SEPTEMBER PROGRAM SCHEDULE 2023
All ASLI Meetings Begin at 8:00 PM
IN PERSON ONLY
Sept 6: Autumnal Equinox Party
Our quarterly parties at the equinoxes and the solstices have turned out to be very popular events, so here we are with the Autumnal Equinox. For a change, for those who keep careful track of dates, the actual date of the equinox is September 23. We are ahead of schedule this time! You know the drill: bring guilty pleasures food, or healthy food and snacks or desserts or healthy snacks for all to share, along with something to drink!
IN PERSON ONLY
Sept 13: ASLI Club Observing Night.
We will cross our fingers and hope for a clear night for observing in the Vanderbilt parking lot where they turn out all the lights for us. Bring your own telescope or binoculars, or observe the skies through all of our telescopes.
IN PERSON AND ON ZOOM
Sept 20: Business Meeting/ Elections.
The Business Meeting and elections used to be the most boring meeting of the year! But now with online elections, that part is over with quickly and we have the treasurer’s report and we have the rest of the evening to visit with each other. There will be announcements on the ASLI Mailing List, but if you are interested in being a board member or an officer of the club, we will tell you how to go about that.t
Sept 27: Recovering the Astronomy of Ancient Babylon
by Professor John Steele. Cuneiform tablets recovered from sites in present-day Iraq provide extensive evidence for the oldest known tradition of scientific astronomy. The tablets date to the first millennium BC and show that the people of ancient Babylonia kept extensive records of detailed and regular observation of the moon and planets, developed mathematical methods to predict astronomical phenomena such as the occurrence of lunar and solar eclipses and the first appearances of the planets, and used this information for a variety of purposes including regulating their calendar and determining the timing of festivals, as well as for making astrological predictions. In this talk I will outline what we know of Babylonian astronomy and how scholars over the past hundred and fifty years have rediscovered this earliest astral science.
John Steele is a historian of astronomy, with a particular focus on ancient Babylonian astronomy at Brown University. Born in Newcastle, England, he studied Physics and History of Astronomy at Durham University and has held teaching and research positions at Durham University, MIT, and the University of Toronto. He moved to Brown University in 2008, where he is currently Professor of the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity. He holds an honorary Professorship at Shanghai in the School of History and Culture of Science at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and is a senior fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. He is the author of six books including “A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East” and most recently “The Babylonian Astronomical Compendium” co-authored with Hermann Hunger). He is currently writing a book on the development of astronomy in ancient Babylon and editing the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Ancient Astronomy.
IN PERSON AND ON ZOOM
Oct 4 – A Visit to Allegheny Observatory
by Frank Melillo. Instead of the usual tour of what’s up in the night sky this month, Frank Melillo will be taking us on a tour of those things that help us look up. Frank recently paid a visit to the Allegheny Observatory, just north of Pittsburgh, PA. His reservation allowed him a behind the scenes tour of the facilities. The tour lasted more than two hours, and as Frank put it, “There was too much to see”. But Frank will do his best to show us some of what he saw thru his photos and commentary. He will also speak about previous observatories he has visited along the way.