Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
January, 2002

In this Issue

January Meetings For Sale Member News Solar Filter
January Meetings

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, January 4, at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering building, on the campus of Auburn University.  If you were good boys and girls last year and Santa brought you some astro-toys for Christmas, be sure to bring them for the “Show ‘n Tell” part of the meeting.

This month’s star party will be on Friday/Saturday January 11/12, with the Friday date being the primary date Saturday as a fall back in case of clouds Friday.

For Sale – Price Reduction

From: Jeff Schaub
 I have decided to reduce the price of my MEADE 10 " LX-50 SCT telescope, as I have had no action on it .  I will sell the telescope, heavy duty wedge and tripod and Telrad finder for $1000.00 .  The price does include a JMI electronic focuser.  I can be reached at 334 271 6833 .

 I'm hoping to sell it quickly, as I am looking forward to buying a lighter refractor and become active again in the clubs activities. Because of some recurring back problems, the SCT has become too much of a burden for me to move around.
Looking forward to seeing y'all soon, 


Member News

From: David T. King, Jr.
Lucille and I posted some pictures of the Leonids from Utah in the NASA web page.  You can see them at  Click on "All Images Listed by Date" and click on Lucille Petruny's name.

Hope you have happy holidays! 

From: Richard Allen 
I ran across a guy the other day who wanted a bigger scope. Well, I have this 9.25 that weighs 85 lbs.  I had been thinking that a slightly smaller, GoTo scope would be nice.  Well we ended up making a trade and I ended up with a 6 month old Meade LX 90 with quite a few accessories, in exchange for the 9.25 Ultima.  Must have been a good trade because both of us feel we made the better trade.   The Autostar function of the LX 90 is very helpful.   It makes it much nicer working with the kids.  I don't have to spend near as long finding something so they don't get bored.

The scope had amongst its accessories a 6.3 focal reducer. I really like this as it gives more of the same view as the sorely missed Dob I sold the club.  Also the scope has a right angle finder scope.   This is much better than the straight through finder on the 9.25.  I would highly recommend a right angle finder to anyone who was thinking of making that purchase.  Added to the goodies is an Orion dew shield ( not wild about it, just a hard thin plastic tube) and a Scopetronix dew zapper.

I found a Meade 4000 8-24 zoom eyepiece on Astromart to add to my collection.  I am not sure about this one, from what I hear you either really like them or hate them.  I figure with the focal reducer I will have a large enough field of view and a range from 50x to 160x.

The only other scope we have at this time is the Stellarvue 80mm f9 refractor.  (Nice small scope, much less color than the short tube 80mm f5 Celestron I had).

 Hope to see everyone Friday night,


From:  Winston Blackmon
Even though I haven't been seen for a while, (I would like to blame it on the nature of my work as a truck driver) I always enjoy reading the Astrofiles.  In the recent issue an article by Alan Akin caught my attention.  He Wrote:
" It was the best observing experience I've ever had. My parents and I got to see a fire ball. I was looking away at first then a bright object caught my eye. It got brighter and brighter. Then it started breaking up into pieces before it finally disappeared..."
I just wanted to share that I too was fortune enough to witness a FIREBALL a few years back.  And there is this organization who would love to hear from anyone observing such an object.  Let me warn you that they will send you this detailed information request form to complete on the viewing.  But it's worth it because you can get the full story behind your sighting.  The organization is the International Meteor Organization and they have a web-site located at:

Clear Skies,

From: Mike Brown

I’ve finally got a good scope. I just bought Ron's  10.1-inch Odyssey. The eyepieces are dynamite. I’ve never used a Telrad before, supposed to be a sort of LASER viewfinder for a telescope. Do they work well? Ron is a cool guy, I like him and his wife. we had a enjoyable visit. What is your assessment of the Odyssey? 
And I replied:
This was Ron Hatherley's Dob?  Nice scope.  I shared a lot of eyepiece time with Ron when he was active in the club. How'd you two find each other -- Astrofiles

You'll love the Telrad.  It's not a LASER -- just a LED illuminated "heads-up" display for "zeroing" in on your targets. 

[Editor's Note:  Uh Oh!  I have to rant and I can't help myself.  These heads-up finders are “one power” (1X), NOT “zero power” (0X) devices as even some of the manufacturers' claim.  Close both eyes.  THAT'S zero power.  OK, I'll be alright now.   RDW]
You may find the following links useful:

Messier finder charts: 
Caldwell finder charts: 

I was wondering who got a new telescope that caused the overcast skies ;-)


Mike has re-joined AAS (welcome back, Mike) and submitted the following “interview”:
Mike Brown
Opelika AL 
Telescope(s):Odyssey 10.1 Dobsonian 
Areas of special interest: astronomy / art

AAS: Are you a seasoned amateur astronomer or just getting into the hobby? 
MB:  I know some about astronomy, but I’m not seasoned.

AAS:  What was your first experience that attracted you to astronomy? 
MB:  Seeing the Moon for the first time through a small scope. 

AAS: Tell us a little about your family members; spouse? kids? siblings? significant other?
MB:  Various cousins, one older brother.

AAS: Can you tell us a little about your formal education?
Twelve years of school, and a couple years of college.

AAS: Do you have any pets? What kind?; How Many?
MB:  Negative on the pets.

AAS:  Where do you work? 
MB:  Briggs and Stratton, Corp.

AAS: Besides astronomy, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
MB:  Aircraft, spaceflight, art, reading.

AAS: What was your first or favorite car?
MB:  My current vehicle is a Chevy s-10

AAS: What was your first or most interesting job?
MB:  Working in a print shop

AAS: Tell us about your favorite vacation.
MB:  Hilton Head Island

AAS: Have you ever lived in some other part of the U.S. or another country? Where?; When?
MB:  I was born in falls church, VA. I lived there until I was seven years old.

I’ve always liked astronomy. I would like to get more experience in the subject, and learn to do more things in astronomy.

From: Bob Cook

Hi my name is Bob Cook I live in Selma, AL I would like to know if there are any clubs in Selma or anyone I could talk to here about astronomy? 
Thanks for any help. 
From:  Laura Kelly 
I got your name off your Auburn Astronomical Society webpage.  I am new to the area (Ft. Rucker, Alabama) and I am looking for a astronomy club to get involved with.  I am a helicopter pilot that has been assigned to Ft. Rucker.  A few years ago I was involved with the Denver Astronomical Society and really enjoyed it.  I have my own telescope (Orion 90mm).  Can you please give me information about the club (when are the star parties)?

Thank you!

Laura Kelly 

And I replied:
Hello Laura,

Thanks for taking the time to look us up.  I'm afraid our little club pales in comparison to DAS, but we'd love to have you as part of the group.  Our star parties are normally scheduled on the weekend nearest the New Moon of each month.  We schedule both Friday and Saturday nights; Friday being the primary date with Saturday as a cloudy weather date. You've just missed the December star party.  I don't have my January 2002 calendar yet, but the star party should be around mid-month.  I'll add your name to our e-mail list so you'll know exactly when the next one is.  Click on the "Star Party" menu icon for maps and directions.  Our current site is the Cliff Hill Farm in Macon County.  It would be a really good site except for his neighbors' "security" lights.  We're always looking for the perfect place.

It's quite a drive to Auburn from Ft. Rucker unless you're flying up.  Do you think the Army would mind if you borrowed a 'copter for the evening? ;-)

Marcus Howell   who lives in Enterprise, was a member of AAS a few years back.  You might want to check with him to see if he's started a group in the Wiregrass area.  He has a Web site at: 

He has a 6-inch f/8 home built Dobsonian. 

If you have any questions about AAS that aren't covered on the Web pages, just drop me a message.

Clear Skies,


From: Scott Thompson

Here’s a picture of the solar eclipse that took place December 14, as the sun set.


Special thanks to Scott for his space-art demonstration at our December meeting! 

Baader Solar Filter for my 14.5

From: Lacy Thomas 

I thought this might be of interest to y'all.  Ginger is one of the most accomplished amateur astronomers that I know of and a major binovue user!  She's also a digital photo enthusiast!
 From: Ginger Mayfield 

 Hi Lacy and anyone else interested,

 I made a Baader solar filter for my 14.5 (also my  10" SM, my little refractor and my binocs) using foam board (I would  get thicker if I were doing it again).  After cutting a piece of foam board the diameter of the top of the secondary cage,  I cut an approx 5" hole, just like for an  aperture mask, and put the Baader material over the hole with double sided scotch tape.  I cut another piece of foam board to hold the Baader material in place and secured with duct tape  (should have been black) - note, the material is NOT  supposed to be tight.  Also note, the hole must be positioned between the outside edge of the primary mirror and the outside of the secondary mirror (make it a little smaller so you have a little room to play with).  I then  made covers for both sides of the filter, held in place with Velcro to protect the Baader material when the filter is not in use.  (I keep it in a medium sized good quality plastic store bag.)  The 3 pieces of duct tape on the edges are holding 3 little pieces of Velcro to hold the filter to the  top/side edge of the secondary cage.  Note the hole for the secondary bolt to come through in the middle.  With the filter attached using the Velcro to the sides and the secondary bolt coming through it's very secure on the scope.  Here are the links to the pics which are in our  Files/Accessories folder.  You may have to copy and paste the links if too long.  Otherwise just to our Files area

 and look for them.  Here are the direct links.  Hope this all makes sense.

Baader solar filter

Baader filter close up

Baader filter with covers in place


Hope to see everyone at the meeting,