Astrofiles
Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
August, 2002

In this Issue

August Meetings AAS Shirts
Perseids Miscellany

 August Meetings

Our  August meeting will be Friday, August 2 at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.

This monthís star party will be on the weekend of August 9/10 at the Cliff Hill farm.

Taking Orders for AAS Shirts

Several new members have asked about our AAS logo polo shirts.  If you (sorry, members only) would like a shirt (or another shirt), please send your orders to Ricky Wood who has agreed to handle this for us.  Cost of the AAS shirt will be $25.00 with or without name on it (especially nice at public events).   Orders should include the following:

What size: S, M, L, or XL
How many?
Specify Menís or Womenís
With your first name or without 
The name you want on the shirt

Include your e-mail address with your order in case Ricky has any questions

Make checks payable to Ricky Wood, and send to: 
Ricky Wood
1698 Elmore St
Alexander City, AL 35010

If you have questions you can e-mail Ricky at   woodricky@russellcorp.com  

Perseids Meteor Shower

Just in case some of you missed Rick Evansí message to the planetarium visitors mail list, here it is:

The Sky Is FallingÖ
The weekend of August 12 and 13 is projected to host the peak of this yearsí Perseids meteor shower. In the past, it has generally been the biggest meteor shower of the year. So the anticipation of this yearís meteor shower is growing.  You donít need a telescope, or even binoculars to view this spectacular celestial event. On those nights go out to a dark location, away from the city, and youíre likely to see many, many more meteors than usual. The thin crescent Moon sets early on the evening of August 12th, leaving the sky fully dark for this yearís Perseid meteor shower. You'll see dozens of fast, bright shooting stars that appear to come from the northeast.
Meteors are commonly referred to as "shooting stars" or ďfalling starsĒ because they quickly cross our skies. Appearing as streaks of light.  In reality, these streaks are caused by space rocks, usually no bigger than a grain of sand. They're tiny bits of dust and rock that collide with Earth. They are moving so fast -- many thousands of miles per hour -- that they usually burn up in Earthís atmosphere. When they burn up they make a brief, bright streak in the sky, which scientists call a "meteor." 
Every once in a while the Earth moves through a part of its orbit where there is lots of dust and bits of rock, and when that happens we get a lot more meteors. We call that a "meteor shower" and the Perseids meteor shower, which occurs in the middle of August every year, is one of the best.
Most of the meteors show up between midnight and sunrise.  Thatís when the radiant (the part of the sky between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia from which the Perseids appear to come) is highest in midnorthern latitudes. In fact, it could be as often as every minute that you might a tiny fire burning through the sky. Skywatchers can expect to see 60 or more Perseids per hour, provided the sky is very clear and dark. If you miss the Perseids that weekend, donít give up. The shower lasts for two weeks or so, with excellent rates in the predawn hours of August 10th  through August 15th.

Miscellany

The Sky is Falling, Part II   http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_2147000/2147879.stm
Uh, never mind:   http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/26jul_nt7.htm 
Another close encounter   http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/30jul_ny40.htm?list81710

Good eyepiece and other hardware reviews at   http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/catalog.php?categoryid=3 
Peach State Star Gaze  http://personal.atl.bellsouth.net/atl/p/o/poshedly/pssg/index.html 

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,

Russell 

P.S.  It looks like EarthLink is not going to budge on their Procrustean policy of reduced server space allocations.   My only communication from them has been via automated and form-reply e-mail non sequiturs.  

Thanks to those who offered their server space, but Iím afraid that would be a logistical nightmare for me.  So until I can make some other arrangements, some of the current AAS Web pages will have to come down.  Iíll return to posting the archived Astrofiles as soon as I get back under the new 10MB limit.

Russell Whigham
Montgomery AL
Auburn Astronomical Society, Webmaster and Astrofiles editor  
AAS Web site:  www.mindspring.com/~rwhigham/