Rittenhouse Astronomical Society
Meeting Schedule 2007 / 2008


DATE Astronomy

September 26,
In the Beginning
A graphic representation of the Big Bang

Special Event Kick-off!
Attend and be sure to see some amazing sights from Astronomy Picture of the Day

Robert Nemiroff
Creator, Lead Writer and Editor of
Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 10,
New Student Website
Downloading and Using Stellarium / Accessing our Rittenhouse News feed

Celebrate World
Space Week
  Launching Dawn (and Phoenix):
From behind the scenes at Kennedy Space Center Press Site
Dr. Ken Kremer
NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
November 14,
All Presentations tonight can  be considered as astronomy lessons.

Members Night Presentations:
1- Sky Tonight
2- Google, Dark Skies
3- Student Website- Resources
4-Ast. sftwr for your PC
5- Eye on the Sky        
6- Sputnik
7- Titan's Lakes
8-Why attending a Planetarium Conference ?

Rittenhouse Members
1- Alan Daroff
2- Mike Mountjoy
3-Dan McCormick
4-Ruth List
5-Dan Benedict
6- Dave Walker
7- Ken Kremer
8-Ted Williams
December 12,
Solar Neighborhood
What is it? What does it encompass?
Planets, Planets Everywhere
But only Eight for us

Dr. Karen Vanlandingham
West Chester University Planetarium
January 9,
The Planets
Mythology and Science 

Family Night
Celebrate the Solar System through the Eyes of a Musician!

Gustav Holst ~ The Planets
Ed McCafferty
Methacton School Dist.
Lori Weidner
Neshaminy School Dist.

February 20, 2008
Roof-Top Viewing / Observatory Viewing
Lunar, Solar, and Martian Eclipses
Dr. Ken Kremer

Rittenhouse Society Members:
Derrick Pitts-Observatory
Carol Ludolph-
Ted Williams- Rooftop Laser Star Orientation
Dave Walker-Rooftop Telescopes/Observatory

March 12,
Finding it in the Night Sky
What to Look for, what can you observe?
Postcards from Saturn Dr. Ann Schmiedekamp
Penn State Abington
NASA Solar System Ambassador
April 9,
Rittenhouse Astronomical
A little bit about us
Celebrating William Hershel
Special Musical-Multi-Media  Event
Special Guests:


Martin Knoblauch
Member-at- Large
May 14,
Sky Tonight Report from the
 Lynch Observatory
John Parejko
Drexel Observatory Representative
June 11,
The Challange:
Operating the Observatory,
Project report on the Development of a Computer based tutorial.
The Solution:
Presentation of the observatory training program.
Members Night
Philadelphia University Graduate Students Software Presentation


 Rittenhouse Record  2008 / 2007

Meeting Night  6/11/08

    Thanks to students from Philadelphia University who have been working with RAS and the Bloom Observatory to develop a training aid for those interested in volunteering to operate the Bloom Observatory Zeiss 10" Telescope.

     Two semesters of challenging work for the students have resulted in an outstanding project. 

Left to Right: Instructor-Russ Starke, Mark Magee-Graphic Designer,
Randee Frankel-Development, Christina Leon-Instructional Designer,
 Kristy Brown- Project Manager, Joanne Reppert- Multi Media Specialist,  Craig Do'Vidio-Multi-media Specialist, Instructor-Phil Charon

     Rittenhouse Astronomical Society presented a paper that documents the process at the International Planetarium Society conference this summer (June 27- July 2) at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.  You are welcome to review or download the the paper (PDF-format) titled "Conjunction."  It explains the process in detail.

Now that we have the training module on line, you may want to review the process and operation of the Zeiss telescope.   We gratefully thank these students for committing their time and effort of their Master Degree project to the benefit of the astronomical community at The Franklin.  Randee Frankel and Craig Do'Vidio presented a review for our members at our meeting.

Meeting Night  5/14/08
   John Parejko from the Lynch Observatory (Drexel University) was our guest presenter.  John gave us an overview of the Observatory program at Drexel and his research on galaxies and  black holes.
Meeting Night  4/9/08

The Harmonious Life of William Hershel
Special Musical-Multi-Media Presentation

Our next meeting April 9:   English Astronomer William Herschel is well known for his discovery of the planet Uranus and his advances in the construction of large telescopes.  His life as a musician and composer is often forgotten. The Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, conductor Martin Knoblauch and the Chestnut Hill Orchestra intend to remind us of his contributions in both fields when they present a program entitled   The Harmonious Life of William Herschel on Wednesday evening April 9th 2008 at the Franklin Institute.

Meeting Night  3/12/08 

 Postcards From Saturn
Dr. Anne Schmiedekamp
NASA Solar System Ambassador


The brilliant B ring ends abruptly at the Huygens Gap -- the broad, dark band devoid of ring material seen here near left. This gap marks the inner edge of the Cassini Division, within which the five dim bands at left reside.

Postcards from Saturn:
Presentation: Dr. Schmiedekamp


This view takes in the outer third of Saturn's C ring -- from the Maxwell Gap, at center left, to the C-ring edge at lower right.

Dr. A. Schmiedekamp was a guide for our tour of what is undeniably one of the most fascinating planets in our solar system.  "Postcards From Saturn" Left us all wishing we were there, and with Dr. Schmiedekamp as our guide, we felt as if we were !  From the possible rings of Rhea to observing a moon diving through the ring plane leaving a beautiful wake of ring material was breathtaking.

NASA Solar
    System Ambassador/
Penn State University


Meeting Night 2/20/08

 Lunar, Solar, and Martian Eclipses
Presentation: Dr. Ken Kremer

NASA / Solar system Ambassador Program

Lunar Eclipse Night review! Missed the event at the Franklin?    View a  Power Point presentation of eclipse night.  (Note: To advance slides, scroll down with menu bar.)  Much thanks to Dave Walker!  A few more pictures for your review..

Meeting Night 1/9/08

Family night!
January 9th 2008--
The Planets
Gustav Holst

The Science
 The Mythology,
The Music

PowerPoint Preview
By Ed McCaffrey: Methcton School District

Gustav Holst was a British composer who was born in Cheltenham England in 1874 and died in London in 1934. One of the last great pieces of music he composed “The Planets” is an overture to the Planetary Celestial Spheres of our Solar System. Before the time of Space probes, Holst composed 7 musical suites each founded in the mythical characteristics and physical appearances provided by telescopes of the visible planets of his age. Now that Pluto has been re-classified and is no longer considered a planet, the music of Holst can once again represent the solar system of today.w


Student Presentation
An overview of the Planets visible in our sky.  Learn the basic structure of the solar system, and what you can expect to see of it in a telescope.

Guest Speakers
Ed McCafferty (Methacton School District) and Lori Weidner (Neshaminy School District), explore with us the musical characteristics and technique that was used to convey the mythology in the suite by Holst: The Planets.

Meeting Night 12/12/07

Dr. Karen Vanlandingham
Planets, Planets Everywhere...But only Eight for Us

NASA artist imagines a Neptune-sized extrasolar (left) planet circling the red dwarf star Gliese 436. Here, the planet appears gaseous like Jupiter, with a cloudy atmosphere. However, astronomers don't know yet if the newly discovered smaller planets are gaseous like Jupiter, or rocky like Earth and Mars. 
Right: NASA artists imagines other planetary ring systems.

      My very educated mother just served us nine... what?  Pizzas?  Pickles?  Apparently good 'ol mom is going to have to come up with a new menu because Pluto is no longer on the list of planets in our solar system.  If Pluto's out then who's in?      What makes a planet a planet anyway?  And while the number of planets in our solar system is shrinking, the number of planets elsewhere in the galaxy is ever increasing!  To date, astronomers have found over 200 planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy (extrasolar planets).  How do astronomers find these planets?  What are they like?  Are there other "earths" out there?  Do they support life and, if so, have their inhabitants found a better operating system than Windows Vista?  Come and find out the answers to (most of) these questions as we explore solar systems - ours and beyond.

     Dr. Vanlandingham is the current planetarium director at West Chester University Planetarium.  The planetarium is used daily for all astronomy classes and labs and is a central component of the department's outreach activities.  Dr. Vanlandingham has an extensive background in binary star systems.  For her presentation tonight, she will focus on Exoplanets.  We welcome Dr. Vanlandingham and encourage members to check out the West Chester University Planetarium web site.


Meeting Night 11/15/07

A special thanks to all our members who stepped forward last night to share a little of their interests, hobbies and passion with our society.  Visitors can definitely see the enthusiasm with which society members embrace astronomy.  Whether it is astronomy computer software, locating dark-sky observing sights, viewing comets, news breaking images from the moons of Saturn, our society members had it covered.  We should consider doing it again during this academic year!   (11/15/07)


Meeting Night 10/10/07

Dr. Ken Kremer  JPL/NASA Solar System Ambassador

Marco Di Lorenzo, Ken Kremer, NASA/JPL/Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine

Dr. Kremer last guided us across the 3-D surface of Mars.  Now he returns from behind the scenes at Kennedy Space Center to report on the Dawn Mission (and Phoenix) .  Join us as we welcome all at the Franklin Institute Celebrating World Space Week 2007 for our open public meeting OCTOBER 10, 2007.


Meeting Night 9/26/07

Robert Nemiroff
(creator, lead writer and editor)
Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sitting in the grandeur of the Fels planetarium and being guided by the creator of a website that daily communicates grandeur to it's audience is an amazing experience for astronomy buffs and amateurs alike.  Thank you Dr. Nemiroff  for sharing your 'choice' selections, your insight and your dream with the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society Members and guests. Your interest in astronomy was felt by any who attended tonight's presentation.  The journey you created through our solar system, around the Universe and back again through your unique selection of the most fascinating images developed by our species is a testament to human creativity, our technology and the artistry it can reveal.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.




Last Updated 9-11-08

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