Past Presentations


July 2017:

In lieu of a guest speaker at the July 6th meeting of the South West Florida Astronomical Society we will be showing a new planetarium program entitled: Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter.  This “visually stunning and scientifically fascinating” program has received rave reviews worldwide from its viewers.  It covers everything from the Big Bang to galaxies, the Large Hadron Collider, and a deep underground experiment in the Homestake Mine in South Dakota.  The Higgs Boson will be discussed as well.
This program will be shown immediately following the regular monthly meeting of the SWFAS which begins at 7:30pm on Thursday, July 6th, at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers.  We hope to see you there…..



May 2017:

The South West Florida Astronomical Society is pleased to present SWFAS Vice-President Bruce Dissette as our guest speaker at our May 4th meeting.  Anyone who has attended a star party with Bruce Dissette is well aware of his knowledge of the night sky and his passion as an accomplished amateur astronomer.  Bruce will talk about Proxima Centauri, a low mass, red dwarf star located just 4.5 light years from earth in the Alpha Centauri star system.  Aside from being the closest star to earth, Proxima Centauri made the news in 2016 when astronomers discovered Proxima b, a planet orbiting in its habitable zone.


November 2016:

We are pleased to announce that John Jardine Goss, Astronomical League President will be speaking at our Thursday November 3rd meeting.

Join us as John presents Sketching Lunar Features, a fun, hands-on workshop showing how to draw lunar features using the take away method. Sketching allows you to see more and become a better observer. After all, a crater is more than just a bowl shaped depression! You will quickly learn that you don’t have to be an artist to draw interesting lunar features such as craters and mountains.

He will also be talking about the Astronomical League and what it provides to Astronomy Clubs and amateur astronomers in general. These include observing programs/awards and conventions.

March 2016:

Dr. Nebil Y. Misconi,  retired professor at UCF and author of “An Immigrant’s Journey into the Cosmos” will be presenting to the Southwest Florida Astronomical Society at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium on Thursday,  March 3rd, at 7:30pm.  Dr. Misconi will speak about his  research into Solar  System Astronomy including the dynamics of interplanetary dust, the gravitational effect of the inner planets on the symmetry of the dust complex, and the ever present threat of collisions by comets and asteroids on planet Earth.  Interspersed throughout his presentation will be recollections of Dr. Misconi’s experiences as an astronomer in Baghdad, Iraq and the fulfillment of his dream of immigrating to the United States.

February 2016:

 Celestial Navigation TechniquesOn Thursday, February 4, 2016 Ray Wlodyka, assistant education officer for the Cape Coral Power Squadron, presented to the South West Florida Astronomical Society.  Ray’s presentation began with a discussion of the navigation techniques used by the ancient mariners including the development of the sextant and learning to determine longitudinal position on the high seas.  He explained to us the technique of taking and reducing sightings for position determination.   This presentation took the audience “full circle” as Ray discussed the rise of celestial navigation techniques and the present day demise of this skill as GPS tracking and other more sophisticated techniques replaced the need to read the stars.

January  2016 presentation:

Jack Berninger made a return visit to the Planetarium and our astronomy club on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to make a special presentation entitled “Understanding Einstein”. 

As we all know, Albert  Einstein forever changed our understanding of the universe.  He produced many Nobel Prize quality papers and his ideas and insights to the cosmos are still being studied and applied today.  Even 100 years after the publication of his Theory of Relativity his discoveries remain the backbone of modern physics, cosmology, and our future understanding of the cosmos.

As a further tribute to Dr. Einstein, Jack Berninger makes a return visit to the Planetarium and our astronomy club on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to make a special presentation entitled “Understanding Einstein”.  I am sure this will be a presentation you will not want to miss and I once again encourage you to bring all interested family members and friends to the Planetarium for a very special evening.  Mr. Berninger’s presentation will begin at 7:30pm to be followed immediately by the regular monthly meeting of the South West Florida Astronomical Society.
Michael J. McCauley
Program Coordinator