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.


May 2 - Brown Dwarfs and the Search for Exoplanets by Dr. Paige Godfrey. Brown dwarfs, the middle children of solar system formation, are too small to be stars and too massive to be planets. These faint, cool objects are undergoing a massive investigation in the astronomy community, due to advanced technology that is allowing us to see them in populous numbers, and hopefully will bridge the gap in understanding between stars and planets. This is in perfect timing for the abundance of exoplanets that have been discovered in the past decade. In this talk, she will discuss recent brown dwarf and exoplanet surveys and major discoveries, and the current understanding of their formation, composition, and evolution.

Dr. Paige Godfrey is the Director of Research and Education at Slooh, a global telescope network for the public. She completed her Ph.D. in Physics from the CUNY Graduate Center in June 2017 for her research in characterizing brown dwarf and low-mass companion atmospheres. She earned her B.S. in Physics from The College of New Jersey in 2012. She enjoys public outreach and education, star gazing when she can get away from the bright city lights, and freelance science writing. This talk is a new experiment for ASLI - we will be connecting with her via Skype and projecting her image on the dome of the planetarium.


May 9 - Annual Star Parties by John Speroni - Many suburban backyards have trees and neighboring lights that obstruct our view of the night sky. Better observing conditions can be found using state parks - but you will need a stargazing permit, or Custer Institute , or with a trip further away. Annual star parties let you learn more about astronomy and meet many fellow astronomers. At the end of this talk you might want to start planning a summer vacation someplace dark.

May 16 - Observing Night - Weather Permitting. We will only observe if the skies are clear. Bring your own telescope or binoculars, or come and observe through our instruments. New Moon is the May 15th. Please do not park on the lawn.

May 23 - Gravitational Lensing by Dr. Anja von der Linden. This presentation will discuss the meaning of gravitational lensing and the ways in which this has fostered new research initiatives. Dr.von der Linden’s research focuses on many aspects of galaxy clusters, exoplanets, dark matter and cosmology. In particular, she uses weak gravitational lensing to calibrate mass estimates of clusters, a central ingredient for cluster cosmology. She is also interested in the properties of cluster galaxies, in particular the most luminous Cluster Galaxies and their evolution.

Dr. von der Linden received her Ph.D. in Astronomy at the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen, Germany. Before her current position on the faculty of Stony Brook University, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, she was a Sophie and Tycho Brahe Fellow with a joint appointment at the DARK Cosmology Centre in Copenhagen and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University. She continues to work within the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, the South Pole Telescope Survey, the Euclid space mission and the WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope) project.

May 30 - Confessions of a Lunatic Vendor: West Coast Star Parties by Jeff Norwood.  Many of you have seen Jeff when he sets up his mobile store at NEAF and other star parties, generally in the northeast.  Well, he got a bright idea one time, and decided to take his van full of astronomical goodies, and drive across the United States, and visit West Coast star parties.  Wow, that’s a lot of driving!  I wonder how that turned out for him?  Come hear Jeff tell this saga.


Saturday, May 12th. Open House at Spectrum Thin Films at 3:00 to 5:00 PM at 135 Marcus Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788 Come take a tour of Tony’s facility including lectures and refreshments. Call for reservations at 631 901-1010

Thursday Night, May 17th. Bosti School outreach. Our annual visit. 50 Bourne Blvd, West Sayville, NY 11796  7:30 PM to set up telescopes.

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.