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HAL Astroschool in 2023 and 2024

Astroschool is usually held on the 2nd Thursday of most months at the Robinson Nature Center. Start and end times vary, but are approximately 6:30 to 8:30pm.

        The Robinson Nature Center (Map)
        6692 Cedar Lane
        Columbia, MD 21044
        More information about Robinson Nature Center

Thursday, March 14, 2024 from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: What it takes to be an Astrophotographer

Presenter: Jim Johnson, Former HAL President


On March 14th, our own Jim Johnson will present the topic 'What it takes to be an Astrophotographer'.

Thursday, February 8th from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: How Our Moon Was Formed

Presenter: David Stein

The formation of our nearest neighbor, the Moon, has long been the source of much speculation and debate. Did it break off from the young Earth? Was it a captured asteroid? Was it a planet that failed to form? Was it the result of a massive impact and, if so, with what object? (Well, at least we know it's not made of cheese and there is no Man in the Moon!)

Thursday, January 11, 2024 from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: ZWO Seestar S50 - All-in-One Smart Telescope

Presenter: Grace Coventry, HAL's 2nd VP

View or download Grace's updated slides

Seestar 50

This month, Grace Coventry will provide a presentation on the new ZWO Seestar S50 smart digital telescope that HAL has recently acquired. Topics to be discussed include:

  • The smart digital telescope paradigm (compared to traditional optical telescopes)
  • Seestar specifications overview
  • How the Seestar compares with other digital telescopes on the market
  • Different observing modes on the Seestar, with sample images
  • Seestar image post-processing
  • What the Seestar does well, and not so well
  • Final thoughts
  • Q&A

Join us for a lively look into a revolution in electronically assisted astronomy, and what it could mean for the future.

Thursday, November 9th from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: Solar System in Your Pocket

Presenter: Cosmic Storyteller Bob Savoy

How far apart is everything in our solar system? It can be hard to imagine, but this activity can help! The relative distances between the orbits of the planets will be illustrated. Images in textbooks often depict the planets squeezed together, but this model shows how far apart they are, especially beyond Mars.

Thursday, October 12th from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: Black Holes

Presenter: Outerspace Bob Savoy

Black Holes

Listen to the cosmic storyteller, Outerspace Bob, as he expounds on the enigmatic and elusive black holes that are found in nearly every large galaxy.

Thursday, June 8th from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

Presenter: Cosmic Storyteller Bob Savoy

The 3rd meeting of AstroSchool will be this Thursday, June 8th, from 6:30 until 8:30 at the RNC (Robinson Nature Center). There is no charge, and we'll be meeting in one of the classrooms on the mezzanine level. We'll be talking about the scientific and engineering marvel, the James Webb Space Telescope.

Listen to the cosmic storyteller, Outerspace Bob, as he describes the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). What’s the big deal? Isn’t the Hubble Space Telescope enough? How far away from Earth is it? Why? Learn why the JWST is worth the money spent on it.


Thursday, May 11th from 6:30 to 8:30

Topic: The Rings of Saturn

Presenter: Outerspace Bob Savoy

Saturn's Rings

Listen to the cosmic storyteller, Outerspace Bob, as he describes the rings of Saturn and shows pictures and videos of them. Are they solid? Marvel at the intricacies of the separations between the rings. Look at some of the weird shapes of the "shepherd" moons. Learn how one moon is even now creating a new ring. Join us, it will be a visual pleasure. At the Robinson Nature Center (RNC), on the mezzanine level, Thursday, May 11th, 6:30 - 8:30.

Thursday, April 13th from 6:45 to 8:30

Topic: HAL Planetarium Night

Presenter: Cosmic Storyteller Bob Savoy

Step right up! Thursday, April 13th, is the first AstroSchool since the pandemic. It will be in the planetarium of RNC at 6:45 PM. The tickets are going fast, so call 410-313-0400, the Robinson Nature Center (RNC) front desk, and reserve your seat!
Note: This is a members-only event for HAL members.

Comments about HAL Planetarium Night.

Robinson Nature Center

HAL's COVID-19 Policy for Events - Updated May 2023

  • In Howard County, COVID-19 community level is Low. We are following Howard County guidelines:
  • Face coverings are optional inside the Alpha Ridge HALO building. People may choose to mask at any time.
  • If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms or have tested positive for COVID, please be considerate of others and refrain from attending HAL events.
  • For HAL impromptu and member-only star parties, participants should wait for an invitation before approaching to look through others’ telescopes; respect each other’s desires for social distancing.

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Last modified: February 24, 2024 @ 16:44 EST