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Monday, March 25, 6:15 pm.

At the Unity In the Gold Country Church
180 Cambridge Ct.
Grass Valley, CA



 This month's talk: Color, stucture, and contrast in Astronomical Imaging

Ken Crawford

This presentation will demonstrate how color, structure, and contrast is managed, processed, and enhanced in deep sky astrophotography to show the amazing structures and colors of the universe.  But is it real!?!?!   We will look at both “natural color” and “representative color” examples to see.

This talk will also cover research that was done searching for galactic tidal streams which are the remnants of galaxy mergers.  This galactic archaeology shows that real science can be done by amateurs with modest equipment, clear dark skies, and dedication.  Ken will demonstrate some of the methods used to reveal these very faint structures. 

Ken is one of the founders of the Advanced Imaging Conference and was the recipient of the Hubble Award in 2015. He was invited to participate in NASA’s "Astronomy Picture of the Day" committee. His star stream images have been used by professional astronomers. 

Ring Nebula                                                                                            Ken Crawford

All are welcome! Bring a friend!


President’s Rant

Hello Astronomers,

As I write this rant, February is winding down (finally!). I don’t know how 28 days can take so long to go by. Perhaps it’s the time dilation effect brought about by winter’s gravity (discuss among yourselves).

I have been enjoying several scientific items in the news recently.

First, our galaxy, the Milky Way apparently is warped or bent. Who will explain that to the insurance company?

Next, NASA has declared “mission complete” for Opportunity rover on Mars. It succumbed to a massive dust storm last year and was unable to re-start. Still, 15 years from a machine that was designed to last 90 days was a pretty good return on investment. RIP Oppy.

Then, Earth’s magnetic pole is moving northward toward Russia much faster than “normal” (whatever that is). Since we know more about the far side of the moon than about the inside of the earth, speculation abounds.

Speaking of the Earth and Moon, in examining old SOHO data, scientists have determined that our atmosphere reaches beyond the moon. You couldn’t breathe it, but it’s there at a density of a fraction of a molecule per cubic centimeter. Now, what do we make of that tidbit?

I make light of things, but seriously, my take on these and other items is that every day we learn new things. Every time we look at something with better tools, we find something new. Just because we have seen an object many times doesn’t mean that there isn’t more that can be learned. We, as a people, must keep searching and learning.

Happy hunting,


NB: Our March meeting will NOT be on March 6th. It will be on March 25th at 6:15 p.m. in conjunction with the Camera Club at Unity in the Gold Country. Please check Dave Buchla’s announcement for more information.


Outreach - David Buchla

Scotten School Science Night is March 14. We will set up after 4 pm and kids arrive at 5 pm. The event ends at 6:30. The moon is at first quarter, so we can use a few scopes to show the moon. We will have inside exhibits to set up and kids will be making star wheels so we can use a few members to help.  We have new star wheels printed so there will be enough for all that wish to make one. (Your dues money at work!)

We will be doing some outreach for children this summer at several branches of the Nevada Co. library; dates and times to be established. Stay tuned for more information. 

Remember we meet at Unity in the Gold Country Church at a different time and date this month in order to join the camera club's meeting. The church is located just off Whispering Pines Lane in Grass Valley. Map below: 


Astronomy on Tap

NC Astronomer members continue to enjoy the beer  and 'blather' at the Ol' Republic Brewery. The beer selection at the Brewery is quite comprehensive, they seem to enjoy naming beers after astronomical topics and the environment is designed for in depth conversations on deeply philisophical questions. 

Image result for astronomy on tap

Each month we choose several current topics in Astronomy and share our ignorance.

 Astronomy on Tap will meet on

The third Monday of the month at 5pm

(For March 2019 we will meet March 11th)

Come and join the conversation at

Ol' Republic Brewery below SPD in Nevada City!


Secretary/Treasurer - Paul Bacon


Our Mission is:

'Bringing' Astronomy to the Public'

a BIG Thank You

to all our members who join and make our programs possible!

I will be collecting membership contributions

($20/year for member or family)

at our Monthly Meetings,

If you can't make the meeting, send your check to:

          NC Astronomers, %Paul Bacon,                    
10572 Oak St., Grass Valley, CA 95945


This article is distributed by NASA Night Sky Network

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

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

Springtime Planet Party

David Prosper

March brings longer days for Northern Hemisphere observers, especially by the time of the equinox. Early risers are treated to the majority of the bright planets dancing in the morning skies, with the Moon passing between them at the beginning and end of the month.

The vernal equinox occurs on March 20, marking the official beginning of spring for the Northern Hemisphere. Our Sun shines equally on the Northern and Southern Hemispheres during the moment of equinox, which is why the March and September equinoxes are the only times of the year when the Earth’s north and south poles are simultaneously lit by sunlight. Exacting astronomers will note that the length of day and night on the equinox are not precisely equal; the date when they are closest to equal depends on your latitude, and may occur a few days earlier or later than the equinox itself. One complicating factor is that the Sun isn’t a point light source, but a disc. Its edge is refracted by our atmosphere as it rises and sets, which adds several minutes of light to every day. The Sun doesn’t neatly wink on and off at sunrise and sunset like a light bulb, and so there isn’t a perfect split of day and night on the equinox - but it’s very close!

Ruddy Mars still shines in the west after sunset. Mars scoots across the early evening skies from Aries towards Taurus and meets the sparkling Pleiades star cluster by month’s end.

March opens with the morning planets of Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus spread out over the southeastern horizon before sunrise. A crescent Moon comes very close to Saturn on the 1st and occults the ringed planet during the daytime. Lucky observers may be able to spot Mercury by the end of the month. March 31 opens with a beautiful set of planets and a crescent Moon strung diagonally across the early morning sky. Start with bright Jupiter, almost due south shortly before dawn. Then slide down and east towards Saturn, prominent but not nearly as bright as Jupiter. Continue east to the Moon, and then towards the beacon that is Venus, its gleam piercing through the early morning light. End with a challenge: can you find elusive Mercury above the eastern horizon? Binoculars may be needed to spot the closest planet to the Sun as it will be low and obscured by dawn’s encroaching glow. What a way to close out March!

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Click to Contact
President John Griffin
Vice President Rick Bernard
Secretary/Treasurer Paul Bacon
Outreach Coordinator David Buchla
At Large Greg Ouligian
At Large Dan St. John

NC Astronomers
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First Wednesday Of The Month
Madelyn Helling Library
Community Room
980 Helling Way
Nevada City 95959

10572 Oak St.
Grass Valley, CA 95945

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