Astronomical Society

of Long Island


NOTICE:  All content on this site is Copyright ©2016 by Ken Spencer, The Astronomical Society of Long Island, and the respective photographers.  All Rights Reserved.  Reproduction is forbidden without express written permission.




Apr 24  A Picture of the History of Our Universe - by Dr. Patrick Meade. In this talk Dr. Meade will describe how astronomy has led to a very special picture of the history of our universe. However, to understand what is really happening, we have to combine astronomy and general relativity with a description of what goes on at the shortest distances where quantum mechanics dominates. It turns out that even though we have an incredibly well tested description of our universe, there still could be many surprises awaiting us. These range from what is the true nature of Dark Energy and Dark Matter, to what phase our universe was in at the earliest times - was it something like water or ice? He will try to describe where some of these surprises could show up, and why in the coming decades we have the potential to uncover them with a combination of new telescopes, satellites, and ground based particle physics experiments. Even though we say we have this nice picture of the universe and sometimes we say the only thing we don’t understand is dark matter and dark energy, There’s actually a lot more beyond that which we don’t know.” Dr. Patrick Meadeis an Associate Professor in the C.N. Yang Insititute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. He joined the Yang Institute in 2009 after having completed a PhD in high energy theoretical physics from Cornell University in 2006 and spent time as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.


May 1 - "NEWBIE NIGHT" - at 7 PM, BEFORE our regular meeting.

Are you interested in astronomy but don’t know where to start?

Thinking about buying a telescope but don’t know what to get?

Have you purchased your first telescope and don’t know how to use it?

Would you like some help in learning astrophotography?

Come to "Newbie Night" which is a very informal session where any questions you might have will be answered by a few of our members. And you can stay for our regular meeting which starts at 8 PM.

May 1 - 8:00 PM Observing Night - If the weather is clear! Bring your telescopes and binoculars, or observe through our instruments. It’s still cold at this time of year, so please dress warmly.

If observing is cancelled, we will be showing the DVD “Pluto and Beyond,” the story of the spectacular New Horizons spacecraft and it’s exploration of Pluto, and beyond.

May 8 - Observing the Moon – by Ed Anderson.  An introduction for beginning observers. The Moon is our nearest celestial neighbor. You can view the moon with your eyes or binoculars. Even a small, 60 mm telescope can provide signifcant detail. Ed will discuss the best times to view the Moon as well as different observing tools. He will also identify interesting things to look for, including the Apollo landing sights. 

May 15 - The Interstellar Visitor 'Oumuamua - by Professor Phil Armitage. In the Fall 2017 the Pan-STARRS telescope detected the first object of clearly interstellar origin passing fleetingly through the inner Solar System. Named ‘Oumuamua, after the Hawaiian word for "scout", our first interstellar visitor was a small body that may have originated as an asteroid or comet within an extrasolar planetary system. The existence of interstellar asteroids and comets was no surprise - our Solar System probably ejected many Earth masses of such bodies as it formed - but ‘Oumuamua showed unexpected and mysterious properties that remain to be fully explained. In this talk I will discuss what we know about ‘Oumuamua, and what we hope to learn about planet formation from future observations of similar visitors.  Prof. Phil Armitage is a theoretical astrophysicist in the Stony Brook Physics & Astronomy Department. He is interested in the formation of planetary systems and the astrophysics of black holes. He joined Stony Brook last year after many years at the University of Colorado in Boulder. 

May 22 - A Deliberate Yet Impossible World - by Sam Storch  The little-known historical background that led to the discovery of Pluto.  The late 19th century had brought the capabilities accompanying great wealth and the noble tradition of the “gentleman astronomer” to join with the new methods of scrutinizing the heavens through photography along with intense human mathematical calculation. The passionate writings of Percival Lowell ignited great public interest in an inhabited Mars. When Lowell’s canal-building Martians couldn’t be objectively verifed, Lowell’s intense drive to vindicate his professional reputation through hypothesis and discovery led to a search for a planet beyond Neptune - a search that unfortunately succeeded well after Lowell’s death. Yet, even with intense and “brute force” application of the new tool of photography the discovery of Pluto was almost unlikely result, presenting astronomers with a combination of characteristics once thought impossible. This year Sam Storch celebrates his 45th year of membership in ASLI.

May 29 - Observing Session - Bring your telescopes and binoculars, if you like, or observe through our instruments.



NGC 4216 in the Virgo Cluster by Dave Barnett

Our intrepid astrophotographer Dave Barnett apparently needs no sleep at all, judging by his latest handiwork.  In the center of the frame is the galaxy NGC 4216 in the Virgo Cluster.  It is 40 million light-years distant, and is an edge-on spiral galaxy.  It is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way galaxy.  It is flanked by fellow Virgo cluster member NGC 4222.  If you are thinking of trying astrophotography, you should know this is not a simple trick.  He used an 8” f/4 Newtonian, and this final image is a stack of 4 minute long sub exposures with a total time of 92 minutes.