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President's Address

June 2018


It’s summer, and it’s hot! But we have been very busy the last few months. We did an outreach at Bogue Chitto that brought out quite a few members, and we just completed our visit to LIGO in Livingston, where we had quite a crowd of members and guests. (In between these events, Nanette and I became grandparents!) We look toward July when Mars will be at its closest point to Earth since 2003. It will also get very bright in the sky, doubling in brightness from June 26 to July 30th. It should be a very impressive view through most telescopes. We are working to plan a Mars event for the end of July. I hope you can devote some time to viewing our closest planetary neighbor. It won’t be this close to us again until 2035. Stay tuned for further info!


While we await the Mars showstopper, Jupiter has moved to the evening sky and dominates the heavens. Saturn has returned to the night sky and is spectacular as always. In October 2017, the rings were widest, displaying a maximum inclination of 27 degrees. After that, they started to tilt inward again, a process that takes 27 years. In 2025, we will not be able to view the rings at all, as they will be edge-on to the Earth. We will then be looking at the bottom side of the rings, which will next hit their widest point in 2032.


We have our Annual picnic scheduled for early October, Officer elections in November, and the December Christmas party is right around the corner. In between all of this, we still find time to do a bit of personal stargazing out at SPMOS, and we have the pictures to prove it! I hope you are checking out the fabulous images being submitted on the Photo Contest page of AstroNola.org, the PAS website. Please vote each time you visit the web page. They are awesome!


Our June meeting will be held Friday June 29th, at 7:30PM at UNO. Our own PAS member Gabe Dickens will be handling the presentation on Astronomy Economics. Barry Simon will also have an update on the changes to the Deep South Star Gaze in November. I hope to see all of you at the meeting. Bring a guest!


Bill Johnson
PAS President 2018

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