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Madelyn Helling Library

Community Room

7:00 pm


This month's meeting is cancelled







All are welcome! Bring a friend when next we meet!


President’s Rant

Happy almost summer friends,

Under normal circumstances, we would be preparing for our annual party to begin our summer hiatus. 2020 has been anything but normal. We have been on hiatus since March, and do not have a good sense of when we will be able to resume meetings and star parties.

As stated previously, if you paid your dues for 2020, you would not have to pay dues for 2021.

I have not yet heard from the hospital foundation regarding Starry Starry Nights, but I don’t believe that it would be wise to expose our telescope owners to a large group, and I do not know whether it would be possible to disinfect an eyepiece and telescope between viewers.

I also do not know if Plumas-Eureka State Park will be reopened by August, and my same reservations apply in that case also.

I will be in touch if the guidelines change, or conditions improve, or I receive new information about gatherings. At this point in the end of May, I hope that we can resume meeting in September.

So, enjoy the summer as much as possible. Stay safe and healthy and look at the stars once in a while.




Outreach - Hilary Steinmetz

No current requests due to the COVID-19 social distancing mandate. 



Astronomy on Tap is CANCELLED until further notice!

NC Astronomer members continue to enjoy the beer  and 'blather' at the 1849 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.

Note new meeting location

 Astronomy on Tap will meet on

The third Monday of the month at 5pm


Come and join the conversation at

1849 Brewery - 468 Sutton Way (back of Union Newspaper)


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!

As we continue to move into the New Year, help keep our wonderful little club financially healthy!

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!

Summer Triangle Corner: Vega

David Prosper and Vivian White

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and look up during June evenings, you’ll see the brilliant star Vega shining overhead. Did you know that Vega is one of the most studied stars in our skies? As one of the brightest summer stars, Vega has fascinated astronomers for thousands of years.

Vega is the brightest star in the small Greek constellation of Lyra, the harp. It’s also one of the three points of the large “Summer Triangle” asterism, making Vega one of the easiest stars to find for novice stargazers. Ancient humans from 14,000 years ago likely knew Vega for another reason: it was the Earth’s northern pole star! Compare Vega’s current position with that of the current north star, Polaris, and you can see how much the direction of Earth’s axis changes over thousands of years. This slow movement of axial rotation is called precession, and in 12,000 years Vega will return to the northern pole star position.Bright Vega has been observed closely since the beginning of modern astronomy and even helped to set the standard for the current magnitude scale used to categorize the brightness of stars. Polaris and Vega have something else in common, besides being once and future pole stars: their brightness varies over time, making them variable stars. Variable stars’ light can change for many different reasons. Dust, smaller stars, or even planets may block the light we see from the star. Or the star itself might be unstable with active sunspots, expansions, or eruptions changing its brightness. Most stars are so far away that we only record the change in light, and can’t see their surface.

NASA’s TESS satellite has ultra-sensitive light sensors primed to look for the tiny dimming of starlight caused by transits of extrasolar planets.Their sensitivity also allowed TESS to observe much smaller pulsations in a certain type of variable star’s light than previously observed. These observations of Delta Scuti variable stars will help astronomers model their complex interiors and make sense of their distinct, seemingly chaotic, pulsations. This is a major contribution towards the field of astroseismology: the study of stellar interiors via observations of how sound waves “sing” as they travel through stars. The findings may help settle the debate over what kind of variable star Vega is. Find more details on this research, including a sonification demo that lets you “hear” the heartbeat of one of these stars, at:

Interested in learning more about variable stars? Want to observe their changing brightness? Check out the website for the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) at You can also find the latest news about Vega and other fascinating stars at

Vega possesses two debris fields, similar to our own solar system’s asteroid and Kuiper belts. Astronomers continue to hunt for planets orbiting Vega, but as of May 2020 none have been confirmed. More info:  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Click to Contact
President John Griffin
Vice President Rick Bernard
Secretary/Treasurer Paul Bacon
Outreach Coordinator Hilary Steinmetz
Emeritus Officer David Buchla
At Large Greg Ouligian
At Large Greg Dolkas

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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