What Does the MVAS Do?
In short, we promote amateur astronomy at every level. The Miami Valley Astronomical Society MVAS serves two primary functions. Our most important mission is public education. We promote education by bringing astronomy to the public through regular star-gazes at our dark sky sight at John Bryan State Park JB, just north of Yellow Springs. We also host many special star-gazes at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery BMD as well as schools, Scout Camps, and other area locations.
Our second function is to provide a forum where members of the MVAS can get together, share ideas on Astronomy subjects, learn from more experienced members, assist new or less experienced members, and simply enjoy the fellowship of a group of individuals sharing a common interest. We promote education among our members by inviting guest lecturers who are often professional astronomers or who teach astronomy at regional colleges and universities. The MVAS also has telescopes and other equipment for use by members.
The MVAS also holds an annual gathering called Apollo Rendezvous. This is a day and a half event held at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery on a Friday night and Saturday in June. The Apollo Rendezvous is different from other gatherings in that it is not centered around a stargaze although our John Bryan State Park Observatory is open that Saturday night for those who wish observe or visit the facility. The "Claim to Fame" of Apollo Rendezvous is the caliber of speakers and programs. Names like Dr. Fugate of the Starfire Optical Range, Rob Landis of STSCI, Astronaut Story Musgrave, Bill O'Neil of JPL, Jack Newton, Richard Berry, just to name a few from the past several years. Programs include presentations, astrophotography competitions, telescope fair, Digistar planetarium and laser shows, astronomy venders, door prizes, raffles, and a wealth of interesting museum exhibits. All in all, a great time for the entire family.
The MVAS holds many public programs and stargazes in addition to regular club activities. Programs are held for public and private schools, city and state parks, public libraries, scout troops, etc. Programs are also scheduled around special astronomical events like eclipses, meteor showers, and visible comets. Many stargazes and programs are regularly scheduled weekly and weekend events while others are special requests. All of the programs are open to the general public. Regularly scheduled events are the Camper Stargazes at John Bryan State Park, and Community Night every third Tuesday evening at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and every clear Friday night at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. The Stargazes page will list the schedule for all of these events.