Las Cruces Clear Sky Clock
Las Cruces Clear Sky Clock

M104 (The Sombrero Galaxy), image by Kirby Benson
The Next ASLC Meeting is:
February 26, 2016 @ 7:30 pm

Speaker: Alex Woronow
Amateur Astro-Spectroscopy

Location: Dona Ana Community College
(Main Branch)
Room 141 (map)

Contact the Club President for additional information

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Upcoming Observing Opportunities:

ASLC MoonGaze
(Int'l Delights Cafe)
Sat, February 13th (dusk)

Dark Sky Observing @ Leasburg Dam SP
(ASLC Observatory at LDSP)
Saturday, February 06 (dusk - 8:00 pm)

   Quick Links


M31Greetings from the professional and amateur astronomers who comprise the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces (ASLC). The club was formed in 1951 by a group of dedicated astronomers including Clyde Tombaugh, who had discovered Pluto just 21 years earlier. For nearly 65 years, we've been sharing a little bit of the universe with our community under our beautiful Southern New Mexico skies.

The club has a variety of ongoing observing, education and public outreach programs. We host a public Moongaze each month, offer beginning astronomy courses and support countless star parties for schools, scouts and various organizations. We also hold a meeting each month which includes a featured presentation.

To learn more about our society, please click here or select from the tabs above or the 'Quick Links' on the left.

weatherWhat's in the Sky Tonight (Thursday, February 11, 2016)


  • Sun - Sunset occurs at 5:49 pm (MST). Civil twilight ends at 6:14 pm. Astronomical twilight ends around 7:12 pm.
  • Moon - Thin crescent moon sets at 9:31 pm.

Bright Planets

  • Mercury - In the morning pre-dawn sky (in Sagittarius). Rises at 5:32 am (Feb 12). Mercury is low in the pre-dawn (eastern) sky - about 4° NE of Venus.
  • Venus - In Sagittarius. Shines low in the East about an hour before dawn. Rises at 5:17 am (12 Feb).
  • Mars - Mars is high in the eastern sky before dawn (in Libra). Rises at 12:33 am (12 Feb).
  • Jupiter - In Leo. Jupiter rises in the east at 7:56 pm, and is high in the sky during much of the night.
    • Io's shadow transits from 10:54 pm until 1:04 am.
    • Io transits from 11:28 pm until 1:38 am
    • Jupiter's giant red spot transits around 1:00 am (12 Feb).
  • Saturn - In Ophiuchus. Rises at 2:28 am on Feb 12. Saturn is visible in the ESE beginning about 2-3 hours before sunrise.

This Month's ASLC Meeting

The next monthy ASLC meeting will be held on Friday, February 26th in room 141 (Main Branch, DACC) at 7:30 pm. The group usually gets together around 7 pm to talk about recent events and socialize a bit. Club business and upcoming events are discussed at 7:30. The presentation usually begins around 8 pm. Meetings are free and open to the public.

This month's ASLC speaker is Alex WoronowAlex

Presentation: Amateur Astro-Spectroscopy. Facets of the physical and chemical attributes of stars, nebulae, and novae lie exposed to simple spectrographic equipment, affordable to many amateur astronomers. The spectrographic observations made by amateurs can contribute significantly to professional studies, and many “campaigns” organized through amateur interest-groups provide these contributions.

In Astronomy the accessible frequencies of light lie between the near infrared and the violet, bounded by the absorption of more extreme frequencies by the earth’s atmosphere, at least for the earth-bound amateur astronomers. To a first approximation, stars emit light continuously across the visible spectrum, but ions, atoms, and molecules punctuate the continuum. Some of the ions and atoms, and a few molecules, may be near the stellar surface, in what is called the “reversing layer,” or just below that, where the photons originate, in the stellar photosphere. Others may be in interstellar clouds that lie between us and a star. These three regions, and some significant others, lie open to spectroscopic analyses of pressures, temperatures, large- and small-scale motions, as well as chemical compositions.

This presentation will renew our understanding of light’s interaction with its environment, look at the range of the equipment and software that amateurs use in their spectrographic observations, and survey some of the recent campaigns amateurs have undertaken in support of professional spectrographic studies




Astronomical League  
The Astronomical Society of Las Cruces is a member of the Astronomical League

International DarkSky Association  
ASLC supports the eradication of light pollution by its participation in the International DarkSky Association

International DarkSky Association  
ASLC supports the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (founded by ASLC co-founder, the late Walter Haas)

` `` © 2015 Rich Richins