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Wednesday, September 7, 2022
7:00 pm
Madelyn Helling Library

Cosmic Connections

Alan Stahler


From non-living air and water and rock, roughly four billion years ago, life evolved on Earth.  Biologists are of two minds:  Was this evolution inevitable ... or a once-in-a-billion coincidence?  Al Stahler will discuss this debate - of the roles played by the stars and planets and the moon, in an informative slide show.  Free - bring the kids!

Al Stahler enjoys sharing science and nature with friends and neighbors, in The Union, on KVMR-FM, and at monthly star parties in partnership with the telescope operators of the Nevada County Astronomers Club.  He teaches classes for both kids and grown-ups.


All are welcome! Bring a friend!

President’s Rant - September 1, 2022

September, with the upcoming Autumnal Equinox on the 22nd, brings us continued warm evening temperatures but with an earlier sunset, allowing those of us early-to-bed members more viewing time.  Saturn is easily visible and Jupiter rises in the east earlier and earlier as the month progresses.  Many of us continue to enjoy the images coming from the James Webb Telescope, some of which have surprised scientists who expected to see a more chaotic early universe.  New discoveries are the parents of new insights.....

Our club continues to resume regular operations.  We enjoyed the August Zoom meeting featuring member Mark Koehler who gave us a tour of his backyard roll-off roof observatory in Auburn and showed us how he uses his 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope connected to digital equipment.  As usual, we are looking forward to hearing from Alan Stalher at this months meeting - see above.  As before, the meeting will also be broadcast on Zoom.  If you cannot attend in person, please send us an email by clicking on the Contact tab at the top of the page, and we'll send you the Zoom instructions. 

Some of us just returned from our three-day Plumas-Eureka Star Party above the town of Graeagle. The final evening was open to the public, where we unexpectedly became the hosts to dozens of kids, parents, and teachers from a Sacramento area school which was having its school retreat at the local state park.  They saw our posted flyer, and came up to participate.  We were busy, but the kids were well-behaved, and our presence was well-received.

Astronomy-on-Tap continues to be well-attended.  It's a great way to drop in and meet members of our club in an informal way, and to enjoy the brew that is made on-site.  See below for details.

We hope to see you soon,

Greg Ouligian

Outreach - Hilary Steinmetz

We have been contacted by a teacher at Lyman Gilmore School to provide an astronomy program. Details to follow.


NC Astronomer members continue to enjoy the beer and blather, which will now be held at the 1849 Brewing Company. The beer selection at the brewery is quite comprehensive and they also have an on-premises cafe for your culinary delight. The environment allows for in-depth conversations on deeply philosophical questions. 

Image result for astronomy on tap

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

Note new meeting location

 Astronomy on Tap meets on

The third Wednesday of the month at 5pm


Come and join the conversation at

1849 Brewing Company - 468 Sutton Way in Grass Valley

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!

Help keep our wonderful little club financially healthy!

I am still collecting membership contributions for calendar year 2022

(Please remember our fiscal year runs Jan. 1 through Dec. 31)

($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


NASA Nigh Sky Notes September 2022

This article is distributed by NASA’s Night Sky Network (NSN). The NSN program supports astronomy clubs across the USA dedicated to astronomy outreach. Visit to find local clubs, events, and more!

The Summer Triangle’s Hidden Treasures

David Prosper

September skies bring the lovely Summer Triangle asterism into prime position after nightfall for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. Its position high in the sky may make it difficult for some to observe its member stars comfortably, since looking straight up while standing can be hard on one’s neck! While that isn’t much of a problem for those that just want to quickly spot its brightest stars and member constellations, this difficulty can prevent folks from seeing some of the lesser known and dimmer star patterns scattered around its informal borders. The solution? Lie down on the ground with a comfortable blanket or mat, or grab a lawn or gravity chair and sit luxuriously while facing up. You’ll quickly spot the major constellations about the Summer Triangle’s three corner stars: Lyra with bright star Vega, Cygnus with brilliant star Deneb, and Aquila with its blazing star, Altair. As you get comfortable and your eyes adjust, you’ll soon find yourself able to spot a few constellations hidden in plain sight in the region around the Summer Triangle: Vulpecula the Fox, Sagitta the Arrow, and Delphinus the Dolphin! You could call these the Summer Triangle’s “hidden treasures” – and they are hidden in plain sight for those that know where to look!

Vulpecula the Fox is located near the middle of the Summer Triangle, and is relatively small, like its namesake. Despite its size, it features the largest planetary nebula in our skies: M27, aka the Dumbbell Nebula! It’s visible in binoculars as a fuzzy “star” and when seen through telescopes, its distinctive shape can be observed more readily - especially with larger telescopes. Planetary nebulae, named such because their round fuzzy appearances were initially thought to resemble the disc of a planet by early telescopic observers, form when stars similar to our Sun begin to die. The star will expand into a massive red giant, and its gasses drift off into space, forming a nebula. Eventually the star collapses into a white dwarf – as seen with M27 - and eventually the colorful shell of gasses will dissipate throughout the galaxy, leaving behind a solitary, tiny, dense, white dwarf star. You are getting a peek into our Sun’s far-distant future when you observe this object!

Sagitta the Arrow is even smaller than Vulpecula – it’s the third smallest constellation in the sky! Located between the stars of Vulpecula and Aquila the Eagle, Sagitta’s stars resemble its namesake arrow. It too contains an interesting deep-sky object: M71, an unusually small and young globular cluster whose lack of a strong central core has long confused and intrigued astronomers. It’s visible in binoculars, and a larger telescope will enable you to separate its stars a bit more easily than most globulars; you’ll certainly see why it was thought to be an open cluster!

Delicate Delphinus the Dolphin appears to dive in and out of the Milky Way near Aquilla and Sagitta! Many stargazers identify Delphinus as a herald of the fainter water constellations, rising in the east after sunset as fall approaches. The starry dolphin appears to leap out of the great celestial ocean, announcing the arrival of more wonderful sights later in the evening.

Want to hunt for more treasures? You’ll need a treasure map, and the Night Sky Network’s “Trip Around the Triangle” handout is the perfect guide for your quest! Download one before your observing session at And of course, while you wait for the Sun to set - or skies to clear - you can always find out more about the objects and science hidden inside these treasures by checking out NASA’s latest at

Click to Contact
President Greg Ouligian
Vice President John Griffin
Secretary/Treasurer Paul Bacon
Outreach Coordinator Hilary Steinmetz
At Large Greg Dolkas

NC Astronomers
Membership Application Form


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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