All ASLI Meetings Begin at 8:00 PM


March 1 Observing The Skies of March, by Steve Bandel.

This month’s “What’s in the Night Sky?” will be about Winter Asterisms. You will learn how to locate them even in our light polluted sky. Make sure to bring a telescope or a pair of binoculars with you. After the lecture we will be heading out to the parking lot for a little star gazing, weather permitting.


March 8 – Planetarium Sky Tour by Dave Bush.

Using the planetarium’s star projector, Dave will take us on a tour of the night sky and show us the amazing capabilities of the system. 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of when the very first star projector was unveiled to the public. It was under a temporary, 16-meter dome upon the rooftop of the Zeiss Optical Manufacturing company located in Jena, Germany. Dave will give us a brief history of the development of star projectors and where planetariums are today in their technology and what they might be like in the future. Members are strongly encouraged to bring a pair of binoculars and red flashlight to this presentation.


March 15: Helping Beginners Select Their First Optical Devices for Astronomy by Ed Anderson.

What do you say to someone new to the hobby who has asked you for help selecting their first telescope? Whether this is in person, by phone, or chatting with someone on an online forum, what is your approach?

  • Does everyone get the same recommendation?
  • How current are you on the options available?
  • What questions do you ask before making a recommendation?
  • How much do you expect to be involved after they make their purchase?

Ed will be sharing his approach to helping newbies enter visual astronomy. He will also offer some thoughts on EAA, Electronically Assisted Astronomy, and Astrophotography. He will then open it up to the attendees to invite them to share their approaches and recommendations. There are a lots of entry points into this hobby and lots of equipment choices available today that weren’t available just a few years ago. How do you reach your recommendation for that individual? There will be an open discussion following Ed’s talk.


March 22: Observing Night, Weather Permitting by Our Members.

Winter is a difficult time to hold successful observing sessions, given the norm of cold temperatures, winds, and weather.  But we are going to be scheduling one Wednesday night a month to try and observe.  Come join us with your binoculars or bring your telescope, or come look through ours, if the weather cooperates.  If observing is cancelled, there will be a notice on the ASLI Mailing List for members. We need absolutely clear skies for observing and if it is cold and windy, assume we will not be meeting at all.


March 29: What We Don’t Know About Planet Formation by Dr. Phil Armitage.

It has long been known that planets form from dust and gas in the protoplanetary disks that are present for the first few million years of a star’s lifetime. More recently, we have accumulated superb data on both the initial conditions (the protoplanetary disks) and the final outcomes (the Solar System and extrasolar planetary systems) of planet formation. But there remains much that we don’t know. Growth from the size of dust particles all the way to fully formed planets requires many steps, some of which are hard to model and nigh impossible to observe. In this talk, Dr. Armitage will highlight some of the interesting open problems in planet formation, together with the work we’re doing to develop new computational techniques to make progress.   Prof. Phil Armitage is a theoretical and computational 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 faculty after many years at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He holds a BA and PhD from the University of Cambridge.