All ASLI Meetings Begin at 8:00 PM


November 2 – The upcoming apparition of Mars 2022-2023, by Frank Melillo.

There will be a fine view of Mars this opposition coming on December 8th.  The 2022 Mars apparition is considered intermediate between favorable and unfavorable, in terms of it’s distance from Earth. But there is a big plus that it will be much higher in the sky. Compare it with 2020 apparition, Mars will at least 20 degrees higher yet! There will be a lot of challenging features to observe on the planet and lets see what Mars will show us this time. 


November 9:  Behind the Scenes of Television Science Fiction – by Doug Drexler.

 Doug Drexler’s 40 years of experience in film and television spans a broad background, which includes special effects makeup, concept design, illustration, graphic design, and visual effects.He has won both American and British Academy Awards, been nominated for eight primetime Emmys, winning twice. He is a Saturn, Visual Effects Society, and Peabody Award winner.Drexler has worked with such directors as Warren Beatty, Mike Nichols, Tony Scott, John Carpenter, Adrian Lyne, Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Fleischer, Seth MacFarlane, Michael Cimino, Mark Rydell, and Michael Mann. Doug’s science fiction background includes Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Picard, Battlestar Galactica, and The Orville.


November 16 – Exploring Asteroid Impacts Within the Solar System – by Matt Pappas

Asteroids and comets have lurked among the planets for billions of years.  Though relatively small, these relics of the solar system’s formation pack a powerful punch when they strike planets and moons. Such impacts capture the imagination of us all, but what do scientists understand about these events? In this presentation on impacts, Prof. Matthew Pappas will discuss the history of impacts within the solar system, the statistics of life threatening impacts on Earth, and the efforts being made to protect ourselves from future catastrophic collisions.

Matthew Pappas is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at Suffolk County Community College.  Over the course of his 17 years as a professional astronomer he has performed research on remote observing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, developed 3D visualizations at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and participated in an exoplanet research workshop at Caltech.  In addition to his teaching duties as an educator, Prof. Pappas provides tours of the Ammerman Campus planetarium to local schools and organizations and delivers presentations on astronomy to audiences across Long Island.


November 23 – No Meeting – Thanksgiving Holiday.


November 30 – The Dark Side of the Sun – by Dr. Fred Walter.

On September 1 1859 one of the largest solar flares ever seen was recorded by Richard Carrington. A day later a powerful geomagnetic disturbance was observed, aurorae were seen as far south as Tahiti, and electrical currents were induced in telegraph lines across North America. This, the “Carrington Event”, was a consequence of one of the largest coronal mass ejections (CMEs) to strike the Earth in the past 2 centuries.

I will discuss the physics of solar flares and CMEs and their interactions with Earth. The historical record informs us of the frequency with which large CMEs strike the Earth, and observations of flares on other stars let us extrapolate likelihoods of extremely large and rare events. The question of another large CME striking is one of when, not if. The consequences can be devastating for an unprepared society. Are we ready?

Prof. Walter, a resident of East Setauket, studies star birth, stellar weather, and star death using the Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope, TESS, and telescopes in Arizona, Hawaii and Chile. He has been a professor of Astronomy at Stony Brook since 1989.