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The Jersey Astro Conference and Showcase

AAAA Member Jared J. Lutkowski (right) visits with S&T Senior Editor J. Kelly Beatty during JACS 1999. Kelly was a presenter at this year's JACS conference.

AAAA Attends JACS 1999

November 6, 1999

The first Saturday of every November, Amateur Astronomers, Inc., of New Jersey holds it's annual Jersey Astro Conference and Showcase. This year's JACS was held on the Cranford Campus of Union County College,
1033 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, NJ 07016, on Saturday, November 6, 1999, from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Guest speakers at JACS 99 were 

  • Dr. Wil van der Veen, Astrophysicist from Colombia University, The Future of our Sun

  • J. Kelly Beatty, Senior Editor of Sky & Telescope, Exploration of Mars

  • Dr. William Gutsch, President of Great Ideas, Writer, Producer, and popularizer of astronomy, The 7 Greatest Wonders, the 7 Most Important Facts, and the 7 Greatest Mysteries...In the Universe

  • Phil Harrington, Author, Lecturer, and staff writer for Astronomy Harrington on Binoculars, and 

  • Inga Heyer, Astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, The Latest Findings from the Hubble Space Telescope.

"The JACS conference is designed to bring out the astronomical community in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York areas for a day of intensive astronomical atmosphere," says AAI President, Stephen Clark. 

Steve also informed me that this is the only fund-raiser that AAI holds each year, and it is because of this fund-raiser that AAI is able to begin construction on its new observatory in Hope, New Jersey. The observatory, which will house a Celestron CM1400 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, will be used as a dark sky research facility, open to AAI members at their discretion. AAI already holds public observing sessions every Friday evening at the Sperry Observatory, located on the campus of Union County College, from 7:30 - 10:30. The Sperry Observatory houses a 10-inch refractor and a 24-inch reflector. Amateur Astronomers, Inc is on the web at www.asterism.org.

The Jersey Astro Conference and Showcase has a wide variety of speakers, from magazine editors to world renowned astrophysicists. A wide variety of astronomical sales dealers show off their product lines. When not purchasing astronomical equipment, most astronomers can be found in auditorium listening to the speakers. Although the conference hosts many speakers, I will go into detail for only a few of the noteworthy speakers that presented at JACS.

Dr. Wil van der Veen, an astrophysicist from Columbia University, spoke on The Future of Our Sun. His talk went into great detail about the life cycle of the sun. The thing I liked the most was that Dr. van der Veen was able to break the sun's life cycle down from ten billion years to a cycle of one year. Thus, for example, although the sun is about five billion years old, if its life cycle were scaled to one year,  it is currently in the mid-July phase of it's full life. 

The Second speaker  I heard was J. Kelly Beatty, Senior Editor of Sky & Telescope magazine. He spoke on the Exploration of Mars, but specifically on where all the water has gone. He gave much evidence to support the theory that Mars and Earth were at one time twin planets, although it is unknown to scientists how Mars lost it's water. Kelley concluded his presentation with a slide show depicting a three dimensional image of Mars, indicating where water might presently be found on that planet. The S&T web page is http://www.skypub.com.

The last speaker I had the opportunity to hear was Dr. William Gutsch. Dr. Gutsch is a very comical, happy-go-lucky kind of person. He spoke on the Seven Greatest Wonders, the Seven Most Important Facts, and the Seven Greatest Mysteries in the Universe. 

According to Dr. Gutsch, a few of the Mysterious Questions of the Universe are:

1. What and Where is the Universe?
2. What is the age of the Universe?
3. What is the ultimate fate of the Universe? 
4. What is a Black Hole comprised of?
5. Were there other universes in the past besides the one we live in?
6. Are there other universes that co - exist with ours?

Some of Dr. Gutsch's Greatest Wonders of the Universe are:

1. Diffuse Nebulas 
2. Giant Globular Star Clusters
3. Planetary Nebula 
4. Super Novas (These are celestial fireworks)
5. Black Holes
6. Gravitational lensing (mirages) 
7. The Human Mind Itself

Amateur Astronomers, Inc. looks forward to meeting you at JACS 2000, to be held on November 5, 2000. Visit the Amateur Astronomers, Inc.,  web site for more information: www.asterism.org.

Amateur Astronomers, Inc. is a member of the United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey, Located at William Miller Sperry Observatory, Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, NJ 07016

Mr. Jared J. Lutkowski, AAAA
Moosic, PA
jaredm42@uplink.net


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