Rio Rancho
Astronomical Society

A Member Club of the Astronomical League

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The Rio Rancho Astronomical Society began in 1998 as an astronomy club with Rio Rancho High School.  Soon after its founding the club expanded to become an public club, independent of the high school.  Over the years, we have grown and expanded, with new members coming and going, to the current public club we are today.  We are open to all types of members, from beginning astronomers to seasoned veterans.   And no, you don't need to be a master observer or even own a telescope to join.  All you need are a good pair of eyes and willingness to learn.

M-27, The Dumbbell Nebula

The first hint of what will become of our Sun was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of diffuse objects not to be confused with comets. The 27th object on Messier's list, now known as M27 or the Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebula, the type of nebula our Sun will produce when nuclear fusion stops in its core. M27 is one of the brightest planetary nebulae on the sky, and can be seen toward the constellation of the Fox (Vulpecula) with binoculars. It takes light about 1000 years to reach us from M27, shown above in colors emitted by hydrogen and oxygen. Understanding the physics and significance of M27 was well beyond 18th century science. Even today, many things remain mysterious about bipolar planetary nebula like M27, including the physical mechanism that expels a low-mass star's gaseous outer-envelope, leaving an X-ray hot white dwarf.

Source:  Astronomy Picture of the Day

 

October 12th  7:00 PM

Monthly Public Meeting

The Rio Rancho Astronomical Society will host its monthly public meeting on Friday, October 12th starting at 8:00 PM.  The meeting will be held at Rainbow Park Observatory, located at 301 Southern Blvd., Rio Rancho (behind Rainbow Pool).  Special guest speaker, Kevin McKeown, will give a talk on observing planetary nebulas, the beautiful remnants of dying stars.  The meeting is free and open to the public, and telescopes will be set up for observing after the meeting, weather permitting.

For more information, contact RRAS Vice-President, Melanie Templet  at 505-220-5355.

CURRENT MOON

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