Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
June, 2001

In this Issue

June Meetings May Star Party
Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve Star Party Member News
Laurel Highlands Star Cruise - 2001 On the Tube
On the Web  

June Meetings

This month's regular meeting will be on Friday, June 1, at 8:00 PM, in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.

Our June star party will be on Friday/Saturday June 22/23  at Cliff Hill's farm.  This is one day after a New moon, Summer Solstice, Mars opposition, and a total solar eclipse (in Africa).  With all of this going on, I’m sure the loonies will forecast the end of the world (again) if they get wind of it.  We’ll schedule the star party anyway. 

May AAS Star Party

Mark Pratt’s suggestion to schedule our star parties for Friday/Saturday really paid off.  We had a very good night and an excellent turn-out on the Friday star party.  Attending were:

Everett Leonard 4.5-inch Newt
Alan Akin Short Tube 80
Mark Pratt 16X80 Fujinon binoculars
Marty and Duane Skelton Eyes
Alan and Cook and Susie Jensen 10 inch Meade
Peter and Rachel Petrillo 4.5-inch Newt
Larry and Bradley Michael Eyes
Ryan and Tim Hensley 4.5-inch Newt
Russell Whigham Celestron C-11

For our musical entertainment, we had “Whip-Poor-Will and the Pond Frogs”.  We observed all of the spring and summer showpieces.  Highlights included Omega Centaurii and the “new” object for the evening, the Bug Nebula.

Four of us stayed until 1:45 AM.  We never had a really good look at Mars -- the seeing was pretty terrible, but we had good-excellent transparency so there was no problem on the deep-sky stuff.

It started raining Saturday afternoon and was still raining Saturday night.  Thanks again for the suggestion, Mark.

Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve Star Party

On Saturday 26, at the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve just north of Auburn, AAS members, Rhon Jenkins, Allen Screws, David Newton, and Russell Whigham hosted a star party for about 40 facility visitors.  As we waited for dark, we gave descriptive overviews of the different telescopes represented.  Despite some low, fast moving clouds, visitors queued up at the telescopes for views of the four-day-old Moon, binary stars, a couple of galaxies, and M-13.  For many, it was the first look through “a real telescope”.  All seemed to enjoy the evening and we may even have picked up a couple of new members.  Thanks Dr. Louise Turner for allowing us to drive through her yard to reach the observing site by vehicle and to Margaret Holler for coordinating the event.

Member News

From: Mark Moe

We moved a bit farther north to Madison, Wisconsin.  I am pretty excited about the level of amateur astronomers up here.  Along with several observatories, there is a great amateur club here that maintains a permanent site with several domes and scopes.  If you get a chance, check out the url.
I just purchased a new scope.  One of the short tubes from Celestron through Eagle Optics which is right down the road.  It is a 102 f/5 and as you can guess,  I immediately started to replace the components.  TV diagonal, TelePod mount and Radian Ep's.  I really like it as it lends itself to
decent wide field viewing and the occasional diurnal foray into the local bird population.

And finally (probably most importantly, especially if you ask the wife)  We are expecting a son in July.  There goes the toy budget.

Tell everyone hello and wish us luck with the new addition. 

Mark Moe

From: Gail Smitherman

Was I ever surprised when I pulled up your Astronomy Day info in the AAS  E-Newsletter and found you had included me in your statements!!  I have just started a new job  here at Selma Baptist Hospital and now have a computer!  So now I can check on you guys and gals on a regular basis.
I had a great time at Astronomy day.  It was really so nice to meet all of you and everyone was so patient and friendly with all my questions.   My scope is balanced much better now after the helpful tips from Scott. 
Tell Dr Jenkins, I did find the Virgo Cluster!  Thanks again for making me feel like part of the group.  Who knows, I just might have to show up at one of the Star Parties.  I am trying to convince my husband that I now need a 2nd more portable scope!  Wish me luck. 

Gail Smitherman-your kindred spirit in Selma

Laurel Highlands Star Cruise - 2001

The more than 560 members of the Amateur Astronomy Association of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA) invite you to attend the third annual "Laurel Highlands Star Cruise", June 14 - 17, 2001.

Star Cruise 2001 will be held at a new, darker site this year, the Pine Hill Campground, just off I-68 near Hazelton, West Virginia (USA).  Guest speakers from the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute, the Eros Project, FUSE, area universities and the AAAP, among others; special activities; big telescopes; a food caterer, a swap table; and a fine selection of vendors are planned. This is a tremendous dark-sky site. We still hope dark sky photos will soon be available on our Website for your perusal.  However, the weather and our schedules sure haven't been cooperating.  The presentations are centered around Solar System topics with Mars and NEAR being emphasized, but there is also a Hubble Update that will detail deep sky exploration.



There are a lot of area attractions for the non-astronomer (detailed on our Website), so bring the whole family.

Please visit our Website for more details.  Hope to see you at Star Cruise 2001.

Laurel Highlands Star Cruise Website:
AAAP Website: 


Terry N. Trees, Ph.D., Past President
Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh
Publicity Chair, Laurel Highlands Star Cruise

On the Tube

ABC World News Tonight Story on the Need for Dark Nights
From:  Joe Rao

Peter Jennings, ABC News did a spectacular in-depth news story as part of the ABC Evening News on Wednesday evening (May 16).

The story focused on the fact that dark nights might be necessary for better human health. The story included an interview with a Photo Biologist on the Cancer risks caused by Light at Night due to suppression of Melatonin.

It was a really powerful delivery of the message to the mainstream public.

If you didn't see the story, you can still find it by going to

It's really a great story...that can serve as a persuasive argument to support the full cutoff streetlights... 

Bill Moyers Reports: Earth on Edge 
From: Larry M. Owsley 

Explore one of the most important questions of the new century: what is happening to Earth's capacity to support nature and civilization? The  companion site will provide in-depth information about ecosystems around the world as well as updates on their status, information about how you can take action to help save the planet and more.   (Scheduled launch date: Friday, June 1 PBS National Feed
On the Web

Nice EP & Scope Calculator

Scopulator for Internet Explorer 4+ and Netscape Navigator 6. 

Scopulator for Netscape Navigator 4 

Observing Chair

Rukl's Atlas of the Moon

Just in case you don’t speak/read French,  just: 

This borders on magic, but it works!

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,