Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
April, 2003

In this Issue

April Events Ogletree Elementary School Star Gaze
Astronomy Day, May 10, 2003 Light Pollution 
Summer Geology Course From Sky & Telescope

April Events

Our monthly AAS meeting will be on Friday, April 4, at 8:00 PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering building, on the campus of Auburn University.
The next dark-sky star party will be on Saturday, April 26, at Cliff Hill’s farm.  

 Ogletree Elementary School Star Gaze
Greg Glasscock

The Ogletree Star Gaze was brought to fruition on March 11th.  The weather was ideal.  This year only brought out 25-30 people as opposed to around 100 last year.  My theory is that word leaked that Rhon would not be in attendance.  Those that were on hand to share their hardware and enthusiasm were Mackall Acheson, Alan Cook, and Jim and Diane Locke.  Everyone was very complimentary of how the kids were treated by the scope owners.  The Locke's and Mackall earned extra credit for coming from Montgomery.  Alan also deserves credit for lugging a 10" SCT with lower back pain.  Andy Camerio had planned on coming from Montgomery for the first attempt that was rained out.  Thanks for trying Andy!  Mackall also brought his digital camera and supplied some shots to share. 
I enjoyed this year's event more in a couple of ways.  One being the time I was able to spend with people that had questions.  I spent quite a lot of time explaining the ecliptic and how the planets and star traverse the sky.  The other plus was that I got to spend some time talking to Alan, Jim, and Mackall which would not have happened last year.  I hope we can get together again.  The Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn were all in fine form.  The Orion Nebula was washed out a little by the Moon and local lights but was still interesting enough to command some attention.  More people were interested in the Pleiades and the Beehive this year.  I have already received some follow up e-mails with questions so I think we have given the bug to a few more kids.  Mission accomplished.
Greg Glasscock

[Editor’s Note:  See the photographs at  scroll down to “Field Trips”,then click on  “Outreach”, and “Ogletree”.]

Astronomy Day 2003

It’s just over a month away now.  On Saturday, May 10, we’ll gather at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium for our sixth annual joint venture with the planetarium for our celebration of  National Astronomy Day.  The agenda and a list of door prizes are on the planetarium’s Web site at :

The AAS’s contribution to the effort is scheduled to begin at 5:00PM.  Volunteers with telescopes should arrive and begin setting up their equipment at least an hour before, as access to the area where we’ll be set-up is fairly restricted.  We always have early arrivals who want a look at the Moon as well as some who need help assembling or adjusting their personal telescopes.  

Last year, we had to contend with a pole mounted security light shining down our light paths.  Thanks to planetarium director, Rick Evans, for having a switch wired so that that light will not be a problem this year.  Thanks, Rick!  

If you think you’ll be able to participate, please let me [Russell] know so I can send a list of volunteers and telescopes to Rick so he can have the name tags made for us.  If this will be your first time, you can have a look at past Astronomy Day events on the Web page.  at  scroll down to “Field Trips” then select “Gayle”.  

Light Pollution Awareness Goes Mainstream

Last Sunday night’s entire episode of “The Simpsons” addressed the issue of light pollution and its affect on the night sky.  It’s probably the first time many viewers even considered why they couldn’t see stars at night.  We’ll take help where ever we can get it.

Summer Geology Course
David T. King, Jr.


Field Experience in Italy. 5 cr. hr. Summer term III (July 19-31), 2003.  Requires GEOL 1100 or consent of dept.  Will include field work and some lab work at Coldigioco Geological Observatory.  This is not an approved geology elective for most majors and is not a substitute for field camp.  *Enthusiastic non-major students in 1100 and 1110 classes now would enjoy this.* Call #s 13897 (3 hr)and 13902 (2 hr). Offered in cooperation with the Study Abroad Program,Office of Intl Education (Hargis Hall).  Visas and registration are handled by Study Abroad (4-5766).  There is a special low tuition rate for this course and we are trying to keep the total cost under $3000. There will be a spring cut off date for applicants, so if a student is interested, he should call Study Abroad soon and get his name on the list (334-844-5766).  Students will learn historical geology in the field and visiting sites in the Apennine mountains of Italy. Students will see earthquake damage at Assisi, the famous KT boundary, Italian impact craters, a large cave system,and more.  This is the perfect way to spend some time learning about geology in a very beautiful setting.  There is more information on the Geology dept. web page and the Study Abroad web page (or  call 4-4882).  Limit is 15; there is still space available.

David T. King, Jr., Professor, Dept. of Geology
Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5305 USA
VOICE  334 844-4882, -4282 FAX  334 844-4486

From Sky & Telescope


If you have a dark-sky site, try looking for the asteroid 4 Vesta without optical aid during the next two weeks. It rises at sunset in Virgo and is now at its brightest (magnitude 5.9). Even if your sky is light-polluted, Vesta is currently easy to spot in binoculars. Read more about this asteroid in the article "Vesta in Virgo: A Naked-Eye Asteroid."


Until the end of March, Comet Juels-Holvorcem is an easy binocular object in the constellation Andromeda and is visible in both the evening sky (right after dark) and the morning sky (just before dawn). The view is better at dawn because the comet, as seen from 40-degrees north, is higher in the sky than during the evening. Read more about this comet at:

Astronomical League News

ALCON 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee is fast approaching.  For additional information, again, please see the League's web site..  July 8-12 will be here very soon, and we hope to see you at ALCON. 

Hope to see everyone at the meeting, Friday,