General Meeting

Next Meeting: Friday, May 6, 2016

Please note that this meeting will be held in the Lunar & Planetary Lab lecture hall Room 308. The address is 1629 E University Blvd. It is located next to (east of) Flandrau Planetarium.

Introductory Presentation – 6:30 PM

Desert Moon

This month’s introductory talk is a film, Desert Moon, the 35-minute award-winning documentary by Jason Davis. Produced in 2014 and narrated by former astronaut Mark Kelly, it shows how Dr. Gerard Kuiper established the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab (LPL).  Interviews with Kuiper’s fellow scientists along with restored archival footage and photos, examine the fascinating chain of events leading to the creation of planetary science, and the central role the University of Arizona played in that chain.

Invited Lecture – 7:30 PM


History of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) , presented by Tim Swindle, LPL Director and Department Head of Planetary Sciences

Dr. Tim Swindle will elaborate on how Dr. Gerard Kuiper came to Tucson in 1960 with a small group interested in the esoteric task of making the best map of the Moon possible. Within a year, going to the Moon was a national priority, so mapping it became essential. From that beginning, the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) grew into one of the world’s largest organizations for planetary science, building instruments for spacecraft that have gone to most of the planets, finding about half of the known asteroids, and generally turning objects that were no more than points of light or small disks in a telescope into places we’ve been. The talk will be about some highlights from that journey.

Tim Swindle has been at UA nearly 30 years. His research is focused on noble gases in extraterrestrial materials (meteorites and lunar samples), and he has spent large portions of four Antarctica summers on field teams searching for meteorites there.


Astronomy Fundamentals Meeting

Next Meeting: Thursday, May 12, 2016

6:30 PM


Location: U.S.G.S. Building, Room 253 (520 North Park Ave)
Contact: Dennis McMacken
Email: fundamentals[at]
Phone: 520-609-7860

Equipment Presentation: MallinCam


Jim O’Connor will discuss his MallinCam video system this month.  Come to learn about one exciting aspect of Astronomical Imaging.

The “Constellation of the Month” has not been decided as yet.  Come and be surprised.  I am looking for people to present future “Constellation of the Month,” whether it is a favorite or a constellation you would like to learn more about.

The Astronomy Fundamentals Special Interest Group is for all TAAA members who want to learn about and share the multiple aspects of the hobby.  It is not just for beginners or new members, though, of course, it is one of the best ways for them to learn about the club and hobby.  Please come and share in the fun, whether to learn something new or share some hard won knowledge.

The USGS Building is on the northeast corner of Park and 6th Street.  Free parking is available nearby after 5pm.  The closest free parking is on the south side of 6th Street.  From Sixth Street turn south on Park, turn left into the alley behind The China Pasta House to get into the parking lot.  Or, park at the meters; they are also free after 5 PM.  There is a fee to park in the Sixth Street parking garage to the east.   The meeting room is on the second floor; use the stairway in the central courtyard.  An elevator is available on request.