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Looking up: Virtual Cosmic Carnival explores all things astronomical

“Sandia Moon Comet” by James Carr

How does a telescope work?

What are the lunar phases?

How do you conduct at-home science experiments?

These are a few of the topics that will be discussed at the Virtual Cosmic Carnival.

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society is continuing the annual event this year by holding it virtually from Sunday, Nov. 8., through Nov. 14.

“It’s been very difficult to make the move online,” says Lynne Olson, spokeswoman for the event. “One of the best things to come out of this move is that we used to have it at the Open Space Center. There would be booths where visitors could talk to each person and see demonstrations. This year, all the participants are creating their own presentation to be viewed online.”

TAAS is collaborating with the Planetary Science Institute and the National Weather Service on the event.

It is also being put on by the city of Albuquerque.

Olson says there are more than a dozen participants.

They include:

Boris Venet gives a lens demonstration to a student.

• Boris Venet: “Boris and his Magic Glass” – “How a Telescope Lens Works” – What we observe by following an actual light beam from a source through the various exposed parts of a simple telescope.

• Bob Havlen: “Black Holes – Watch Your Step!” What black holes are and how we know they exist.

• Jim Roucis: “Our Resident Lunatic” – This presentation describes lunar phases – the cycle of the moon’s illumination as seen from Earth with key concepts and nomenclature for the sun-Earth-moon system.

“Moon Phases” by Jim Roucis

• David Frizzell: “Under the Big, Big, Big Top! Let’s Talk Space” – A short review of the great magnitudes required to describe/understand the vast distances between astronomical objects, their sizes, the numbers of objects and periods of time encompassed by the evolution/duration of objects in the universe.

• James Carr: “After Sunset-Out After Dark!” – A short presentation on Nightscape Photography, capturing a natural setting after dark (including the night sky) with a DSLR camera or smartphone.

• Dee Friesen: “Stars in Your Cellphone!” – Using your cellphone to view the night sky.

• Len Duda: “Ring Around a Planet” – The NASA Cassini spacecraft mission spent 13 years (ending in 2017) orbiting Saturn, providing a wealth of images and information on the planet, rings and moons. This presentation is a brief overview of the mission with a large spread of images of it all.

• Kevin Dilley: “The Solar System in Your Pocket!” – Using just paper, tape and some markers, learn how to construct a scale model of the distances between objects in our solar system, such as the planets, the asteroid belt, and the Kuiper belt.

• Scott Overpeck: “Thunder and Lightning!” – Interviews with local meteorologists on a variety of topics from general weather questions to a career in meteorology.

• Jim Greenhouse: “It’s Alive! or It’s Live!” – Live night sky show,

• Horton Newsom: “It Came From Outer Space!” – Meteoritics is the study of meteorites – solid parts of asteroids or comets that have landed on another celestial body, notably (but not limited to) the Earth.

• Tom Prettyman: “Inner Earth” – What’s inside the Earth? A NASA mission called Psyche will visit an asteroid that might be the core of an igneous protoplanet exposed by collisions.

• Sherri Brueggemann: “Ambassador to the Galaxies” – What would you tell other worlds about ours? A compilation of replies from five years of asking this question.

Melissa Ober is presenting “Science Girl” during the Virtual Cosmic Carnival.

• Melissa Ober: “Making Miracles in the Lab” – Science experiments for all ages and perhaps to try at home – carefully.




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