The current gate closure time is 7 p.m. After that time, a code is needed for park entry (& access to the astronomy field).

“Experience the Universe at Charlie Elliott”

Directions to Charlie Elliott

Charlie Elliott Astronomy Meeting and Observing

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Once more, as we always do every month of May, it’s time for our annual officers election. Plus we are honored to have a very special guest speaker when we gather at 6:30 p.m., on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center Campbell Aquatics Building.

Our Program — “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do Stars Go?” Our Milky Way is a dynamic system – everything moves. Stars travel through space at speeds of tens to hundreds of kilometers per second! Even our Sun moves around the Galaxy as part of a grand cosmic carousel. As a result, the patterns of the constellations on the sky are ephemeral, and our local stellar neighborhood is always changing, as stars incessantly migrate in and out of our sight. Thanks to modern instruments – notably the European Space Agency’s GAIA space telescope – astronomers have now measured the 3D spatial locations and 3D motion vectors of millions of stars within 3,000 light-years of the Sun.

This evening, Dr. Lepine will share with you this new 3D map of the nearby stars, and show some of the intricate and surprising patterns that are revealed when studying their collective and individual motions. We will see that stars are all indefatigable travelers, and that stars currently near the Sun in fact come from very diverse locations in the Milky Way, with a wide variety and ages and origins.

Our Speaker — Dr. Sebastien Lepine, Professor and Department Chair of Physics & Astronomy at Georgia State University. Dr. Lepine worked for 13 years as a research scientist for the American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium in New York City before moving to a professor position at Georgia State University in 2013. He has carried out various observational projects, spending over 400 nights at various observatories, notably MDM (Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT) Observatory and Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, and Lick Observatory in California. (The MDM Observatory is an optical astronomical observatory located adjacent to Kitt Peak National Observatory on Kitt Peak, west of Tucson, Arizona, in the United States.)

Meeting Agenda — Opening remarks and general introductions by our club director Steve Siedentop, then “What’s Up” in the sky this (and part of next) month by Observing Supervisor Dennis Ruzeski followed by any questions/comments from those who wish to share any of their own observing experiences. Next will be the official presentation of who this year’s candidates are and a request for any last-minute nominations from the floor. Afterwards will be the actual voting and announcement of the results.

Following the election results will be Dr. Lepine and all you’ll need to know about “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do Stars Go?”

Weather-permitting, we’ll then head out (by car) to the nearby Jon Wood Astronomy Field; all are invited to bring your own telescopes or binoculars — or at least your interest in astronomy. Sunset on our meeting night will be at 8:22 p.m. and the Elliott Trail sliding gate for incoming traffic closes at 7 p.m., so be sure to be on the observing field before then. The sooner, the better. Club members already have the Elliott Trail gate lock digital combination, so others should already be on the field by 7 p.m. The gate opens automatically for all exiting traffic no matter what time it is.

Directions to the Aquatics Building at Charlie Elliott

  1. (From Atlanta) Head east on I-20 to exit 98,
  2. Turn right at the top of the ramp to head south on Hwy 11,
  3. Continue south through Mansfield on Hwy 11,
  4. Turn left off Hwy 11 onto Marben Farm Road (entrance road to the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center),
  5. Proceed past Elliott Trail (on the right),
  6. Turn right onto Murder Creek Church Rd. NOTE: The road is extremely full of pot holes, so be aware.
  7. Proceed to the Aquatics Building on the left with parking adjacent to the building.

Observing on Jon Wood Astronomy Field

A few items to note:
  • Plan to treat this outing like you would a camping trip and be prepared. Dress appropriately for the weather and the environment, bring snacks and drinks if needed, and plan to take your trash with you.
  • After pulling up the dirt driveway from Elliot Trail and onto the astronomy field, please orient your vehicle to face the field exit gate so as not to cause problems with headlights when leaving.
  • There is a regularly serviced Porta Potty on the field.
  • As stated above, the main gate on Elliott Trail closes to new entry by vehicle at 7 p.m., but will automatically open for exiting traffic at all times. If you are not a member and plan to arrive after 7 p.m., please make arrangements with a club member for access.
  • No white lights allowed on the field. Red flashlights are cheap and easy to find at your favorite store. They’re even cheaper to make with a spare flashlight and red nail-polish on the lens.
  • For more information about Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, please visit the Charlie Elliott website.

Downloads from the Last Meeting


Our Monthly Meetings and Public Observing Nights

Our monthly meetings and public observing nights are free and open to the public. Our meeting, observing, and outreach schedule is updated as-needed and can be reached by clicking on the “Our Calendar” tab at the top of this page. Start times vary throughout the year so please check back frequently for details.

View our Full Calendar of all meetings & outreach events

It’s Easy to Join the Charlie Elliott Astronomy Club!

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.

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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

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.