The NASA OSIRIS-REx mission to capture and return a sample of the surface of the asteroid Bennu is scheduled to launch on September 8, 2016 at 4:05 PM from the Kennedy Space Center. The Huachuca Astronomy Club, with the support of The NASA Museum Alliance and the University of Arizona Lunar & Planetary Laboratory (LPL), is planning to host a launch viewing party at the Patterson Observatory on the campus of the University of Arizona Sierra Vista at 1140 N. Colombo Ave Sierra Vista, AZ 85635.
The Observatory will open at 2:30 PM on the 8th for the launch viewing. While plans are still being finalized, HAC is planning to show the launch from a live stream with other live and recorded presentations about the mission and the history of the LPL.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information about OSIRIS-REx you can visit the mission’s home page.
At sunset, following the launch viewing party, the Huachuca Astronomy Club will host their monthly public night sky viewing event at the Patterson Observatory. This star party is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather, but is also free to the public.
The HAC website now has a new area under ‘Resources‘ where we will be adding content regarding all manner of light pollution issues. Bob Gent has already penned a great article drawing on his prior experience as a past president of the International Dark-Sky Association. Please give it a read and pass the link along to your friends and neighbors. We welcome all contributions to our Resources page, no matter which astronomy topic you wish to address.
Slooh is now providing a 24 hour LIVE feed of their telescopes, live shows, and highlights from previous shows. Check out our Resources page dedicated to the video feed.
HAC member Ted Forte has been selected as an OSIRIS-REx Ambassador. The mission of this ambassador program is to provide communities with knowledgeable volunteers to provide mission updates and information to the public about the asteroid sample return mission that is being managed from right here in Tucson. Ted is already a Solar System Ambassador, a volunteer program administered by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena CA. The OSIRIS-REx Ambassador program is managed out of the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program; it will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. The mission is scheduled for launch in late 2016. The spacecraft should reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
The OSIRIS-REx Science Processing and Operations Center is at the University of Arizona. Overall mission management is being provided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. The spacecraft is being built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, CO.
Ted can be reached at and is available to schedule talks at your school, civic organization, or youth group.
The Huachuca Astronomy Club is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, which means your donations are tax deductible!
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