Our next observing night will be April 10th

“Experience the Universe at Charlie Elliott”

Directions to Charlie Elliott

Charlie Elliott Astronomy on April 10, 2021:

A Virtual Meeting with Astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller!

Same-Day Observing at CEWC

(March 28, 2021) Those of you who are regular viewers of the cable television science series How the Universe Works will surely want to be a part of the next online program of the Charlie Elliott Astronomy Club when we present one of the shows most popular subject matter experts, Dr. Michelle Thaller. Longtime fans of the show can attest that Dr. Thaller (or “Michelle”, if you prefer) is not only a true professional with her topics, but also very enthusiastic with her explanations.

So now we invite all to join us at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, on Saturday, April 10, when Dr. Thaller takes us on a journey to the biggest black holes in the universe as we try to understand the mystery of how they got there in the first place and what they’re up to in our own Milky Way home.

Just like our previous programs, the the April 10 event begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, with a short presentation by Fernbank’s planetary geologist Scott Harris. Following that will be a few remarks by Mike Shaw, director of the Charlie Elliott Astronomy Club about our club and its parent organization, the Atlanta Astronomy Club. Afterwards, Dr. Thaller will have control of the screen to present present her findings on super massive black holes, including details about the supergiant elliptical galaxy M87 and its own super massive black hole.
IMPORTANT! Members of the Charlie Astronomy Club and its parent organization, the Atlanta Astronomy Club, who wish to participate at Saturday’s CE Astronomy program during the question-and-answer session after the talk should e-mail Ken Poshedly (poshedly@bellsouth.net) as soon as possible. Your requests will be forwarded to Scott Harris of the Fernbank Science Center, who will then send a Zoom link to you a day or two prior to the event. There is a 100-person maximum limit for those who wish to use Zoom for this event. All others are invited to view by way of https://www.facebook.com/fernbankcenter Scroll down that page, then click on the visual link to the event. Comments can be made during the talk via the “Chat” feature.


Dr. Michelle Thaller is an astrophysicist with over two decades of science communication experience. Her research involves the lifecycles of stars, and she has worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Headquarters and the Goddard Space Flight Center. She has appeared in many television science programs, including How the Universe Works and Space’s Deepest Secrets.  Michelle has done two TEDx talks about astronomy and has hosted the podcast Orbital Path on public radio.

Dr. Thaller attended Harvard University, where she majored in astrophysics and worked on precision measurement of binary stars, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1992. Here in Atlanta, she attended Georgia State University and worked on colliding winds in close massive binary systems and received a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1998. Dr. Thaller is a regular contributor to the online edition of the Christian Science Monitor, for which she writes a monthly science column, and also contributed to and appeared in the award-winning video podcast series IRrelevant Astronomy.


Observing on the Jon Wood Astronomy Field

(Update April 08, 2021) — At this time, most weather forecasts call for rain on Saturday afternoon. Depending on which weather forecast or service you use, the predicted chance of rain is as high as 46 percent for that evening. Therefore, be prepared to either stay away or head out if the conditions improve enough for you.

With Dr.Thaller’s presentation wrapping up by 3 p.m., we will have — again, weather permitting –  another informal observing event that same evening, April 10, at the Jon Wood Astronomy Field (which is on the right, shortly after turning onto Elliott Trail from Marben Farm Rd). As always, this event is free.

According to the Sky Safari astronomy app, sunset at our location near Mansfield, Georgia, will be at 7:02 p.m., so those with scopes and related equipment to set up should plan on an earlier arrival. In consideration of any astro-imagers, astronomical dusk ends at 8:28 p.m. Note that Daylight Saving Time is now in effect.

NOTE: It is your own responsibility to monitor the weather forecast for your own comfort and safety. Be advised to dress appropriately and have extra clothing on hand should it also be needed. There are no inside bathroom facilities, running water, electricity or warm-up buildings at this location. There is, however, a “porta-potty” at the edge of the observing field that is regularly serviced.

Also, this will be an INFORMAL gathering  and will NOT include any club business or activities. Just observing.

Note that the Elliott Trail automatic road gate closes for incoming traffic at 5 p.m. Afterwards, a five-digit combination must be entered on a keypad near the gate for it to open. That combination is available only to dues-paying Club members. Therefore, non-Club members planning to join us on the observing field should enter the park before 5 p.m. Club members who may arrive after 5 p.m. and do not have the gate combination should contact a club officer at least 24 hours prior to their visit to obtain the gate combination.

The gate opens automatically for exiting traffic as you approach it to leave, no matter what time it is.

Covid Requirements

IMPORTANT! Face masks are recommended at ALL CE astronomy in-person events and we remind all attendees that the CDC’s 6-foot social distancing requirement remains in effect — even on the Jon Wood Astronomy Field. Note also that NO refreshments are served, so bring your own.

More About the Charlie Elliott Astronomy Club

Check out the Charlie Elliott Astronomy Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ceastronomy . There you’ll find a welcoming group of people sharing ideas and tips as well as organizing ad-hoc observing and imaging sessions on the Jon Wood Astronomy Field.

For those not familiar with the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, go to https://georgiawildlife.com/charlie-elliott-wildlife-center

The CEWC phone is 770-784-3059, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.


If you have an idea for a 15 to 20-minute pre-meeting presentation about something you’ve learned or a project you’re working on, contact Steve Siedentop or Ken Poshedly.

Downloads from the Last Meeting


Our Monthly Meetings and Public Observing Nights

The status of in-person meetings will be announced monthly as the COVID situation changes. Visit the “Our Calendar” tab at the top of the page for our 2020-2021 meeting, observing, and outreach schedule. Start times vary throught the year so please check back for details.

View our Full Calendar of all meetings & outreach events

It’s easy to become a member of Charlie Elliott Astronomy!

Charlie Elliott Astronomy Membership Form
Pay dues with PayPal

All Charlie Elliott Astronomy events are free and open to the public and you don’t have to be a member to attend our meetings or join us on Jon Wood Astronomy Field.  However, we would encourage you to consider a yearly paid membership for less than the cost of a couple of pizzas.  Your membership dues allow us to continue our science outreach programs in area schools and youth organizations, merit badge programs with area Scout Troops, and allow us to maintain the facilities on Jon Wood Astronomy Field.  To become a member, you can fill out our Membership Form or contact an officer.  March is membership renewal month. If you are renewing your membership, no form is necessary.

The Charlie Elliott Chapter is a member of the Night Sky Network
Click on the banner below to request an outreach event.

Want to help with our Outreach?

Register here to become a Charlie Elliott Astronomy outreach member

Want to know a little more about us?

Meet the Charlie Elliott Chapter Officers for 2019-2020

Charlie Elliott Astronomy, serving the Atlanta area and East Middle Georgia, is a chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to promoting the public knowledge of and interest in astronomy.

Donations support our outreach programs, equipment expense, and educational materials.