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

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

October 21, Saturday

Star Party at 47th anniversary of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: 8 – 10 p.m. Dune Climb (This is a change in location)

October 28, Saturday

International Observe the Moon Night: 7 p.m. - ? 200 block of Front Street in front of Orvis Streamside. Only if it’s clear.

November 3, Friday

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

Program: Don Flegel: The Sun

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

December, Friday

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

Program: Bob Moler: Prescientific Cosmologies

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


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!

Spooky in Space: NASA Images for Halloween

By Linda Hermans-Killiam

Have you ever seen a cloud that looks sort of like a rabbit? Or maybe a rock formation that looks a bit like an elephant? Although you know that a cloud isn’t really a giant rabbit in the sky, it’s still fun to look for patterns in images from nature. Can you spot some familiar spooky sites in the space images below?

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

This might look like the grinning face of a jack-o’-lantern, but it’s actually a picture of our Sun! In this image, taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, the glowing eyes, nose and mouth are some of the Sun’s active regions. These regions give off lots of light and energy. This causes them to appear brighter against the rest of the Sun. Active regions are constantly changing locations on the Sun. On the day this image was captured, they just happened to look like a face!

Credit: NASA/ESA/A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

This is a Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter. Do you notice something that looks like a big eye peeking back at you? That’s actually the shadow of Jupiter's moon Ganymede as it passed in front of the planet’s Great Red Spot. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a gigantic, oval shaped storm that is larger than Earth and is shrinking. It has been on Jupiter for several hundred years, and its winds can swirl up to 400 miles per hour!

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Can you see the profile of a witch in this image? This image, from NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, shows the Witch Head nebula. The nebula is made up of clouds of dust heated by starlight. These dust clouds are where new stars are born. Here, the dust clouds happen to be in the shape of an open mouth, long nose and pointy chin.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Wisc.

The Black Widow Nebula looks like a giant spider in space. It is a huge cloud of gas and dust containing massive young stars. Radiation and winds from these stars push the dust and gas around, creating a spider-like shape. This image is from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS

Did a skeleton lose one of its leg bones on Mars? Nope! It’s just an image of a Martian rock. NASA's Curiosity rover captured this image. The rock was probably shaped to look this way over time by wind or water. If life ever existed on Mars, scientists expect that it would be small organisms called microbes. So, it isn’t likely that we’ll ever find a large fossil on Mars!

To learn some fun planet facts and make a planet mask, check out NASA Space Place: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/planet-masks


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, and are looking to obtain a second solar telescope.

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 third telescope has been 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: 10/12/17 07:05:25 PM