Magic Mountain, Inc., the ski resort property at Glebe Mountain in Londonderry, will be the venue for the courses.
SoVerA has been developing a long term plan to create an astronomy science center in Southern Vermont and is commencing with a series of short courses and one-off seminars for continuing education, general audiences to be held throughout November and early December.
Students from the classes will, on specific evenings, be able to observe through the organizations' variety of portable optical telescopes with the ability to photograph celestial objects with their own cameras. These early evening sessions will be scheduled on a two to three day notice announced in class, based on weather and sky conditions.
SoVerA instructors have been teaching astronomy and conducting observing seminars since their start in 2006.
The organization has grown from a founding group of three to a membership that now numbers over a hundred, including professional members from Columbia University, Dartmouth College and a former telescope manager at the Mauna Kea Observatories.
Professionals regularly give talks for the general public to understand the work they are doing, and experienced observers teach the less experienced members in observing techniques.
The courses at Southern Vermont Observatory (SOVO), this semester are as described below. The registration deadline is Oct. 25.
Introduction to Observing with Dr. Robert (Bob) Dudley
Schedule: Three sessions of about two hours at Magic Mountain on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. on Nov. 9, 16, and 23
Description: This series is designed to give novices the tools required to observe objects in the night sky. The course consists of three components: Observing with the naked eye, observing with binoculars, and observing with a telescope.
Astronomy Foundations with Claudio Veliz
Schedule: Five sessions of two hours at Magic Mountain on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23, and Dec. 7.
Description: The class will be informal yet substantive with hands-on activity and content. It is an introductory level course intended for the astronomically curious. All adults eight-years-old and up are welcome, regardless of their science or technical background.
Sessions: 1. The Universe: Getting Our Minds Around It All, 2. In the Starring Role (the structure and behavior of stars), 3. Planets and Leftovers (asteroids, comets, etc. ), 4. Life (in the universe), and, 5. Playing Scientist: Go Measure the Universe Yourself - (how to observe and measure things in the night sky).
Evening Seminar on the Planets with John Carlson
Schedule: Two sessions of two hours and observing time at Magic Mountain. Courses will take place on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. plus observing time on Nov. 7 and 14.
Description: This presentation will start with the perceptions of planets (wandering stars) held by civilizations before the invention of the telescope. It will continue to the present knowledge of the planets and their moons which have been aided by telescopic observations as well as numerous satellite missions to visit them close up. Major scientific discoveries, which the motions of the planets have led to, will also be discussed. Weather permitting, observation of the planet Venus will also take place.
Planning Your Observing Session with Pat Porch
Schedule: One session of two hours at Magic Mountain on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Description: An observing session is more enjoyable and fulfilling with a little planning. In addition to printed star charts and atlases, there are numerous websites and computer programs that can help plan an observing session, or can help identify the unknown object that was seen. This class will provide an overview of some of the popular online resources, and then actually use these resources to plan an observing session. The class will also show how online resources can satisfy those astro urges on those cloudy nights.
Introduction to Archeoastronomy with Rick Bates
Schedule: One session of two hours and observing time at Magic Mountain on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. and observing time on Dec. 7.
Description: The usual suspects will be considered: Aristotle, Ptolemy and Copernicus, and may venture so far as to glance at Galileo, Brahe and Newton. However, the class will also consider the work of people and cultures not always associated with classical astronomy - the Chinese, the ancient Babylonians and Hebrews, the Hindus, the Arabs, the Polynesians and the Native Americans of North and Central America. The class will undoubtedly think a bit about the Celts and their enigmatic contributions to early science.
SoVerA is a 501(c)(3) organization intent on making astronomy science continuing education available and affordable to everyone. Members have spoken at numerous area schools, colleges and other regional venues.
For more information, course descriptions and registration, visit the SoVerA's web site at www.sovera.org