Sun peeks out from behind the Moon.
You won’t be the only one watching this event! NASA scientists will use this eclipse to study our Sun. During a total solar eclipse, we can see the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. Usually the Sun is so bright that we can’t see the corona. However, when the Moon blocks out most of the Sun’s light, we can get a glimpse of the corona.

The surface of the Sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but the corona is much hotter. It’s about 2 million degrees Fahrenheit! The eclipse gives NASA researchers the chance to learn more about why the corona is so hot. In fact, while the eclipse will only last about two to three minutes in one place, scientists have found a way to have more time to study it.
NASA will use two research jets to chase the eclipse as it crosses the country. The jets will fly very high, and spend seven minutes in the shadow of the Moon. Researchers are using jets to help look for small explosions on the Sun, called nanoflares. These nanoflares may help to explain the corona’s extreme heat.

Whether you’re watching with eclipse glasses from the ground, or in a NASA jet from the sky, the 2017 eclipse should be quite a show! It’s a fun reminder of our place in the solar system, and how much we still have to learn.

To learn about what eclipse glasses to buy and other eclipse safety guidelines, visit: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

To learn more about solar eclipses, check out this NASA Space Place video: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/eclipse-snap

Caption: A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. Image credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


NASA Space Place poster


Download the poster by clicking the image above.


To see the video that goes along with this poster, visit: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/sun-heat.




Links

For Kids: NASA’s Space Place website

The Space Place is a NASA website for elementary school-aged kids, their teachers, and their parents.

It’s colorful!
It’s dynamic!
It’s fun!

It’s rich with science, technology, engineering, and math content!

It’s informal. It’s meaty. It’s easy to read and understand. It’s also in Spanish. And it’s free!

It has over 150 separate modules for kids, including hands-on projects, interactive games, animated cartoons, and amazing facts about space and Earth science and technology.


See this month's Space Place article at the bottom of the center panel on this page.


Also check out these two sites for kids: NASA's Climate Kids and NOAA's SciJinks


Bob Moler's Ephemeris contains audio mp3s of current Ephemeris programs; calendars of sunrise, sunset,moonrise and moonset for the Grand Traverse area of Michigan, and other locations in northern Michigan; plus a monthly star chart.


Also  Bob's Ephemeris Blog with daily transcripts of and illustrations for his daily Ephemeris programs on Interlochen Public Radio.


Northwestern Michigan College's Joseph H. Rogers Observatory


If you'd like to donate

From Article II, B of the Articles of Incorporation of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society:

The Society shall operate a scientific and educational organization with the goal of increasing interest in, the knowledge and enjoyment of astronomy; cooperate with similar organizations; and cooperate with Northwestern Michigan College to increase the benefit of the college observatory to the community.

As you can see by the statement above the society is inexorably linked to the Joseph H. Rogers observatory.  However in the past number of years members have been also taking telescopes out into the community, on sidewalks and street corners, and in the street on Friday Night Live, and to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We find that many folks in the area have never been out to the observatory. This way we are going to to the public. And having a huge telescope is really be a huge attraction, not to mention the superb views of the heavens it will provide.

We have purchased a 25 inch Dobsonian telescope with trailer to use and to take around for our outreach program. We have also purchased a solar telescope to view the sun's prominences.

We have recently purchased small telescopes to give to libraries for them to lend out. The first two recipients are Traverse Area District Library and Betsie Valley District Library. Enerdyne of Suttons Bay donated the second telescope. A tird telescope will be given to the Kingsley District Library.

You may contribute to the fund to help us upgrade and add accessories to the society's telescopes by mailing a check to the GTAS, C/O the society treasurer Gary Carlisle, 1473 Birmley Rd, Traverse City, MI  49686. We are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Thank You!

Updated: 08/14/17 11:27:58 PM