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.

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

Two of our members are also NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors.

June and July meetings will be held at 9 pm due to the later sunset times



Saturday June 15 – Star Party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Dune Climb

911 pm – Mostly the Moon and stars, featuring bright stars, double stars and star colors. We might sneak in a bright nebula and/or star cluster.




Saturday June 29 – Solar Viewing at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Dune Climb

36 pm.

Friday, July 5 – Monthly meeting and star party at NMC Rogers Observatory. Also available via Zoom.

9 pm – General Meeting – Member Dan Dall’Olmo will present his techniques for processing his astrophotographs.

10 pm – Star party if clear.

Saturday July 13 – Star Party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Dune Climb

9 – 11 pm – Mostly the Moon and stars, featuring bright stars, double stars and star colors. We might sneak in a bright nebula and/or star cluster.

Saturday July 27 – Solar Viewing at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Dune Climb

3 – 6 pm.

August – No meeting. Annual picnic for members and guests during the month instead.

Zoom Meeting Instructions:

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8388913229

Meeting ID: 838 891 3229
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Check here often for other events that may pop up during the month.


T his article is distributed by NASA Night Sky Network

The Night Sky Network program supports astronomy clubs across the USA dedicated to astronomy outreach. Visit nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov to find local clubs, events, and more!


June’s Night Sky Notes: Constant Companions: Circumpolar Constellations, Part III

By Kat Troche

In our final installment of the stars around the North Star, we look ahead to the summer months, where depending on your latitude, the items in these circumpolar constellations are nice and high. Today, we’ll discuss Cepheus, Draco, and Ursa Major. These objects can all be spotted with a medium to large-sized telescope under dark skies.

  • Herschel’s Garnet Star: Mu Cephei is a deep-red hypergiant known as The Garnet Star, or Erakis. While the star is not part of the constellation pattern, it sits within the constellation boundary of Cepheus, and is more than 1,000 times the size of our Sun. Like its neighbor Delta Cephei, this star is variable, but is not a reliable Cepheid variable. Rather, its brightness can vary anywhere between 3.4 to 5.1 in visible magnitude, over the course of 2-12 years.

  • The Cat’s Eye Nebula: Labeled a planetary nebula, there are no planets to be found at the center of this object. Observations taken with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescopes give astronomers a better understanding of this complex, potential binary star, and how its core ejected enough mass to produce the rings of dust. When searching for this object, look towards the ‘belly’ of Draco with a medium-sized telescope.

  • Bode’s Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy: Using the arrow on the star map, look diagonal from the star Dubhe in Ursa Major. There you will find Bode’s Galaxy (Messier 81) and the Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82). Sometimes referred to as Bode’s Nebula, these two galaxies can be spotted with a small to medium-sized telescope. Bode’s Galaxy is a classic spiral shape, similar to our own Milky Way galaxy and our neighbor, Andromeda. The Cigar Galaxy, however, is known as a starburst galaxy type, known to have a high star formation rate and incredible shapes. This image composite from 2006 combines the power of three great observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope imaged hydrogen in orange, and visible light in yellow green; Chandra X-Ray Observatory portrayed X-ray in blue; Spitzer Space Telescope captured infrared light in red.

Up next, we celebrate the solstice with our upcoming mid-month article on the Night Sky Network page through NASA's website!

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 (STEM) content!

  • It’s informal.

  • 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 NASA Night Sky Network 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 Ephemeris programs on Interlochen Public Radio. Wednesday’s program looks at where the bright planets are along with finder charts.

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 a great 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 two solar telescopes to view the Sun's prominences and chromosphere.

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..

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: 06/12/24 05:03:13 PM