Bill Murray, New Jersey State Museum

"Touch the Stars"

June 14, 2022
7:30 p.m.

New Jersey State Museum Planetarium
205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ

The June 14, 2022 meeting of the AAAP will be an experiment combining in-person and virtual elements into a hybrid meeting. The intention is to meet the needs of members eager to resume commiserating in person and also those who, due to inconvenience or Covid risk, choose to continue to participate virtually via Zoom. The club’s longstanding tradition is to have the final meeting of the academic year at the planetarium of the New Jersey State Museum, hosted by AAAP’s current Outreach Chair, Bill Murray. The planetarium is located at 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. There is ample parking behind the museum.

Unlike recent Zoom-only meetings, there will be no informal online chatting before the meeting starts promptly at 7:30 pm. In-person attendees will have the opportunity to socialize outside the planetarium building before the meeting starts. AAAP cannot access the planetarium prior to 7:00 pm, and Rex Parker, Bill Murray, and Dave Skitt will be setting up local and webcasting gear before the meeting begins.

The agenda for the meeting will be slightly different than the structure we’ve used for the past two years:

1Director Rex ParkerRex’s opening remarks accompanied by Powerpoint presentation.Powerpoint slides will be projected onto the planetarium dome and screen shared on Youtube and Zoom.
2Moderated by Rex ParkerShort business meeting, by and for members.Available via Zoom.
3Program Chair Victor DavisVictor introduces guest speaker and topic.Available via Zoom.
4Guest Speaker Bill MurrayBill uses the planetarium dome to present the constellations of the summer sky.Virtual participants will see and hear a Youtube video “Virtual Sky Views Talk of the Month” from Rex’s shared screen.
5Guest Speaker Bill MurrayBill introduces, then plays the 30-minute presentation “Touch the Stars” on the planetarium dome.Virtual participants will see and hear a 1 ½ minute trailer for the film, again, from Rex’s shared screen.

At the conclusion of the trailer, recording stops and the virtual meeting ends.
6MembersMembers may socialize as time allows. We’re required to leave the planetarium by 10:00 pm.


There is no masking requirement to attend this indoor, in-person meeting on premises owned by the State of New Jersey. Members who are immunocompromized, senior citizens, or wary of respiring in close proximity to potentially infectious individuals may want to consider wearing a mask while inside the planetarium.

Featured Speaker: William Murray

Lecturer and Planetarium Technician
New Jersey State Planetarium

Outreach Chair
Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton

“Touch the Stars”
This full-dome planetarium show dramatically showcases the robotic spacecraft used in the exploration of our Solar System and the galaxy beyond. The presentation traces the timeline to space through the history of NASA’s probes, orbiters, and landers—from the heart of our Solar System and the surfaces of its planets and moons to the grand tour of the Voyager spacecraft through the outer planets and on to interstellar space. Created with the cooperation of NASA and Lockheed Martin, “Touch the Stars” uses the latest high definition imagery, 3D vistas, and scientific data to transport the audience on a memorable voyage of discovery.

Bill will put the Planetarium’s new ultra-high resolution 8K digital video projection system through its paces for this main presentation. Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions and the practical limitations of trying to image a planetarium dome through Zoom, virtual participants will see only a 1 ½ minute trailer of the film before the virtual meeting concludes.

A Bit About Bill Murray
An amateur astronomer for more than 50 years, Bill Murray has been employed as a software engineer, physics and mathematics teacher and is currently planetarium technician and lecturer at the New Jersey State Planetarium in Trenton. He has owned more than a dozen different telescopes and is a past observatory chair, secretary, program chair, assistant director and director of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton. His current position in the club is outreach chair. He observes the night skies, and dabbles in EAA, with a 130 mm Astro-Physics APO refractor from his backyard observatory.

If you choose to participate in the June meeting via Zoom:
 1. Please make sure you have Zoom installed on your computer. You do not need a Zoom account or need to create one to join the meeting. Nor are you required to use a webcam.

Topic: June 14, 2022 AAAP Meeting with Bill Murray - Live from the NJ State Museum Planetarium - "Touch the Stars"
Time: Jun 14, 2022 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 2. The link to the meeting is --

  Meeting ID: 846 8257 8310
  Passcode: 950870

Here's the YouTube video link:

NOTE: The Zoom site has many training videos. If you’re unsure how Zoom works you might want to view the videos on how to join a meeting or how to check your computer’s audio and video before the meeting.

If you click on the meeting link and it doesn’t work, simply copy and paste it into your browser.

More Information on Zoom: The Zoom site has many training videos most are for people who are hosting a meeting. If you’re unsure how Zoom works you might want to view the videos on how to join a meeting or how to check your computer’s audio and video before the meeting.

“Unjournal Club”
There is no “Unjournal Club” presentation scheduled this month. As you may know, guest speakers receive a baseball cap with the AAAP logo embroidered upon it as a “thank you” for making a presentation to us. We’re expanding the hat giveaway to members who contribute an “Unjournal Club” presentation to encourage participation.

We hope to make these short presentations a regular feature of our monthly meetings. We’d like to know what members are doing or what members are thinking about in the broad range of topics encompassed by astronomy. A brief ten-minute (or so) presentation is a good way to introduce yourself and the topics you care about to other club members. If you are interested in presenting a topic of interest, please contact either or

Megaconstellation Webinar
In April, Dr. Paul Daniels spoke to our club on the Megaconstellation threat. He and his organization, the Federation of Astronomical Societies in the UK, hosted a webinar on 7th and 8th of May entitled, “The Challenge of Megaconstellations.” The aim of the webinar was to allow professional space operators and astronomers to explain to interested amateurs and researchers the many challenges posed by satellite megaconstellations. The event was very successful. An edited version is available online at:

For many of us, New York City is a magical place. It becomes a bit more magical twice a year, when Manhattan’s rectangular street grid aligns precisely with the setting Sun, creating a radiant glow of light at the end of Manhattan’s canyons of glass and steel. During these days, the Sun simultaneously illuminates buildings on both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid. It’s a rare and beautiful sight, though drivers in cross-town traffic may be less concerned with its beauty than with pedestrians stopping in the middle of crosswalks to snap selfies.

Manhattanhenge takes place this year on May 29 and May 30, (sorry we missed it) and also on July 11 and 12. On Monday, July 11 at 8:20 pm ET, the full Sun will be setting over the Hudson River. On Tuesday, July 12, at 8:21 ET, half the Sun’s disk will meet the grid at sunset. These dates are spaced roughly equal time spans around the summer solstice. These dates work because Manhattan’s street grid is rotated 30 degrees east of geographic north. Had the streets been oriented north-south, Manhattanhenge would coincide with the equinoxes. The website of the American Museum of Natural History recommends that viewers find a spot as far east as possible that still has views of New Jersey across the Hudson River, and suggests vantage points at Manhattan’s main east/west thoroughfares:
• 14th Street
• 23rd Street
• 23th Street
• 42nd Street
• 57th Street
• Tudor City Overpass, Manhattan
• Hunter's Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens

Science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson invented the word “Manhattanhenge” to tie the artifacts of our modern civilization to humankind’s quest to understand the workings of the cosmos. He wonders what future archeologists might conclude from the fact that we engineered our city streets to revere sunsets on Memorial Day and Baseball’s All Star break.

As always, members’ comments and suggestions are gratefully accepted and much appreciated.

Victor Davis,
Program Chair