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No general meeting this month.

President’s Rant

Hello astronomers,

I have apparently made the transition to summer schedule seamlessly. June snuck right up on me and I am late with this.

We won’t be having meetings until September, as usual. However, the members’ potluck will be held at the end of July at Lorraine and Dave Buchla’s house. We will be sending information as the date approaches.

Please keep in mind that we can use telescopes for Starry, Starry Nights on July 21st. Please let me know if you can help.

Speaking of telescopes, the former Imaginarium has donated a Coronado PST solar telescope to the club. It was one of the telescopes that the late Wayne Watson had used for programs when the Imaginarium was in operation. Thank you Nevada County Superintendent of Schools!

Lastly, don’t forget the members’ star party at Lake Valley on June 9th.

Have a good June.


Clear skies,

John Griffin

Outreach - David Buchla

As John noted in his column, we are changing things a little this summer. We have a several outreach events including Starry, Starry, Nights, one night at Sierra Valley Farm, and three nights at Plumas Eureka to see dark skies and enjoy the Persoid meteor shower and viewing Mars at it's best. We will be looking for astronomers with telescopes that can help out on all of these events. 

On July 28th (note corrected date), we will be having our summer picnic at my house, so hold the date. More info later. This year the club will provide the main course and soft drinks, so all you bring is an assigned dish of hors d'oeuvres, salad, or dessert. We'll deal with the details a little closer to the event. By the way, I moved - I gave up the observatory, but got other amenities in return and plan to continue to do most of my observing in darker skies from now on. Sierra Valley Farm and Plumas-Eureka are two examples of the best dark skies CA has to offer. 

Anyway, enjoy the best season of the year and watch your inbox for more info on the pot luck.

Astronomy on Tap

NC Astronomer members continue to enjoy the beer  and 'blather' at the Ol' Republic Brewery.  Their beer selection is quite comprehensive and they seem to enjoy naming beers after astronomical topics. 


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

We will meet on

The THIRD wednesday of each 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 2018 membership contributions

($20/year for member or family)

at our meeting on May 2nd,

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 provided by NASA Space Place.
Visit to explore space and Earth science!                                                 

What’s It Like Inside Mars?

By Jessica Stoller-Conrad

Mars is Earth’s neighbor in the solar system. NASA’s robotic explorers have visited our neighbor quite a few times. By orbiting, landing and roving on the Red Planet, we’ve learned so much about Martian canyons, volcanoes, rocks and soil. However, we still don’t know exactly what Mars is like on the inside. This information could give scientists some really important clues about how Mars and the rest of our solar system formed.

This spring, NASA is launching a new mission to study the inside of Mars. It’s called Mars InSight. InSight—short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport—is a lander. When InSight lands on Mars later this year, it won’t drive around on the surface of Mars like a rover does. Instead, InSight will land, place instruments on the ground nearby and begin collecting information.

Just like a doctor uses instruments to understand what’s going on inside your body, InSight will use three science instruments to figure out what’s going on inside Mars.

One of these instruments is called a seismometer. On Earth, scientists use seismometers to study the vibrations that happen during earthquakes. InSight’s seismometer will measure the vibrations of earthquakes on Mars—known as marsquakes. We know that on Earth, different materials vibrate in different ways. By studying the vibrations from marsquakes, scientists hope to figure out what materials are found inside Mars.

InSight will also carry a heat probe that will take the temperature on Mars. The heat probe will dig almost 16 feet below Mars’ surface. After it burrows into the ground, the heat probe will measure the heat coming from the interior of Mars. These measurements can also help us understand where Mars’ heat comes from in the first place. This information will help scientists figure out how Mars formed and if it’s made from the same stuff as Earth and the Moon.

Scientists know that the very center of Mars, called the core, is made of iron. But what else is in there? InSight has an instrument called the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment, or RISE, that will hopefully help us to find out.

Although the InSight lander stays in one spot on Mars, Mars wobbles around as it orbits the Sun. RISE will keep track of InSight’s location so that scientists will have a way to measure these wobbles. This information will help determine what materials are in Mars’ core and whether the core is liquid or solid.

InSight will collect tons of information about what Mars is like under the surface. One day, these new details from InSight will help us understand more about how planets like Mars—and our home, Earth—came to be.

For more information about earthquakes and marsquakes, visit:

An artist's illustration showing a possible inner structure of Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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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