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Wednesday, September 4th 

Madelyn Helling Library

Community Room

7:00 pm


This month's talk:

Astro-imaging, A Journey of a Thousand Steps

Greg Dolkas

Greg will talk about his journey into Deep Sky Astrophotography with samples along the way.  Greg will also describe how he ended up with the rather "Frankenstein-looking telescope" (Greg's words!) that you have seen at the club's Star Parties.  


All are welcome! Bring a friend!


President’s Rant

Happy September, Gang,

Summer zipped right by. I’m experiencing the effect that every person older than me has warned me of. Einstein described time dilation. As a body approaches the speed of light, time passes more slowly. Well, I find that as I slow down, time goes faster. A year, now, is only a few months long. I need to get out and do the things that I have been putting off.

I don’t want to steal Dave’s thunder, but we did some good outreach this summer. In July, we entertained many folks for the Hospital Foundation at Empire Mine State Park during Starry, Starry Nights. We were at a new location in the park this year, and the consensus was that it was a great improvement.

Then, in August, we were back at Plumas-Eureka State Park for a 3-day weekend of really great dark skies. I felt that it was dark enough that the Milky Way was casting a shadow! The sky was dark enough that I had difficulty picking out constellations. On the public evening, we hosted a large crowd of people from the town and the park. NC Astronomers for the win!

On Wednesday, September 4th, we’ll begin our schedule of meetings at 7:00 PM in the community room of Madelyn Helling Library. Our member Greg Dolkas will entertain us with an account of his journey to learning astrophotography. They say, (whoever they are,) that hard-learned lessons are the best. We’ll see if Greg agrees.

I’ll see you at the meeting.

Get up, get outside, and look up while the weather holds.

Happy stargazing,


Outreach - David Buchla

I hope all had a restful summer and are ready for fall. Our main event this summer was the Plumas Eureka Star Party on August 1, 2, and 3. We had three beautiful nights in a row. I took two scopes including my A-P 152 mm on a new Losmandy mount. We had wonderful views of Saturn and Jupiter in the A-P! Our public night was August 3rd and all astronomers were very busy with a large crowd of interested people. I am not good at estimating crowd size but sufficient to say there were lines at all the scopes and lots of happy campers. I am always happy to see excited kids get a look through the scopes. I don't have photo of the night (too busy!) but in case you are wondering about our dark skies, here is one I took in a previous year. 

In addition to the Plumas Eureka star party, we hosted three community outreach events at Nevada County Library, where we helped children construct our star wheels. The younger ones really need help with scissors. We had about 10-12 children at the first event at Madelyn Helling library and 20 or so kids at the third one at Grass Valley library. Bear River only had 2 kids show up, so we won't plan on doing that one again! Thanks to all volunteers that showed up and helped.

As John mentioned, we also did our annual Starry, Starry, Nights at Empire Mine and viewed from the Mine Yard. We showed the sky to lots of enthusiastic guests!

Photo from Plumas Eureka. (Dave)

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


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!

Spot the Stars of the Summer Triangle

David Prosper

September skies are a showcase for the Summer Triangle, its three stars gleaming directly overhead after sunset. The equinox ushers in the official change of seasons on September 23. Jupiter and Saturn maintain their vigil over the southern horizon, but set earlier each evening, while the terrestrial planets remain hidden.

The bright three points of the Summer Triangle are among the first stars you can see after sunset: Deneb, Vega, and Altair.  The Summer Triangle is called an asterism, as it’s not an official constellation, but still a striking group of stars. However, the Triangle is the key to spotting multiple constellations! Its three stars are themselves the brightest in their respective constellations: Deneb, in Cygnus the Swan; Vega, in Lyra the Harp; and Altair, in Aquila the Eagle. That alone would be impressive, but the Summer Triangle also contains two small constellations inside its lines, Vulpecula the Fox and Sagitta the Arrow. There is even another small constellation just outside its borders: diminutive Delphinus the Dolphin. The Summer Triangle is huge!

The equinox occurs on September 23, officially ushering in autumn for folks in the Northern Hemisphere and bringing with it longer nights and shorter days, a change many stargazers appreciate. Right before sunrise on the 23rd, look for Deneb - the Summer Triangle’s last visible point - flickering right above the western horizon, almost as if saying goodbye to summer.

The Summer Triangle region is home to many important astronomical discoveries. Cygnus X-1, the first confirmed black hole, was initially detected here by x-ray equipment on board a sounding rocket launched in 1964. NASA’s Kepler Mission, which revolutionized our understanding of exoplanets, discovered thousands of planet candidates within its initial field of view in Cygnus. The Dumbbell Nebula (M27), the first planetary nebula discovered, was spotted by Charles Messier in the diminutive constellation Vulpecula way back in 1764!

Planet watchers can easily find Jupiter and Saturn shining in the south after sunset, with Jupiter to the right and brighter than Saturn. At the beginning of September, Jupiter sets shortly after midnight, with Saturn following a couple of hours later, around 2:00am. By month’s end the gas giant duo are setting noticeably earlier: Jupiter sets right before 10:30pm, with Saturn following just after midnight. Thankfully for planet watchers, earlier fall sunsets help these giant worlds remain in view for a bit longer. The terrestrial planets, Mars, Venus, and Mercury, remain hidden in the Sun’s glare for the entire month.

Discover the latest in space science from the NASA missions studying our universe at

Some of the highlight objects in the Summer Triangle. (Note - Not shown, but I like the Crescent Nebula, a supernova remnant on the central line of stars in Cynus near Cynus X-1. Dave)

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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