During the meeting of 6 August 2015, RCPI’s band of natives and aliens (many of the club’s members are not Czech nationals) enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Martin Pauer.
In addition to being Project Manager at Rockwell automation, and a lead ringer of the bells at St. Vitus cathedral, Dr. Pauer is, by training and avocation, a geologist and planetary geophysicist. He is also a volunteer at the Štefánik Observatory on Petřín Hill in Prague, where several RCPI members and friends had already enjoyed the benefit of his assistance with gazing into the night sky through the observatory’s telescopes.
During an engaging and informative presentation that lasted well past our usual 20:00 meeting close, but which kept all but a couple members and guests glued to their chairs, Dr. Pauer provided a PowerPoint tour of the Sun, the planets and their moons, sprinkling in little tidbits of information that came as a surprise to most, including the fact that our moon “wobbles” a little as it rotates, so we actually see about 60 percent of it during the course of a month.
Attendees also learned that all moons but one orbit their planets in the same direction the planet rotates - counter-clockwise. But Triton orbits Neptune in a retrograde - clockwise - fashion. Venus also rotates clockwise, the only planet to do so; and Uranus rotates on its side relative to its travels around the Sun!
Very interesting stuff, and you can see Dr. Pauer’s slides here:
You can also take a trip up to the Štefánik Observatory any night before 23:00 to take a closer look at the heavens yourself. And look for news of a future presentation by Dr. Pauer about the bells at St. Vitus. Perhaps we’ll go watch he and his friends ring them!