Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society

Sharing the Wonders of the Universe

MISSION STATEMENT

The purpose of the society is to foster interest in astronomy, to encourage and assist members in the study of astronomy and in the making and use of astronomical instruments.

The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society (SVAS) is a nonprofit educational society. One of the oldest astronomical societies in the United States, it was founded in 1945 by 50 local astronomy enthusiasts. SVAS members range from young students and amateurs curious about the night sky to many college professors and even a world-famous comet hunter.

The SVAS serves the community of Northern California through its successful and long-standing Outreach programs and its membership through programs such as telescope workshops, loaner telescopes program and member star parties. The SVAS maintains an Observatory on Forest Service lands high in the Sierra Mountains for use by its members.

Donate

Welcome

Teachers

Curious

Observers

Imagers

When the science class gets to the subject of Astronomy, we can help.

  • Daytime solar viewing. Our volunteers, with safely filtered telescopes, will show your students the sun. We have white light and Hydrogen Alpha filters that reveal solar prominences.
  • Evening star parties. At your location, we can show your class(es) solar system objects and, if conditions are right, deep sky objects.
  • Contact our Outreach Director - outreach@svas.org
  • Outreach/School Star Parties

If you just like to learn all you can about Astronomy, we get that.

  • Monthly General Meetings are a great place to come and learn more about Astronomy. We have presentations by our own club members and guest speakers, and the room is filled with like minded enthusiasts to share information.
  • Newsletters. The SVAS Observer is rich with information on upcoming club activities, special events, and articles related to astronomy in general. The SVAS Observer newsletter is published every other month.
  • Public Events. Check our events calendar for times and locations of our public outreach events, like Sunday Funday at Rusch Park, or any celestial event like comets and eclipses.

If you have your own equipment, we've got a place for you.

  • Monthly Star Parties. We meet at our dark sky site in the Sierra's on the Saturday nearest the New Moon.
  • Share knowledge. We've got members of all levels and some are quite proficient in the hobby. There is usually help nearby at Star Parties or in our email forum.
  • Outreach. A large part of our mission, and because it's fun, is our public outreach. Sharing the joys of Astronomy with the public is as rewarding as it sounds.

For the serious observer and imager, check it out.

  • Henry Grieb Observatory Members have access to our observatory on star party nights.
  • Imaging Gallery. Post your work on our website.
  • Monthly image processing class using PixInsight and RC Astro tools.
  • Bi-yearly image acquisition class using N.I.N.A.
  • Optional, as requested. Image processing class using free software: GraXpert, Siril and Gimp.
  • Members gain access to the library of data captured by the club's Stellarvue SVX152.

Highlights

Outreach/School Star Parties

Observing Trips

Scholarships

Amateur Telescope Making

Monthly Star Parties

Public Events

Newsletter

General Meetings

Monthly Imaging Classes

Outreach/School Star Parties

In addition to Public Events, we make our scopes available by appointment. . .

School Star Parties

School star parties are events where SVAS volunteers go out to a host organization’s planned event with telescopes and educational astronomy presentations and activities. Please note that this is an educational, not entertainment, program. For those who qualify we will travel to an appropriate location of your choice within a 30 mile radius of Sacramento.

For more information or to book an event, review the Star Party Guidelines

Observing Trips

Yosemite Glacier Point

In June, July, and August, amateur astronomers often set up telescopes at Glacier Point on Saturdays, and astronomy walks or talks are also be offered in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona.

Black Butte Lake Star Party

Black Butte Lake is the perfect place for a star party. The skies are dark and comparable to Shingletown or Adin. Access is easy and the roads are excellent. Camping and RV sites are clean and spacious. Water, restrooms, hot showers, an on-site dump station, wildlife and cooperative rangers all will contribute to a comfortable and pleasant stay. All lights will be controlled by the park rangers in the campground, so light pollution will be at a minimum.

Few places in California combine such pastoral character with dark skies and comfortable camping. And in spring, the rolling oak foothills will be carpeted with green grass.

Because of limits on the number of people and vehicles, this star party is private. Attendance is by invitation only!

Black Butte Lake Star Party

SVAS Science Scholarship Program

The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society has two science related Scholarship Programs. Check back to find out when these funds are available.

Amateur Telescope Making (ATM)

Lonnie Robinson brings you the very best in Amateur Telescope Making (“ATM”). He can help with all aspects of Dobsonian telescope building from design and construction to mirror making. He is happy to help with “telescope tune ups” involving mirror cleaning, collimation, and adding equipment upgrades.

Lonnie's website is: www.hourglass-telescope-mirrors.com

Engineering Lightweight Dobsonian Telescopes
by Lonnie Robinson
Updated 2013

John Dobson really started something with his Dobsonian “Dob” telescope design. He enabled the average Amateur Telescope Maker “ATM” to create a large and very stable telescope with common workshop tools. In this article, Lonnie shares his personal thought process and his lightweight Dob building adventure with you, hopefully adding some additional fresh ideas to help inspire your new Dob telescope project.

Star Parties

Monthly Star Parties

Each month, on the Saturday closest to the New Moon, members and their guests gather under the stars for some great dark sky viewing.

Rules Governing the USFS Special Use Permit

Star BQ

This is our major event of the year. Just like a Monthly Star Party only with: Potluck, Raffle, Bar-B-Q.

SVAS Star-BQ 2018, a film by Jason Raley

General Meetings

On the third Friday of each month, at 8:00pm, join us for interesting speakers and conversation.

Newsletter

The SVAS Observer

The SVAS Observer is the official newsletter of the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society.

You can find information on upcoming club activities, special events, and articles related to astronomy in general.

Here's our May 2020 issue:

Observer May-June 2020


Submissions

Articles: Except for individually copyrighted stories, permission is granted to other amateur astronomy organizations to reproduce in whole or in part for internal non-profit use, provided credit is given to the SVAS Observer and to authors of the reproduced materials.

Submit articles: Manuscripts and letters from members are welcome via email in Word (preferred) or text format. Items may be emailed to the editor at newsletter@svas.org. Please write “SVAS Observer” in the title of your email.

Deadline for the following month’s newsletter is always the 22nd of the month.

Advertising— Commercial, non-personal advertising, business card through full page, is available. Contact editor for more information. Classified advertising is free to members of the SVAS. Submit ads to editor.

Copyrighted material appears in this publication solely for non-profit educational and research purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.

The Observer Archives

Take a look at the great collection of Lonnie's Newsletters since 2012. . .

Lonnie Robinson, (Editor 2012-2017)

Public Events

Celestial Events

Events like comets, solar and lunar eclipses, meteor showers and planetary oppositions, are great opportunities to get the public exposed to the thrills of astronomy. Check our Upcoming Events to see if something is on the horizon.

The Eclipse, with Dave and Walt, on ABC10tv


Public Outreach Award


Monthly Imaging Classes

  • Monthly image processing class using Pixinsight and RC Astro tools.
  • Bi-yearly image acquisition class using N.I.N.A.
  • Optional, as requested. Image processing class using free software: GraXpert, Siril and Gimp.
  • Members gain access to the library of data captured by the club's Stellarvue SVX152.

Click images for full resolution.

M101

Community Observatory's TEC 180 refractor:
21x120" B
21x120" G
18x120: L
20x120" R
Total Integration Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Camera: QHY268M
Filters: Astrodon LRGB

SVAS Stellarvue 152T refractor:
68x120" L
75x120" R
71x120" G
74x120" B
Total integration time: 9 hours 36 minutes
Sky Quality: 21.5
Camera: QHY600M
Filters: Chroma LRGB

M101, The Pinwheel Galaxy. For this project, SVAS collaborated with the Community Observatory to capture the same image. A little over 12 hours of combined exposure time was processed between the 2 refractors.


M81

122x120" L
130x120" R
125x120" G
124x120" B
40x600" Ha
Total integration time: 23 hours 22 minutes
Sky Quality: 21.3 for LRGB, ~18 for Ha
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX152
Camera: QHY600M
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI 290mm
Filters: Chroma LRGB
Mount: iOptron CEM120
Computer: Mele Quieter 2q
Focuser: Pegasus Focus Cube v2
Camera Rotator: WandererAstro Mini
Pegasus DewZap controller and 2 Dew Not heater strips

Bode's Galaxy, The Cigar Galaxy and The Garland Galaxy (M81, M82 and NGC3077). The project begun December 2023 from Blue Canyon. A partial night was added from Long Point February 2024. Ha was added March 2024.


NGC6888

6x60" R
6x60" G
6x60" B
31x600" Oiii
45x600" Ha
Total integration time: 12hours, 58 minutes
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX152
Flattener: 1x Flattener, 1200mm focal length
Camera: QHY600M
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI 290mm
Filters: Chroma RGB, 3nm H,O
Mount: iOptron CEM70, EQ8
Computer: Mele Quieter 2q
Focuser: Pegasus Focus Cube v2
Camera Rotator: WandererAstro Mini


M51

51x120" L
54x120" R
52x120" G
52x120" B
Total integration time: 6 hours 58 minutes
Sky Quality: 21.6
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX152
Camera: QHY600M
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI 290mm
Filters: Chroma LRGB
Mount: iOptron CEM70
Computer: Mele Quieter 2q
Focuser: Pegasus Focus Cube v2
Camera Rotator: WandererAstro Mini
Pegasus DewZap controller and 2 Dew Not heater strips

Leo Triplet

107x120" R
100x120" G
107x120" B
110x120" L
Total integration time: 14hours, 8 minutes
Location: Long Point
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX152
Flattener: 1x Flattener, 1200mm focal length
Camera: QHY600M
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI 290mm
Filters: Chroma LRGB
Mount: iOptron CEM120
Computer: Mele Quieter 2q
Focuser: Pegasus Focus Cube v2
Camera Rotator: WandererAstro Mini


Upcoming Events

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*Public Events

Calendar of Astronomical Events (in-the-sky.org)

(View the calendar at in-the-sky.org for more controls and features.)

Observatories







The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society maintains observatories in the Northern California Sierra mountains for use by its members and for research purposes.



Learning About Astronomy

Astronomers

Telescopes

NASA Space Place
Just for kids

Astronomy Picture of the Day



Online Tools

Clear Dark Sky

Current Sun Image*

Current Sun AIA304*

Heavens Above

Sky-at-a-glance

The Sky Live

Sky & Telescope News

Astronomy Magazine News

Armagh Observatory Blog

SPACE.com

NASA.gov

CalSky

*Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams

Donations


As a 501(c)3 organization, your donations to the SVAS are tax deductable.

Please consider a donation through the .

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Membership

Membership

  • Monthly Member Star Parties
  • STAR-B-Q! (Our Big Annual Star Party)
  • Monthly Imaging Classes
  • Observatories under Dark Skies
  • Night Sky Network
  • Free General Meetings w/ Renowned Speakers
  • Members Only Email Groups

How to Become a Member

To become a member of the SVAS, please use our Online Membership Form to fill out, print, and mail the application to the address indicated on the form along with a check for your yearly dues. The online form is designed to work with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers. If you have problems with this, use the PDF Membership Form to print and fill out offline..

Approval of all SVAS membership applications must be voted on by the Officers and Directors of the Board. This occurs at the monthly Board Meeting.

Review the SVAS Bylaws
Review the SVAS Special Rules of Order
Review the Rules Governing the USFS Special Use Permit

Membership Types

Annual Dues
GENERAL: Individual or all family members (in same household) enjoy monthly star parties, the Annual STAR-B-Q, loaner scopes, telescope making, and more.

Contact Us

Officers

President

Gergo Baldauf

president@svas.org

 

Vice-President

 

vicepresident@svas.org

 

Secretary

Bryan Smith

secretary@svas.org

 

Treasurer

Awanish Mishra

treasurer@svas.org

 




Other Contacts

Past-President

Lonnie Robinson

pastpresident@svas.org

 

Committees

ATM – Amateur Telescope Making: Lonnie Robinson
Media Contact: Michal Warzecha; Awanish Mishra
Membership: Kevin Normington
Newsletter: Awanish Mishra (Editor)
Observatory: Chuck Real (Observatory Director)
Outreach/School Star Parties: Michal Warzecha
Scholarship: Michal Warzecha
Speaker Seeker: Mike Bailey
Web Site: Kevin Normington (webmaster)

Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society
PO BOX 15274
SACRAMENTO CA 95851-0274

501(c)(3) Registered Nonprofit Organization - Donate