[Schedule of Events]

The KAS is one of the most active organizations in West Michigan. We hold a wide variety of entertaining and educational events throughout the community. Below is a schedule of all of our upcoming activities. This page is updated regularly, so please visit often. Unless noted otherwise, all KAS activities are open to the general public.


|  Jan  |  Feb  |  March  |  April  |  May  |  June  |  July  |  Aug  |  Sept  |  Oct  |  Nov  |  Dec  |



Introduction to Amateur Astronomy
Saturday, January 21 @ 1:00 pm | Portage District Library


For a long time, the stars were merely pinpoints of light on the black backdrop of the heavens. Before massive telescopes on mountaintops came along, all we could observe were the Sun, Moon, planets, their satellites, and the occasional comet.  Today we know that those pinpoints of light are distant suns and that we live in a remote corner of one galaxy amongst billions.  For our first presentation, we'll travel through our solar system, explore the star clusters and nebulae of our Milky Way Galaxy, and the countless other galaxies in this vast, infinite universe.

NOTE: For more information on the entire series and to register please visit the Introduction to Amateur Astronomy webpage. Participants that attend ALL FIVE parts will receive a Certificate of Completion!






Introduction to Amateur Astronomy
Saturday, January 28 @ 1:00 pm | Portage District Library


Is that a bright star or a planet?  Where's the constellation Orion?  Your first task as an amateur astronomer is to learn your way around the night sky.  Learn how to find any star or constellation in the night sky with the use of a simple star map.  We'll also look at several of the best books geared toward the novice stargazer and the many sophisticated planetarium programs for your home computer.

NOTE:
For more information on the entire series and to register please visit the Introduction to Amateur Astronomy webpage. Participants that attend ALL FIVE parts will receive a Certificate of Completion!


General Meeting
Friday, February 3 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center


The Western Aerospace Launch Initiative (WALI) is a student group at Western Michigan University (WMU) whose goal is to launch a satellite into Earth’s orbit. The group is designing a CubeSat mission for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory through the University Nanosatellite Program. This presentation will discuss CubeSat history, state-of-the-art CubeSat technology, previous missions, WALI’s proposed Air Force mission, and the current status of the design. The proposed WALI mission is to launch a CubeSat that will demonstrate technology relevant to observing electric propulsion systems on orbit for determining possible operational parameters and failure modes.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Kristina Lemmer is an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Western Michigan University. She graduated with her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 2009 from the University of Michigan’s Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory where she studied atmospheric re-entry plasma manipulation for maintaining communications throughout the re-entry process. At WMU, she is director of the Aerospace Laboratory for Plasma Experiments. ALPE has projects related to Electric Propulsion, tethered aerostats and high altitude balloons for scientific discovery, plasma diagnostic development, and CubeSat design.






Introduction to Amateur Astronomy
Saturday, February 11 @ 1:00 pm | Portage District Library


Every amateur astronomer, novice or advanced, should own at least one good pair of binoculars.  They make an ideal first "telescope" because of their wide field of view, ease of use, portability, versatility, and low cost.  Several types of binoculars are available, but which ones are best for astronomy?  You’ll be amazed at what you can see!

NOTE: For more information on the entire series and to register please visit the Introduction to Amateur Astronomy webpage. Participants that attend ALL FIVE parts will receive a Certificate of Completion!






Introduction to Amateur Astronomy
Saturday, February 25 @ 1:00 pm | Portage District Library


Sooner or later, every amateur astronomer faces the decision of purchasing a first telescope. There are literally hundreds of choices today! What's the difference between a refractor and reflector? Which telescope is the right one for you? To make this daunting task easier, we'll compare several of the top telescopes available today and tell you which ones to avoid. We'll also look at the countless array of accessories available for your telescope. If you already have a telescope but need help then bring it along.

NOTE: For more information on the entire series and to register please visit the Introduction to Amateur Astronomy webpage. Participants that attend ALL FIVE parts will receive a Certificate of Completion!



Member-Only Observing Session
Saturday, February 25 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center



Winter nights can be ideal for observing.  When it's actually clear during a winter night in Michigan, the sky can be unbelievably transparent. So, why don't amateur astronomers turn out in droves to winter observing sessions? It's because it gets REALLY, REALLY COLD on a clear winter night! Now comes the time of year when the hardcore members of the KAS brave the frigid temperatures to enjoy the deep sky delights that most people probably miss because of the chilly conditions.

PLEASE NOTE: This session is for KAS Members and invited guests only. If you'd like to attend then JOIN the KAS today!  Our regular pubic sessions will resume in April.





General Meeting
Friday, March 3 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center


The night sky is beautiful beyond measure, but seemingly unchanging. Stars appear fixed in their constellations and constant in their number. However, new stars have temporarily appeared in the heavens above. Today we know that some of these are stars that have exploded, what astronomers call a supernova. Today, they are discovered in great numbers in distant galaxies. Only rarely do they become visible in the night sky with the unaided eye.  The last time this occurred in our galaxy, the Milky Way, was 1604.  The last supernova to become visible with the unaided eye was in 1987.  This did not occur in the Milky Way, but one of its satellite galaxies known as the Large Magellanic Cloud.  SN1987A, as it became known, was special for many reasons.  It was the first naked eye supernova to occur in modern times and the closest in nearly 400 years. It confirmed some of our theories, but taught us a great deal more about the deaths of stars. Join us and learn why these phenomena fascinate, baffle, and delight astronomers.

About the Speaker:
Richard Bell got bit by the astronomy bug at a very early age. He enjoyed looking at pictures of the planets as early as age 4 and got his first telescope at age 8. Richard has had just about every astronomy-related job one can have in Kalamazoo. He worked at the local planetarium for nine years, sold telescopes at a local hobby shop for six years, and taught introductory astronomy courses at most of the surrounding colleges and universities. He currently teaches at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Richard is a lifetime member and current president of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society. Among other duties, Richard also serves as Newsletter Editor, Webmaster, Program Chair, Robotic Telescope Project Chair, and Astronomy Day Coordinator. You can learn more about Richard at on his personal website, Stargazer Online.






Introduction to Amateur Astronomy
Saturday, March 18 @ 1:00 pm | Portage District Library


Astrophotography is the art of photographing the night sky. In the past few years that art has undergone a revolution as digital cameras have overtaken their film counterparts. In some ways this has made the field more technical, but in many ways shooting the sky is easier than ever! We’ll start with the basics like using a stationary photographic tripod and work our way up to imaging with sophisticated CCD cameras. Constellation patterns, the Milky Way, the night-to-night motion of the planets, bright comets, northern lights, and perhaps a meteor all await you.

NOTE: For more information on the entire series and to register please visit the Introduction to Amateur Astronomy webpage. Participants that attend ALL FIVE parts will receive a Certificate of Completion!






Member-Only Observing Session
Saturday, March 25 @ 7:00 pm | Richland Township Park



The work of comet-hunter and nebulae cataloger Charles Messier comes alive in March of each year as amateur astronomers participate in a one night search for all of the objects in his catalog of nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.  By a quirk of fate, we are fortunate that most of the objects Messier and Mechain took 24 years to discover can be observed in one night around the time of the vernal equinox.  Members are encouraged to bring a good pair of binoculars or a telescope and participate in this one night race across the sky.

PLEASE NOTE:  This session is for KAS Members and invited guests only. If you'd like to attend then JOIN the KAS today!  Our regular pubic sessions will resume in April.





General Meeting
Friday, April 7 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center

Details coming soon...






Public Observing Session
Saturday, April 15 @ 8:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a spring evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night include the giant planet Jupiter and its four Galilean moons and the deep sky objects of spring.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






Astronomy Day 2017
Saturday, April 29 @ 10am - 4pm | Location TBA

Details on our award-winning annual outreach extravaganza are coming soon...


Astronomy Day Website




Public Observing Session
Saturday, April 29 @ 8:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center


In the fading light of a spring evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are Jupiter and the Galaxies of the Virgo Cluster.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.





General Meeting
Friday, May 5 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center


The region beyond Neptune contains thousands of small, icy worlds that bear witness to the processes that shaped our Solar System. While the first trans-Neptunian object, Pluto, was discovered nearly 80 years ago, only in the last few decades have we begun to explore this region systematically and understand its rich structure. My colleagues and I are using the 4-meter Blanco telescope in Chile, and its 570 megapixel wide-field camera, DECam, to search for new trans-Neptunian objects to about 24th magnitude over 1/8 of the sky. I will describe our discovery of a possible dwarf planet ("DeeDee") at more than three times Neptune's distance from the Sun. I will also explain how the orbital dynamics of the longest-period trans-Neptunian objects, some of which were discovered by our group, suggest the existence of a very distant new planet with a mass of around 10 times that of the earth. I'll describe the hunt for this "Planet 9" and the prospects for discovering it in our current data.

About the Speaker:
David Gerdes grew up as an avid amateur astronomer. He got his undergraduate degree at Carleton College, and earned his Ph.D. in experimental high-energy physics at the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1998. After working on large particle physics experiments for many years, he returned to his interests in astrophysics and cosmology. His research now uses large astronomical surveys for two different purposes: to study the role of dark energy in shaping the growth and evolution of large-scale structure in the universe, and to understand the dynamics of the most distant members of the Solar System.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, May 13 @ 9:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a spring evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are the Moon, Jupiter, and the Double Stars of Spring.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, May 27 @ 9:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center


In the fading light of a spring evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are the Moon, Jupiter, and the Double Stars of Spring.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.





General Meeting
Friday, June 2 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center

Details coming soon...






Public Observing Session
Saturday, June 10 @ 9:30 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a spring evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are the Moon, Jupiter, and the Saturn.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, June 24 @ 9:30 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a summer evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are JupiterSaturn, and globular clusters.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, July 15 @ 9:30 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a summer evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are Saturn and Super Summer Nebulae.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






General Meeting
Saturday, July 29 @ 6:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center


Mark your calendar. Pray for good weather. It's time for the big social event of the summer for the KAS. So get ready to party!  Here are the details:
 
The KAS will provide the hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie burgers (by order).  You will be required to bring your own beverages, table service, lawn chairs, bug spray, and a dish to pass. Condiments will be provided by the KAS.

While dinner is cooking we will have solar observing available through the 12" LX200 in Owl Observatory and other KAS member telescopes (weather permitting).

Feel free to bring any type of outdoor games or toys to pass the time while we wait for dinner. KAS members are also encourage trot out the results of their latest brainstorming as part of Gadget Night.

Stargazers should be prepared to observe the Moon, Saturn, deep sky objects of summer, and maybe even some really early Perseid meteors. This gathering will take place rain or shine, so be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way!

PLEASE NOTE: The picnic is for KAS members and invited guests only. If you'd like to attend then JOIN the KAS today!  The observing session following the picnic is open to the public.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, July 29 @ 9:30 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a summer evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are craters and mountains on the Moon and Saturn with its majestic rings.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.





PLEASE NOTE: The KAS will be on hiatus in August. No meetings or observing sessions will be held until September. Members will be spread throughout the country to witness the Great American Eclipse on August 21st. Good luck!



General Meeting
Friday, September 8 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center

Details coming soon...






Public Observing Session
Saturday, September 16 @ 8:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of a summer evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are Saturn & deep sky objects inside The Summer Triangle; an asterism make up of the bright stars Vega, Deneb and Altair.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, September 30 @ 8:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of an autumn evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are The Moon, Uranus & Neptune.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.





General Meeting
Friday, October 6 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center

Details coming soon...






Public Observing Session
Saturday, October 14 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of an autumn evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are The Galaxies of Autumn.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.






Public Observing Session
Saturday, October 28 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Nature Center

In the fading light of an autumn evening, we watch the stars appear one by one. Before too long, twilight's window gives way to the starry curtain, signaling the beginning of a night of stargazing. The KAS invites you to a pleasant evening under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself.
 
Highlights of the night are The Moon, Uranus & Neptune.

Sessions will be canceled if the sky is mostly cloudy or overcast. For cancellation information, please check this website starting at 6:00 pm on the day of the session. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.





General Meeting
Friday, November 3 @ 7:00 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center

Details coming soon...





Annual Meeting
Friday, December 1 @ 6:30 pm | Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center




It's time for the annual KAS Holiday Party!  As usual we will be celebrating at our annual meeting on December 1st.  We are planning on starting at 6:30 pm, one half hour earlier than usual. The evening will begin with the party featuring several rousing rounds of BINGO with exciting prizes. Then there will be a short business meeting featuring the election of the 2018 KAS officers and at-large board members.

As in past years, we will have a potluck hors d'oeuvre and dessert extravaganza. The KAS will provide beverages consisting of soft drinks and hot wassail. So, bring your favorite goodie to share and join your fellow KAS members for an evening of friendship and fun. If you are a new member this will be a wonderful opportunity to meet other club members, get acquainted with this year's KAS board, help elect the new officers and board for 2018, and find out what the KAS is all about. Hope to see you there!

PLEASE NOTE:  This event is for KAS Members and invited guests only.  If you'd like to attend then JOIN the KAS today!


General Meeting Page | Directions to KAMSC




Member-Only Observing Session
Wednesday, December 13 @ 7:00 pm | TBA


Most meteor showers occur when Earth passes through a stream of particles left behind by a rouge comet, but the Geminids are different.  This is the only major shower known to be associated with an asteroid (3200 Phaethon).  An observer may see 80 meteors/hour under moonless, rural skies.

PLEASE NOTE:  This event is for KAS Members and invited guests only.  If you'd like to attend then JOIN the KAS today!