Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

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Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 4th, 2017, 3:47 pm

This year the Highland Road Park Observatory celebrates its twentieth anniversary. The first public night was in the fall of 1997, and HRPO will have a birthday party sometime probably in November.

The idea to bring a public telescope to East Baton Rouge Parish came from a phone call between LSU astrophysicist Greg Guzik and Melanie Hair. Melanie was a member of BRAS, which was founded by Craig Brenden and Wally Pursell in 1981. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU secured the funding for a 50cm (20in) professional-grade reflector from the Optical Guidance Systems company. Greg ultimately became, and remains, HRPO’s official LSU liaison. BREC (under then-Superintendent Eugene Young) agreed to provided grounds, a building, staff and an operating budget.

BRAS members (mainly Walt Cooney) have used the OGS reflector to discover over three dozen asteroids, the first of which was named after HRPO’s home city of Baton Rouge. More of the asteroids have been named for Greg, Craig, Wally, and BRAS members Frank Conrad and Merrill Hess.

HRPO’s Science Academy is an informal program for children aged eight to twelve and focuses on astronomy, physics, the American space program, geology, meteorology, chemistry, mathematics and the history of such. It has existed at HRPO in one form or another since at least the fall of 2001. At this time there are over eighty active Cadets.

The Friday Night Lecture Series began as a campfire program for families and has since morphed into an indoor presentation for a general adult audience. The quarterly “Wonders of the Sky” talks give active local skygazers a preview of the upcoming Baton Rouge night sky; this talk is traditionally given by HRPO’s Education Curator. For over twelve consecutive years P&A professor Brad Schaefer has thrilled audiences with the “Star of Bethlehem” talk in December. “Buying Your First Telescope” and "Skygazing Binoculars" are presented near the end of the year.

HRPO is open annually for the peaks of the Perseid and Geminid meteor showers. Other annual events include NanoDays, the fall and spring Edge of Night (which premiered in 2016), American Radio Relay League Field Day and the Spooky Spectrum. Easily the most well-attended manufactured event of the calendar year is the annual International Astronomy Day. IAD set a new record for itself in 2016 with over 1100 patrons attended.

Probably the two most well-attended celestial events in HRPO history were the close approach of Mars in August 2003 and the Transit of Venus in June 2012.

The three equal and autonomous partners—BREC, LSU and BRAS—have brought HRPO to the public for twenty years and I have every faith that HRPO will continue for another twenty.

This thread will be used to post alerts about upcoming events this anniversary year at HRPO.

Highland Road Park Observatory:
http://hrpo.lsu.edu

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 9th, 2017, 7:14 pm

"Carrington Events"
Speaker: Brad Schaefer
Date and Time: Monday 9 January at 7pm


A Carrington event is a highly energetic solar flare (probably more powerful than the X9 that damaged the GOES 13 satellite) that, if it hits the Earth, would almost certainly cause havoc to one or more major electrical grids. Professor Schaefer will discuss the possibility of a future Carrington event, and whether we are prepared. The talk is aimed at a general adult audience and has no admission fee.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 11th, 2017, 5:21 pm

NASA Event: American EVA #39
Broadcast on NASA TV
Date and Time: Friday 13 January from 8:30am to 11am


Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will install new batteries and adapter plates. The actual entire length will probably be from ~6am to 12:30pm CST, but HRPO can be open only for the time above. Come join us. There is no admission fee.
Last edited by Christopher K. on January 13th, 2017, 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 12th, 2017, 4:53 pm

"Star Clusters"
Speaker: Rory Bentley
Date and Time: Friday 13 January at 7:30pm


Clusters of stars, whether “open” or “globular”, each have their own unique personality and appeal. LSU physics undergraduate Rory Bentley returns with an overview of the most famous clusters of our skies. The talk is aimed at a general adult audience and has no admission fee.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 12th, 2017, 5:02 pm

Science Academy
Topic: "Expedition 1"
Date and Time: Saturday 14 January at 10am


William Shepherd, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko were the first occupants of the International Space Station, staying from 31 October 2000 to 19 March 2001. How would they fare physiologically and psychologically? BREC Program Aide (and former SA Cadet) Hayley Franklin hosts the slideshow, and BREC Education Program Specialist Amy Brouillette oversees the experiments. Remember, there will be building on the circuit board and sampling of the actual ISS menu! Science Academy is for eight- to twelve-year-olds. The cost is five dollars per child who resides in East Baton Rouge Parish, and six dollars per out-of-parish child.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 17th, 2017, 4:56 pm

"Wonders of the Winter Sky"
Speaker: Amy Brouillette
Date and Time: Friday 20 January at 7:30pm


BREC Education Program Specialist Amy Brouillette helms this quarterly lecture that highlights the deep-sky objects available for view during the winter, along with any planets or comets that may be seen during the winter of 2017 specifically. The talk is aimed at a general adult audience and has no admission fee.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 26th, 2017, 6:14 pm

NASA Event: Release of the HTV-6
Broadcast on NASA TV
Date and Time: Friday 27 January from 9am to 10am

The resupply ship has served its purpose and ISS personnel are in the process of disconnecting it from station systems. HRPO will be open to watch the departure of the HTV-6. The release is scheduled for 9:30am CST. Patrons are welcome to stop by and watch the live broadcast. There is no admission fee.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 27th, 2017, 10:11 am

NASA Event: Apollo 1 Memorial Program
Broadcast on NASA TV
Date and Time: Friday 27 January from 10am to 11am

On this day fifty years ago "Gus" Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee lost their lives during a practice run of the launch of Apollo 204 (retroactively designated Apollo 1). Patrons are welcome to stop by and watch a live NASA broadcast concerning the incident. There is no admission fee.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 27th, 2017, 12:25 pm

"Apollo 1 Fiftieth Anniversary"
Speaker: Tom Northrop
Date and Time: Friday 27 January at 7:30pm


Yes--it's been fifty years since the horrible fire that led to the first multiple fatality at NASA. BREC Center Supervisor Tom Northrop details the accident and the steps taken by NASA to lessen the chance of a similiar incident. The talk is aimed at a general adult audience and has no admission fee.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4376
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Highland Road Park Observatory 20th Anniversary

Post by Christopher K. » January 27th, 2017, 1:31 pm

Science Academy
Topic: "Venus"
Date and Time: Saturday 28 January at 10am


The mysteries and majesty of the hottest planet are revealed to our Cadets. Science Academy is for eight- to twelve-year-olds. The cost is five dollars per child who resides in East Baton Rouge Parish, and six dollars per out-of-parish child.

(This session is a perfect preparation for HRPO's attempts to view Venus through our 20OGS reflector. The viewing attempts will be Saturday 4 February from 5pm to 7pm, and Saturday 11 February from 4:45pm to 6:45pm.)

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