Are you ready to take your astronomical interest to the next level? Welcome!
The Rittenhouse Astronomical Society is the astronomy club for everyone.
 Join us on the second Wednesday of each month September through June at the Franklin Institute.
Check out recent guest speakers.    Consider meeting with others who share an interest in astronomy!    
Wondering what is in the sky this month? Bring your questions, and your enthusiasm to learn.
  Free, informative ,enlightening and fun.  No obligation to join.

~~Rittenhouse Record 2011-2012~~

~~~~~~~~ Our PAST June 13, 2012 Meeting ~~~~~
Franklin Institute


Members Present ~ Open to the Public ~ All invited
[ Meeting Notice ]

Alan Daroff - What to look for -
Alan reviewed some of the planets that will be visible in our night sky over the summer months.  He also discussed some of the observations during the recent Venus Transit.

Chris Richardson - Searching for Exo's- Chris has expressed an ongoing interest in Exoplanets.  Some recent discoveries, along with those earliest Exoplanets discovered started his presentation.  Chris suggested some methods that future generations might use to travel to some of the closer exo-planatory systems.  His reference to recent and past movies that show how we will transverse the great distances involved closed his presentation as he talked about which methods might be feasible, and why some were not.

Mike Tran Duong - String Theory   Mike originally delivered his String Theory presentation in the Mallon Planetarium at the Methacton School District. Seventy students from the gifted program were challenged to give a presentation from a selection of 'hot topics' in astronomy today.  Mike was awarded an year membership by the Methacton Education Foundation with RAS with this presentation on string theory.  In 10 minutes, MIke was able to share an understanding of how String Theory and Cosmic Strings might have a connection.  A quick overview of the formation of the four fundamental forces and their evolution to the governing forces of the Universe was followed with how we might bridge the quantum world (smallest) with the Universe (largest.)

Shawn Rush - Rocket to the 'Mun' -
Shawn demonstrated a virtual simulation gaming software (still under development) called the Kerbal Space Program (,) Users build a rocket and attempt to fly it on a mission through space. Selection of various rocket modules, engines and various configurations of the rocket parts determine the success or failure of your mission.

President's Address - Dr. Milt Friedman -  Dr. Friedman addressed some of the recent problems that use of the powerful green lasers can cause.  The responsible use of these lasers was endorsed along with what one should not do with these powerful hand held devices.

Denise Vacca - Southern Sights - Although we were not in the planetarium, Denise did a good job of introducing our members and guests to some sights of the southern sky.  Using the Sky Safari application available on the Apple App and setting our location to Sydney Australia, Denise was able to view some of the sights visible from that location.  Denise shared some background on those constellations provided the perfect 'teaser' to do this activity when we have the planetarium for our meeting.

Dr. Ken Kremer - Vesta & Curiosity Mars Rover Landing Preview SpaceX & Enterprise arrives NYC -
Dr. Kremer finished out our evening with some amazing shots of Asteroid Vesta showed the New York visit of the Enterprise Shuttle as it is prepared for retirementThe highlight of Ken's presentation was a guided preview simulating the landing of the Curiosity Rover. Ken narrated the various stages the lander will have to accomplish and what would need to happen to deliver the rover safely to the surface of Mars.  Ken's delivery reminded one of a sports announcer describing one of those amazing plays that keep the audience transfixed on the event.

Observatory Weather Permitting -
Cancelled due to inclement weather

Still frame from a NASA video
shows the positions of
Venus 2012 & 2004


  Venus Transit: Members of Rittenhouse joined with those from Historic RittenhouseTown on June 5th, 2012 to observe the Venus transit at the burial site of David Rittenhouse.  Although the clouds did not part, the group was lively and very interested in our I-Pad demonstrations, virtual scale model, and the scopes our members provided.  We feel that Mr. Rittenhouse himself would have been quite taken back with the modern day interest in what he accomplished just over 240 years ago.  We appreciate the efforts of fellow members Fern, Dave, Ted, Mike, William, and Vernell who provided the telescopes and helped to share the knowledge.

David Rittenhouse charts the Venus Transit of June 3, 1769 together with astronomers from around the globe. 
Their goal: to meet the challenge of Sir Edmund Halley to determine the distance from the Earth to the Sun.



This Past May 9, 2012 MEETING

The Music of the Spheres
The Resonance of Art and Science


Thanks to the many volunteers who make up the Chestnut Hill Symphonic Orchestra as they shared both wisdom and their talent for an amazing night of music and science.



Thank You PHILADELPHIA!  So many of you came out to look through our telescopes at the recent Philadelphia Science Festival this past April 21st (Science Carnival on the Parkway.)  Many observed the best parade of sunspots across the surface of our star in recent time.  Our H-Alpha filter helped everyone to see a giant prominence looping out from the surface of the sun!   We couldn't ask for a better crowd of observers, enthusiasts and amateur astronomers.






All photos above thanks to Dan McCormick, RAS Facebook administrator. 
Look for more on our Facebook site and members can check out may more on our private members site.


 Our next Meeting: APRIL 11, 2012     
Franklin Institute 8:00 PM.
Members join in Target community night
Arrive as early as 5:00 PM., Tour Franklin till 8:00 PM.
Planetarium Presentation 7:20 PM.
Jonathan Tabas
Professional Land Surveyor




Meeting dates and guest presenters for this academic year are posted here. 

PHILADELPHIA SCIENCE FESTIVAL- Science Carnival on the Parkway  April 21, 10:00 A.M.  We are in need of some volunteers to assist us on the Parkway.  If clear, solar observing will be conducted from Logan Circle.  Please contact us at our upcoming meeting or on our members network.
PHILADELPHIA SCIENCE FESTIVAL - City Wide Telescope Night April 27, 6:30 PM.  We are in need of some volunteers with telescopes to help bring astronomy to the streets.  Please contact us at our upcoming meeting or our members network for details of how you can get involved.
Dave Walker has assembled some photo albums of some of our previous events and meetings.  We have linked to it here for your review.  He has also shared some recent astro-photos of celestial events.


Our PAST Meeting: MARCH 14, 2012     
Mike Maguire
Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum;
Past, Present and Future

Bucks County (Warminster Area), Pennsylvania
Open the 1st and 3rd Sunday each month (1:00 - 4:00 PM.)


Centrifuge gondola car, Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum


 Our Past Meeting: February 8, 2012       
Celestial Navigator
Director of the Mütter Museum


Newly Published!

Voyage to Jamestown explores how sea navigation was accomplished during the era of discovery. Navigational methods and tools are presented within the setting of their use during a sea voyage of the period. While this voyage features a fictional crew and ship, it is carefully reconstructed from actual events, circumstances, narratives, and historical figures, which demonstrates the challenges of marine navigation within the cultural experience of people who actually traveled the oceans centuries ago. The fictional voyage follows the merchant galleon Guyft from Bristol, England, to Virginia in 1611, captained by Tristan Hame. With this narrative technique, the reader can absorb seafaring and navigation as practiced in the seventeenth century as if they were on board the ship. Navigational theory, methods, and instrumentation of the era are all engagingly presented within economic, political, scientific, and religious contexts to portray how the early navigator experienced his world.

U.S. Naval Institute website.

To prepare for our February 8 meeting, you may want to purchase Dr. Hicks recent publication "Voyage to Jamestown."   Review and purchase information can be found at the U.S. Naval Institute website.

This Past JANUARY 11, 2012      
Franklin Institute 7:15 pm.
Universe Today
Space Flight Magazine Correspondent
NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador

8 Years of Mars Rovers
& The Search for Life - Mars & Vesta in 3 D”


Credit: Marco Di Lorenzo, Douglas Ellison, Bernhard Braun and Kenneth Kremer.
NASA/JPL/Cornell/Aviation Week & Space Technology

Dr. Ken Kremer is a freelance science journalist, speaker, scientist and photographer whose articles and images have been widely published in magazines, books and websites including NASA, Astronomy Picture of the Day, ABC, NBC and Fox News,  Scientific American, Astronomy, Spaceflight Now, Planetary Society, Universe Today and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology and Spaceflight magazines. His mosaic of Opportunity at a Martian crater was selected as one of the 100 best Space images of 2011 by Astronomy magazine.  Dr. Kremer has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic and religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs including the National Air & Space Museum and Princeton University. He has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center and lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight.  He will have a selection of his Shuttle and Mars images for sale as postcards and frameable prints.
Ken Kremer websites:

Congratulations Dr. Kremer, the photo-mosaic below was recently published on
Astronomy Picture Of the Day December 12 2011!


Our  DECEMBER 14, 2011

Sounds of Space
(Sun and Solar System)

Charles Zarcone

 Mr. Zarcone has been touring the suburbs visiting area clubs (Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers, and the Chestmont Astronomical Society.)  Recommended by our members, we welcome him as he presents "Sounds of Space" to our members and guests.

Meeting Notice
Meeting Agenda  


       Our NOVEMBER 9, 2011 Meeting       
Dr. Hanno Rein
Institute of Advanced Studies - Princeton NJ.
Application Creator / Designer "EXOPLANET"


Meeting Notice    -
(Meeting Agenda)  

November 9, 2011~
The Dynamics of Extrasolar Planets

Dr. Hanno Rein
 Application Creator & Editor of the
Exoplanet Application.
Hanno Rein studied Astrophysics at  Cambridge University and is now at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton New Jersey.


I will present several examples of planetary systems that I have worked on, using a variety of techniques, such as the 400 year old theory of orbital dynamics as well as modern supercomputers.  The picture to the left shows the plot of two planets interacting with a proto-planetary disc.


OCTOBER  2013 Thanks to Dr. Mitch Struble (first to discover "StarPiles" ) for an excellent presentation to our members at our October meeting.  Perhaps some of his findings will spur on future papers and further research on what appears to be a most amazing structure!

A FORS1 V image  published in a paper by Ricardo Salinas and colleagues from ESO, Lick & Bonn

This past SEPTEMBER 2011 meeting:  A listing of clips and movies Laura shared is provided on our Members Network So many asked for the list that we thought we would put it on line for us to share.  If you are a member and not in our Members Network, please contact us! 

                 [Last Updated  9-16-13]                   
Assemblage 2005-2012
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