December News: MAVEN Mission Telecon, Citizen Science, & Much More
Visitors enjoy the views from a large Dobsonian telescope at the Public Star Party in Bowie Nature Park in Fairview, Tennessee, hosted by the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society.
Image Credit: Theo Wellington
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NSN Members: We have tons of news you can use this month! Save the date: We have a special Night Sky Network members-only telecon on the latest results from the MAVEN mission on December 15th. We also have opportunities for citizen science with Juno and astronomy in Chile. We also have a few updates for club coordinators as this year comes to a close. We even have some extra articles and resources this month as well. 
Image of the 2016 NSN award pins

Club Coordinators: We have some exciting updates for you as we close out 2015. Check out our dedicated update just for you for information on 2016 Outreach Award Pins, a special prize drawing, and more!
More club coordinator information here:
  1. NSN Member Telecon: Results from the MAVEN mission to Mars, with Dr. Matt Fillingim (Next week!)
  2. Applications are now being accepted for the Astronomy in Chile Educators Ambassadors Program
  3. Citizen Science with JunoCam
  4. Congratulations to our Q3 event log prizewinners! 
  5. Featured  Activity: Head's Up! It's a Meteor Shower Handout!
  6. Featured Article: What to Watch in the Late Fall Skies
  7. Universe Discovery Guide for December: 
1. NSN Member Telecon: Results from the MAVEN mission to Mars, with Dr. Matt Fillingim

Artists rendering of Mars losing its atmosphere

On Tuesday, December 15 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT, Dr. Matt Fillingim from the Berkeley Space Sciences Lab will join Night Sky Network members  for an talk on the latest results from NASA's MAVEN mission, which is currently orbiting Mars in order to investigate the mystery of what happened to the long-lost Martian atmosphere.
Call-in information is below, after our speaker's biography. Slides are now available in both Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat (PDF) formats on our dedicated resource page.

artists depiction of NASA's MAVEN probe in orbit around Mars
About Our Talk:
The MAVEN Mission was launched in 2013 and began its orbital science mission around Mars in 2014 to investigate the mystery of Mars' vanishing atmosphere. One year after beginning its science mission, MAVEN has begun to unravel the billion-year old mystery of how Mars lost most of its air-and what is happening to its remaining atmosphere.
NSN  Member Call-In Information:
Tuesday, December 15 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT
NSN members are invited to join the live telecon by calling the toll-free line:  1-888-455-9236
Call up to 15 minutes before the telecon begins. An operator will answer and:
 You will be asked for the passcode: NIGHT SKY NETWORK
 You will be asked to give your NAME and the CLUB you belong to as well as the number of people listening with you.

The ACEAP 2015 Team at CTIO. (Photo by Tim Spuck/AUI)

2. Applications are now being accepted for the Astronomy in Chile Educators Ambassadors Program
If you have a love of astronomy, a thirst for travel, and a desire to share this passion with others apply now to become one of the 2016 Ambassadors in the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program (ACEAP). This program, in its second year, will bring amateur astronomers, planetarium personnel, and astronomy educators of all levels to several of the U.S.-funded astronomy facilities in Chile. While there, this first class of ambassadors will receive in-depth, behind-the-scenes information on the instruments, science, and research coming out of some of the world’s most productive and advanced astronomy observatories. In addition, participants will learn essential communication skills to help share these exciting experiences with others.

A total of nine ambassadors will be selected each year from across the United States and its territories. The second ACEAP Expedition is scheduled for June 10-20, 2016. The nine-day expedition will include stops at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), Gemini-South Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

To learn more about the program and to apply, go to: or visit us on Facebook at to check out recent activities and the 2015 ACEAP experience in Chile.

3. Citizen Science with JunoCam

NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter is due to arrive at our solar system's largest planet in 2016. The onboard camera, JunoCam, is to be controlled not by NASA scientists, but by YOU-amateur astronomers from around the world! We are very excited to follow this mission and will be bringing you updated on Juno and JunoCam throughout the upcoming year.

From the JunoCam team:
We’re calling all amateur astronomers to upload their telescopic images and data of Jupiter. These uploads are critical for the upcoming Discussion section (coming this fall) and will help NASA successfully plan the future of the mission.
If you're a veteran astrophotographer or if you're just getting started with your first telescope, we highly recommend you read our Submission Guidelines before submitting data. In the PDF you'll find information about the best capture and process workflows as well as links to free software and tutorials.
Check out more details and sign up with JunoCam here:

There is also a fantastic and more in-depth overview on JunoCam here, featuring beautiful images of Earth processed by the public when Juno flew by two years ago for a gravity assist on its way to Jupiter:

4. Congratulations to our Q3 event log prizewinners! 
Congratulations to the astronomers of the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical SocietyCharlotte Amateur Astronomers, and the Fort Bend Astronomy Club! Their clubs won the quarterly prize - models of the James Webb Space Telescope by MESATech, simply by entering and logging their public outreach events on the Night Sky Network calendar. 

Image of the James Webb Space Telescope model
Their winning events were:

Public Star Party at Bowie Nature Park, hosted by the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society of Nashville, Tennessee, logged by Theo Wellington.

The Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Monthly Club Meeting, logged by Steve Rogish, of the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club of Charlotte, North Carolina..

Public Observing at the George Observatory hosted by the Fort Bend Astronomy Club of Stafford, Texas, logged by Jo Sutter.

All Night Sky Network member clubs are eligible to receive prizes, handouts, ToolKits for public outreach, award pins, and other benefits simply by posting and logging their events to the Night Sky Network calendar. Who will win the next batch of prizes? Maybe it will be your club-just keep logging events to stay active and eligible!

Photo of a meteor streaking across the night sky

5. Featured  Activity: Head's Up! It's a Meteor Shower Handout!

November and December bring many beautiful meteor showers to light up our cold skies. This handout gives out some vital information about meteors and when to spot them, and is appropriate for all audiences. You can download and print our handout from here:

Photo of Perseid meteors streaking over a mountaintop

6. Featured Article: What to Watch in the Late Fall Skies

Fall and winter bring long nights and great times for astronomy overs! Find out what to look for in the evening and morning skies, including meteor showers, a dance of planets in the early morning, and some stellar constellations rising into full view after a long summertime absence. Check out our post here:

Thumbnail of the Universe Discovery Guide

7. Universe Discovery Guide for December: Children of the stars
Explore the Universe with your family and friends! Inside the guide for this month:

Theme: Children of the Stars
Sky Feature: Crab Nebula
Activity: A Universe without Supernova
Check out our guide and all of its information and activities here:

Finally, as this year closes out, we want to thank you all again for your tireless efforts to bring the wonders of space and NASA science to the public. The NASA Night Sky Network exists only because of you, the dedicated and tireless amateur astronomers whose love of astronomy and sharing with the public have opened the eyes of so many to the wonders of our Universe. Thank you again, and may you all have clear skies in 2016. 


You can reach both of us any time at

Wishing you clear skies!
Vivian White & David Prosper
The Night Sky Network Team

Night Sky Network Members:
You are the backbone of eyes-to-the-skies astronomy outreach.  NASA, ASP, and our partners are proud to support your amazing outreach events with a variety of free materials: Quarterly prizes for logging your events, outreach ToolKits, handouts from NASA partners, and publicity for events you post on the Night Sky Network Calendar.
NOTE: The NASA Night Sky Network is a nationwide community of over 450 amateur astronomy clubs.  You are signed up for email notifications from the Night Sky Network as a member of your local astronomy club.  To change your preferences for receiving Newsletters and other notifications, log into the Network and select "My Profile."
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The NASA Night Sky Network is managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
The ASP is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that advances science literacy through astronomy. Your contribution is tax-deductible as provided by law.