Longmont Astronomical Society

More images can be found on our Astrophotos page and in our newsletter archives.

Upcoming Events

For Teachers

Visit our Educational and Community Outreach page for Science Project ideas, websites specifically for students, and more.

Tonight's Sky

The Space Telescope Science Institute gives a quick look at the constellations you can see each month.

What's Up

This video from NASA shows you skywatching highlights for each month.

Astro Calendar 

A day-by-day schedule of what will be visible in the night sky, along with links to detailed explanations.

Observing the Night Sky

This section of our Astronomy Resources page offers information to help you plan for a night of stargazing.

Monthly Meeting

 Moons and Small Bodies in the Solar System

Dr. Amanda Hendrix, Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute

There are many moons and many types of small bodies in our solar system. Main belt asteroids, near-Earth asteroids, Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects… the list goes on.  Each of these worlds is unique - and many have been, or will be, visited by spacecraft missions. I will share some of the unique characteristics of these bodies, particularly as has been learned from recent missions. I will discuss results from the Lunar Reconnaissance Mission, Cassini, Galileo and Dawn missions (among others), and will discuss plans for the upcoming Psyche, DART, Lucy, MMX and Dragonfly missions.

Thursday, October 21 at 7:00   Via Zoom only

ahendrix's pictureDr. Amanda Hendrix engages in UV spectroscopy of planetary surfaces including icy satellites, asteroids, Earth’s moon, Mars and Jupiter’s moon Io. She studies surface composition, weathering processes and radiation products.

Dr. Hendrix has 20+ years of experience in planetary science research. Hendrix received a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder. As a graduate student and post-doctoral research at LASP/Univ. Colorado, Hendrix gained valuable experience in UV spectroscopy and instrumentation and began a career of investigating solar system surfaces (largely airless bodies) in the UV. After LASP, she spent 12 years at JPL, progressing from a science planner on Cassini to Deputy Project Scientist, before moving to PSI in 2012. She is a co-investigator on the Cassini UVIS instrument as well as on the LRO LAMP instrument.  She has led observing and research teams and published results in numerous NASA R&A and HST programs. Hendrix is the Director/PI of the NASA Toolbox for Exploration (TREX) team. She co-authored Beyond Earth: Our Path to a new Home in the Planets, published by Penguin/Random house in Nov 2016. Minor Planet 6813 Amandahendrix was named in her honor. Besides research, she enjoys teaching and sharing her love of planetary science with students and the public.

Rabbit Mountain Star Party Report

LAS member Sarah Getty put together a collage of images from the night - Jupiter and its 4 Galilean moons, Saturn, and Venus from afar.

Last Friday’s Star Party at Rabbit Mountain was a success! The evening began as usual, with a presentation by Boulder County Open Space. This time the presenters divulged an array of interesting facts about the two biggest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn.

5 or 6 LAS members brought their telescopes to show the night sky to around 40 guests, all of whom were very excited and appreciative. After views of the moon, Jupiter and Saturn were seen,  guests were treated to more deep sky objects. LAS member Bill Tschumy, for example, sighted in on M11 (Wild Duck Cluster), M13 (Great Hercules Cluster), M57 (Ring Nebula), Albireo (Double Star), and M31 (Andromeda Galaxy).  He used SkySafari and the Our Galaxy app to supplement what they were seeing in the scopes.

NASA is looking for volunteers to live in a 3D-printed Mars Habitat (on Earth)

To prepare for living on Mars, the plan is to ship components that can be assembled into a 3D printer on Mars. The printer will convert local materials into a concrete-like substace which will be use to build the habitat. First, they want some people (four, aged 30 to 55, Masters in a STEM field, and 2 years of work experience) to try living in it here on the home planet for a year. You don't even have to be an astronaut. Read the article at Core77.

CU Boulder Researchers Take Pictures of the Sun's Middle Corona

According to a report by KUNC, the middle part of the Sun's atmosphere has been associated with the ejection of plasma and magnetic fields. These Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) can destabilize power grids and wreak havoc on GPS systems. The images of this part of the Sun will help scientists understand the formation of CMEs. This in turn will help improve space weather forecasting.

(For a related article, scroll down to read 'The European Space Agency is holding a contest to name its new mission'.)

Donations Page Now Available

In keeping with our mission to support amateur astronomy in our community, the LAS's website now features a Donations page, under the Outreach menu item. People who have telescopes and related equipment to donate can use this page to announce it. People looking for equipment can also post notices describing what they are looking for.

Citizen Science opportunity for Amateur Astronomers and Astronomy Students

NASA is looking for people to participate in Exoplanet Watch, a new exoplanet citizen science project funded by NASA’s Universe of Learning and led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Exoplanet Watch relies on amateur astronomers and university astronomy students using ground-based telescopes to make observations of transiting exoplanets. This will help keep mid-transit times fresh. With more accurate timing, large observatories and space-based telescopes can make efficient use of valuable telescope time.

More information can be found on the Exoplanet Watch website. 

If you are interested in participating in Exoplanet Watch, please email 


Curecanti: Colorado's Latest Dark Sky Site

With help from the Park Service and several local partners, the Curecanti National Recreation Area has become the first national recreation area to earn Dark Sky Park designation from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Curecanti is officially a Dark-Sky Park; the IDA also designates Communities, Reserves, Sanctuaries and Places.  

You can see the IDA's official announcement here. Our Light Pollution and Dark Skies page contains information on the IDA, Dark-Sky news for Colorado and related websites.

Jackson Lake State ParkColorado.com is recommending 15 places in Colorado for stargazing

The online newsletter promoting our state describes destinations with relatively dark skies. They are as close as Fort Collins and Fort Morgan, and as far as Dinosaur Monument and Silverton. Road trip anyone? Photo: the Milky Way seen from Jackson Lake State Park. Courtesy of Colorado.com

The European Space Agency is holding a contest to name its new mission

The ESA announced that it's seeking the public's help with choosing a name for its space weather mission. The goal will be to constantly survey our sun, so it can identify potentially hazardous storms before they reach Earth. They are accepting submissions until October 17.

Fiske Planetarium at CU is now open with new shows

Offerings include 'Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity', 'Habitat Earth', 'Capcom GO! The Apollo Story', and more. There are also shows for younger audiences, such as 'Secrets of Gravity' and 'Kaluokahina The Enchanted Reef'.

Peppa Pig

Peppa finds herself getting into all kinds of learning adventures. Join her on this one where she learns about stars.

Become a Member!

Membership in the LAS is open to all people of any age. We offer Student and Individual Memberships.

Would you like to donate to the LAS?

You can donate to the general fund or our telescope fund. Thank you!

Copyright (c) Longmont Astronomical Society 2020. All rights reserved.
The Longmont Astronomical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O.Box 806, Longmont, CO 80502-0806, USA

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