What we do

The Keene Amateur Astronomers Club is a group of people whose goal is the enhancement of Amateur Astronomy by education, fellowship, sharing knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby. The KAA Club provides outreach programs particularly with the Keene public library and holds monthly viewing sessions at our own observatory. Regular monthly club meetings are held at the Keene State college. Anyone interested is invited to attend. Our membership is open to students, parents, beginners, backyard amateurs and also experienced professionals. And we provide opportunities for our members to grow in one of the greatest hobbies in this world or any other! Founded in 1957, our club has a long and distinguished history and is a non-profit corporation registered with the State of New Hampshire. We are also members of the Astronomical League and participate in the annual Stellafane Convention which is consistently rated as one of America's top Star Parties.

December 2019 Club Meeting & Observing

Our monthly formal club business meeting and observing will be held on December 6th at 7 pm at member Bruce Norlund's home, 267 Gilsum Street, Keene, with observing afterwards. Contact the club Secretary, Gabe Klueh, for directions. Our December program will feature several presentations. NASA and Hubble podcasts of the month's skies, interesting aspects including the mythology of the constellations below, and other timely topics will be included. Weather cooperating, following the formal meeting, members will adjourn for nocturnal viewing. Weather permitting, the month's formal observing session will be held on the 7th at 7 pm at the Sullivan Observatory.

As the year progresses, club members focus on different visible constellations. Prior to our next meeting, we encourage you to check out these constellations: November: Andromeda, Cassiopedeia, and Pisces and for December: Aries, Perseus, and Triangulum. For a quick view of today's sky, check the interactive Heaven's Above sky chart.

View This Month's Sky and Folklore

NOTE: Before you venture outdoors, check the videos and resources to be sure to which objects are visible this month:

  • Two excellent live videos of the current skies
  • What's Up - NASA is a sample of the objects to view with a video of the night sky.
  • Hubble-Tonight's Sky gives backyard stargazers a monthly guide to the northern hemisphere's skywatching events with "Tonight's Sky."
  • Excellent resources for your celestial viewing
  • Constellations: Guide to the Night Sky gives an excellent overview of the all constellations including charts and extensive mythology.
  • What's Up Doc? gives a nice printable listing of the celestial objects, meteors, and naked eye, binocular, and telescope objects.
  • SkyMaps gives you a printable 2-page monthly guide to the night sky suitable for all sky watchers, including newcomers to Astronomy.
  • Monthly Maps focuses on the monthly constellations and folklore
  • Sky Calendar provides a very detailed monthly calendar.
And for an overview of the celestial objects to focus on this week, check the weekly: "The Sky This Week".

The Autumn Constellations

Fall began with the autumn equinox which occurred on September 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere and ends in December at the winter solstice. The autumn constellations are the 13 constellations that fall between 18 hours and 0 hours Right Ascension. Here are several resources to help you in your viewing during the coming months.

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers provides a list of the 13 autumn constellations and a detailed map of the sky. They also provide similar information for the other seasons.

For greater details on the sky's wonders, move your fingers over to the star website at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Or check out the details of the constellations and their stars at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

And, of course, surf around for the amazing software programs available for your computer, phone, or X device. Check out Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel - excellent free programs for your laptop or desktop. For your tablet or smart phone, give SkySafari a look.

Local Astronomy Opportunities

The Southern Vermont Astronomy Organization, SoVerA, located in Chester, VT, was created for the members to gain, reinforce, sustain and share their knowledge of the nature of the universe with others. They are very active with interesting monthly lectures and discussions along with numerous star parties and viewing sessions. Please contact President Claudio Veliz at cvarc@earthlink.net.

Perkin Observatory
The Perkin Observatory at the Dublin School, located in Dublin, NH, is an educational center for exploring the Universe. Their advanced astro-imaging and viewing equipment allow students and community members to explore the universe. The Perkin Observatory will be open to the public every Sunday evening starting 1 hour after sunset until 10:30 PM if the skies are clear. Please contact Erik Schmitt at eschmitt@dublinschool.org .

State-wide Observing

There are a number of NH organizations/clubs/observatories/schools which provide events for the general public and maintain a website. For a complete listing, click here.

Robert Taylor Receives National Astronomical League's Lunar Observing Certificate

The Keene Amateur Astronomers Club is proud to announce that Robert Taylor, Club President/Treasurer, has recently been awarded the Astronomical League's Lunar Observing Program Certificate. This is a significant achievement and, due to the observing requirements for 100 specific moon features requires a significant time commitment. Click here to check it out!
Bob was also previously awarded the Astronomical League's Constellation Hunter Program - Northern Skies Certificate. Click here! Congratulations, Bob!

Astronomy League Constellation Hunter & Lunar Observation Programs

The Astronomical League offers many different astronomical observing programs. These programs are designed to provide a direction for observations and to provide a goal. The programs have awards, pins, and public notice to recognize the observers' accomplishments and for demonstrating their observing skills with a variety of instruments and objects. Our club is continuing its involvement with the Astronomical League's Constellation Hunter Program and Lunar Observation Program for 2018. We are providing the resources on this site for successful completion of both of these activities.

The Constellation Hunter Program provides an orientation to the sky for beginning astronomers. No special equipment (other than a planisphere and a reference for the brighter star names) is required. The objective is to provide a forum for the observer to become more familiar with the constellations and brighter stars and to begin to learn to navigate among the stars.

The Lunar Observation Program provides an opportunity to observe 100 special features of our moon. It is well balanced, providing opportunity to observe using naked eyes, binoculars, and telescopes.

Viewing the ISS and Iridium Flares

Visit Heavens Above and input your observing site coordinates. Check for sighting information on the International Space Station and on the Iridium satellites.

A Recent Club Star Party

The left photo below was taken at a recent star party at the Keene observatory with members from SoVerA, KAA, and the KSC CALL program. The photo on the right is a shot of the inside the observatory with members Jim Faux, Phinie Faux, and Bob Taylor. Both photos were taken by Claudio Veliz, SoVerA/KAA.

Never Leave Your Camera Home...

The above image of the International Space Station was taken by Gabe Klueh on August 11th, 2016, at the KAA Perseid Meteor Star Party at the club's Observatory. Gabe used his Canon Rebel T3i [f/5, 8mm, 25sec., ISO 3200] and his tripod.

Sun and Moon - Keene, NH

Astrospheric Weather - Keene, NH

Tonight's Sky - Keene, NH