Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
September, 2001

In this Issue

September Meetings New on the Web Page
Membership Roster For Sale
Member News  Peach State Star Gaze
Deep South Regional Star Gaze  

September Meetings

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, September 7, at 8:00 PM, in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering building on the campus of Auburn University.   Anyone wishing to share a ride from the Montgomery area should meet at my house at 518 Seminole Dr. and be ready to head for Auburn at 7:00 PM.

For those not attending the Peach State Star Gaze, this month's star party will be on Friday/Saturday, September 14/15 (whichever is clear) at Cliff Hill’s farm.

New on the Web Page

Mindspring/Earthlink decided to increase my server space that has been virtually max’d out for over a year.  With the newfound space available, I’ve uploaded two “new” pages.  One (just a year late, but who’s counting) on our Twenty Year Anniversary celebration, and the other on Astronomy Day 2001 – both under the “Field Trips” menu.

AAS 2001 Membership Roster

AAS treasurer, John Zachry, has sent the following list of dues paying members for 2001:

1) Mr. Richard Allen 
2) Mr. Winston W. Blackmon 
3) Mark A. Brown 
4) Ms. Emily A. Carter 
5) Mr. Alan Cook 
6) Mr. Norman Duffell
7) Mr. Jefferson E. Graves 
8) Mr. Carsten M. Haaland 
9) Mr. Joseph B. Harrington
10) Mr. Rodney M. Havens 
11) Dr. Rhon M. Jenkins 
12) Mr. Eddie Kirkland 
13) Mr. J. Everett Leonard 
14) Mr. Thomas E. McGowan 
15) Dr. David Newton 
16) Ms. Rachel Petrillo
17) Mr. Mark A. Pratt 
18) Mr. Rodney P. Ramiah 
19) Mr. Robert A. Rock 
20) Mr. Edward Allen Screws 
21) Dr. Martha (Marty) R. Skelton 
22) Mr. John Scott Thompson 
23) Mr. Russell Whigham 
24) Mr. John T. Williams 
25) Mr. Fredrick (Ricky) D. Wood 
26) Mr. John B. Zachry

If your pretty sure you’ve paid your dues for 2001 but, your name is not listed, check your records, then contact John Zachry to resolve the discrepancy.  If you just forgot, see the prorated dues schedule at the AAS Membership Application page and send a check made payable to Auburn Astronomical Society to:

Auburn Astronomical Society 
c/o Mr.  John Zachry, Secretary/Treasurer 
501 Summerfield Road 
West Point GA 31833

Used TeleVue Eyepieces For Sale 

My friend from Texas is selling some TeleVue eyepieces as follows: 

        55mm Plossel        @    $155 
        35mm Panoptic      @    $270 
        12mm Nagler II      @    $250 
        16mm Nagler II      @     $240 

The eyepieces are in great condition and prices aren't too bad. I'll be seeing him over Labor Day weekend, so let me know-first come, first serve!  You can contact me at:

Tom McGowan

Member News

Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 06:30:10 -0700 (PDT) 
From: Gail Smitherman <> 
Subject: I FOUND IT!! 

Hi! From Gail in Selma,

Got my scope out last Tuesday night and decided to try to find the Ring Nebula. Looked in my book, looked through the finder scope and knew I was in the general area.  I looked through the eyepiece, saw only stars, so I moved the scope a little toward the right and suddenly there in the bottom right corner was a star that didn't look quite right.  So I moved the scope so it would be centered, focused the lens and suddenly there was a little smoke ring. I found it!!   I'm sure my neighbors saw me jumping up and down, but then they are getting use to that.  I know the goto scopes are all the rage, but I've got to tell you for me nothing beats that thrill of setting out to find an object and then when you look in that eyepiece and its there!  Wow! 

You think you know a little bit about astronomy until an enthusiastic 15 year old comes at you with questions!  That happened to me this summer at work with a summer volunteer and thank goodness I had some old copies of Astronomy magazines laying around.  This kid is very interested in microbiology with a passing interest in astronomy, but he now has plans to purchase a 10 inch Dob so I have encouraged him that they need microbiologist in space too!  Who knows he may be a future Martian!!  Take care.  The kindred spirit in Selma. 

Gail Smitherman

And I replied:

Hello Gail,

I can still remember the thrill you've just experienced.  You still have many thrills ahead of you.  The other great thing about our hobby is the opportunity it affords for sharing our celestial secrets with budding amateurs.  Your young protégé will never forget what he learned from you.

Thanks for staying in touch,


PSSG Update 

Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 16:40:54 -0400 
From: Ken Poshedly <> 
Subject: PSSG Update

Okay Gang! With 3 weeks to go, we've got the airport in sight and we're about to land this baby.

Almost 227 adults and a number of children have now registered and paid, so that means a little we're almost at the 250-person cap. With a few less people, there's more breathing room this year; we had just under 300 folks last year and it got a bit crowded on the observing fields.

This year, we're honored to have Paul Deans of Sky Publishing attending our event. Paul is associate editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, and is editor of Sky Publishing's "Sky Watch '02" publication.


While original plans were to have a photo competition, I now feel that in keeping with the fun atmosphere of the event, a gallery of your work is best. We're planning to have a set or two of display frames that each hold up to 16 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches in size. If you have photos to display, be sure you've labeled them on the back so you can claim them at completion of the event, then seek me out and we'll place them in one of the display frames which will be set up in the dining hall.


Folks who collect stamps call these things "covers". And what better way -- besides getting an official PSSG teeshirt -- to help remember the event than to get one of the limited edition souvenir covers available at the PSSG. Each cover includes the full-color design from this year's teeshirt which was designed by Wil Tirion himself.

The covers will also include one of the Hubble Space Telescope stamps issued a year ago PLUS one of the Mt. Palomar stamps issued in 1948 to commemorate the opening of the Hale Telescope Observatory there.

The covers will also be cancelled with a special postmark which commemorates the Peach State Star Gaze.

Each cover will sell for $3 each and can be used to send a letter from the event to home, or just kept as a remembrance.

I'm sure Mr. Tirion would be glad to autograph your cover if you ask him nicely.  :-)


Some of you have phoned or e-mailed me asking about workshops and such.
* Sketching at the eyepiece (7 p.m. Friday & Saturday), by Rich Jakiel, who will also do a Friday afternoon talk on amateur observations of galaxies.
* Observing Mars (10 p.m. Friday & Saturday), by Richard Schmude, who will also do a Saturday afternoon talk about the 2001 dust storm on Mars.
* Star-hopping (9 p.m. Friday & Saturday), by Art Russell, who will also do a Friday afternoon talk on this same subject.
* Mythology walk-and-talk (midnight Thursday, Friday & Saturday), by Phil Sacco. Anyone who has attended previous PSSG's already know that Phil is a very animated speaker and keeps you on your toes -- even at midnight when he really shines!
* And for all of you amateur telescope makers, THIS cold be your year. At 1 p.m. on Friday and continuing again at 1 p.m., Mel Tolbert -- a machinist by trade -- will hold a hand-on workshop on grinding a 12.5-inch mirror. Everyone is invited to contact Mel at (e-mail and phone) for advance instructions on what to bring if you wish to make your own mirror.

Mel Tolbert's mirror-grinding workshop will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, and continue at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, in the Crafts Building. As stated earlier, contact him directly at 770-434-1528 or e-mail him at for advance instructions on what you should have with you if you want to participate.


As an extra-special attraction, the AAC's regular monthly meeting will be held at the PSSG on Friday evening, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. in the dining hall. The program is still to be announced.


As usual, we repeat again, and this time more loudly NO ONE IS ALLOWED ONTO THE FIELD ON THURSDAY UNTIL THE PSSG CREW SAYS SO. Every year, some folks disregard the Thursday 2 p.m. official start time and assume that an open gate means to set up on the field wherever you want to. WRONG. The gate is open ONLY for the PSSG setup crew to gain access and prepare the site. Some folks were pretty ticked off and refused to move when asked so that line striping and other matters could be handled.

If you have to arrive early, stay in the parking lot and OFF either of the two fields until the PSSG setup crew says it's okay to proceed.

The program book will have lots more details.

If any of you haven't gotten your confirmation packets yet, e-mail me or phone me as soon as possible. Each packet contains maps on how to get to the site and a map of the site and your lodging location (if you're staying onsite).

Deep South Regional Star Gaze
(Wednesday, October 17th to Sunday, October 21st 2001)

For Everything you always wanted to know about this year’s DSRSG: 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting,