AAAP September 9, 2016 Monthly Meeting, 7:30 PM, Bayer Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center

Meeting Update:

Thank you to Astrobotic Technology and their Public Relations and Customer Care Coordinator Mandy Fleeger and Senior Electronic Engineer John Branthoover and the 28 Members and 3 Guests who attended the AAAP September Meeting! Not bad attendance considering the Liberty Bridge was closed. Mandy and John informed us on Astrobotic Technology,  the premier private space technology corporation in the world, and is it based here in Pittsburgh! John’s talk was fascinating with still images and video showing robots fit for harshest terrains and conditions, flying autonomous crafts capable of LIDAR informed decision making for landing site selection and independent landing, drones in lava tubes, etc. Astrobotic is the only firm to win all three Google Milestone Prizes. Mr. Branthooler designed the camera which won Astrobotic’s Google Milestone Imaging Prize.  In contention for the Google Lunar X Prize, Astrobotic will launch to the Moon no later than the end of 2017. In the meantime they are partnered with Airbus and DHL and continue with each additional  freight contract to increase the profitability of the mission. We have special announcement for AAAP members who attended the meeting as well as those who missed it. Let this announce to our Members Only we are invited to a private tour.  If you are interested in one of the proposed tours, date/time to be determined, please send and email to VicePresidentAT3ap.org with “A Private Tour” in the header stating your  preference to day or evening along with your full name as registered on the AAAP Membership List, email address and phone number. A $5 across the dues increase will occur January 1, 2017. It does not apply to Student Memberships. Early bird 2017 dues paying now, prior to January 1 avoids the increase. AAAP is Participating in Washington Gives Day, Tuesday September 13, 2016. Please see the calendar for upcoming observatory star parties and off-site observing events. Best Regards.  Kathy D. ,  AAAP Vice President

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AAAP Business Meeting – Friday, September 9th, 2016 at the Carnegie Science Center

Guest Speaker John Branthoover Soft-Lands On the Moon

The September 9, 2016 meeting speaker comes to us from Astrobotic Technology, the lunar logistics firm spun out of CMU’s robotics institute in 2007. John Branthoover, one of Astrobotics’ senior electrical engineers, is our guest. Team Astrobotic won three Google Milestone Prizes: The Landing Prize ($1 million), Mobility Prize ($500,000), and Imaging Prize ($250,000), for a total of $1.75 million in prize winnings! Astrobotic has entered into partnerships with DHL and Airbus in their competition for the Google LunarXprize as well as their quest to establish a regular privately-owned lunar payload system. Astrobotic is one of three companies partnered with NASA through the Lunar Cargo Transport and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) to advance robotic landing capabilities. Their newly unveiled Peregrine lander features Aerojet Rocketdyne engines. Their next launch is planned for 2017.

The September meeting takes place in the Carnegie Science Center’s Bayer Science Stage starting at 7:30 pm. It’s been a long time since the U.S. soft-landed anything on the Moon. This is a good chance to learn about the next Giant Leap.

Room Change for Tonight’s AAAP Meeting

Room Change: The entire meeting will be held in the Buhl Planetarium!

So instead of gathering in the  Bayer Science Stage Auditorium, we will gather in the Lobby before the meeting and head up to the planetarium at 7:30.

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The April Meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will be held at 7:30 PM, April 8, 2016, at Carnegie Science Center, Buhl Planetarium and features the  planetarium show, “The Beginner’s Guide to the Universe.” Gather promptly in the lobby area as we will travel together to the planetarium for the annual planetarium show.  Once the show begins no late arrivals will be admitted. The doors will re-open after the show, as we will remain in the planetarium for the meeting.

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April 8, 2016 AAAP Meeting, Carnegie Science Center, 7:30 PM

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The April Meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will be held at 7:30 PM, April 8, 2016, at Carnegie Science Center, Buhl Planetarium and features the  planetarium show, “The Beginner’s Guide to the Universe.” Gather promptly in the lobby area as we will travel together to the planetarium for the annual planetarium show.  Once the show begins no late arrivals will be admitted. The doors will re-open after the show, as we will remain in the planetarium for the meeting.

 

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March AAAP Meeting, 7:30 PM, Friday, March 18, 2016, Carnegie Science Center, Dr. Carles Badenes , Binary White Dwarf Mergers

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Kick-off Carnegie Science Center “Space Out! (Astronomy) Weekend*” at the AAAP March Meeting, 7:30 PM, Friday, March 18, 2016, Carnegie Science Center. The featured guest speaker is Dr. Carles Badenes  from the University of Pittsburgh. Previously another program was announced, but upon that presenter’s unavailibilty AAAP has the good fortune of host Dr. Badenes.

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Dr. Badenes  will talk about binary white dwarfs and what happens when they merge.  A team of astronomers led by Carles Badenes helped to clarify the origins of an important type of exploding star utilizing data from a little-known feature of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) .

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AAAP February Meeting Features Brashear Time Capsule 7:30 PM, Friday, February 12, 2016

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AAAP February Meeting, 7:30 PM, Friday, February 12, 2016 features guest speaker Art Glaser from the Heinz History Center to discuss the contents of the Brashear Time Capsule found during the March 17, 2015 demolition of the John A. Brashear Factory  (Perry South neighborhood of PittsburghPennsylvania). The meeting location is Allegheny Observatory, 159 Riverview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15214, United States. Carpooling is encouraged to economize parking. For more information and updates check back here as the date nears, AAAP Facebook and look forward to the AAAP February Guide Star Newsletter. Read more about John A. Brashear here.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.