Astronomical Society

of Long Island


PLEASE NOTE:  All content on this site is Copyright © 2018 by Ken Spencer, The Astronomical Society of Long Island, and the respective photographers.  All Rights Reserved.  Reproduction is forbidden without express written permission.

Because of Covid-19 concerns The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, where we hold our meetings, is closed temporarily.

We have, however, switched from our regular gatherings in person, to online virtual meetings each week.  We are using the Cisco Webex platform.  Each week there is a presentation relating to astronomy by one of our members, which lasts about 30 or 45 minutes.  The turnout has been amazing with about 30 members showing up each week!

If you would like to join us, I invite you to scroll down to the “Membership Application” page, in the left hand column.  Downoad the application - it is a .jpg document.  Print it, and fill out the form, and mail it, with a $40 check to the name on the bottom of the form.  If you are a student, the cost is only $20.  A membership at this time will also include club membership for 2021.

So join our club, and then join us in our online meetings every Wednesday night.  We hope to see you there!

The Astronomical Society of Long Island is one of the more active groups in the New York Metropolitan Area. We are a group of dedicated amateur astronomers and telescope makers with a passion for our hobby, and a willingness to share our knowledge and excitement of the hobby with others, both experienced, and those who may have just discovered the hobby. Please come join us at our meetings, and enjoy the view through our telescopes at our observing sessions.

MEETINGS:  EVERY Wednesday Night


LOCATION: Vanderbilt Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, NY

We welcome new visitors, you do not need to own a telescope, and there is no requirement to join the club in order to attend meetings or to come to observing sessions. Come visit with us, to ask questions, to benefit from our collective experience, and to explore the wonders of the night sky.

Waiting to Observe the Night Sky

At a recent public outreach event, two ASLI members wait with a telescope while watching a spectacular sunset, before beginning a night of observing the stars.

(Photograph Copyright © Ken Spencer, 2019 - All rights reserved)

Three Galaxies - The Draco Trio, by Dave Barnett

This is a photograph of Messier 51, a pair of galaxies in Ursa Major photographed on Long Island by Steve Bellavia.  It is a stunning sight, and one of the more interesting objects that we love to observe through our telescopes.  There is so much detail in this photograph, compared to what one might see visually in a telescope.  On Long Island, under dark skies, you are lucky to see two very faint fuzzballs with an 8” diameter telescope.  I recently got to see this amount of detail in M-51, but I was viewing from Kitt Peak, Arizona at 7,500 feet, under dark skies, and using a 20” telescope.


(Photograph Copyright © Steve Bellavia, 2015 - All Rights Reserved.)

This is a beautiful photograph of three galaxies that I have never heard of!  Dave Barnett imaged them from Wildwood State Park north of Riverhead.  Here is his information:

Starting from the left, NGC 5985 is a 275,100 light year wide Seyfert SBb barred spiral galaxy that lies some 170 million light years away from us.  In the center we have NGC 5982, an E3 elliptical galaxy some 99600 light years in diameter and resides a mere 130 million light years away.  Finally, on the right, is the edge on Sc spiral galaxy NGC 5981 sitting some 100 million light years away.  One additional fun thing about this image is if you carefully examine  the frame you can see a wealth of additional background galaxies.

I intend on revisiting this target in the future

For those who need the tech info:

1) Scope - Vixen 8" f/4 Newt

2) Mount - Atlas EQG

3) Camera - ATIK 314 L 300 sec sub exposures

4) Filter - Orion skyglow imaging filter

5) Capture Software - Artemis

6) Stacking - Nebulosity 3

  1. 7)Processing - Photoshop CS6

(Photograph Copyright © Dave Barnett, 2015 - All Rights Reserved.)

The Horsehead Nebula by Jake Stavola

This is a beautiful photograph of an astounding dark nebula, taken by Jake Stavola.   The Horsehead Nebula in the Constellation Orion, and is made up of dust and gasses which block the glow of hydrogen gas in the background.  This is gaseous area of Orion where star formation is taking place.  What is astounding is that the first photograph I ever saw of this was with the 200” telescope at Mt. Palomar, back in the 1950’s.  And Jake has done this with a modern CCD camera in his back yard!

(Photograph Copyright © Jake Stavola, 2016 - All Rights Reserved.

The Galaxy M-51 by Steve Bellavia