Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
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. Thanks to planetarium director, Rick Evans, for doing all the work and publicity!
If you think you’ll be able to participate, please let me [Russell] know so I can update the 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 http://www.mindspring.com/~rwhigham/ scroll down to “Field Trips” then select “Gayle”.
We still have room for several telescopes. AAS members who do not own a telescope can contact Rhon Jenkins about borrowing the AAS 8-inch Dob for the event.
Thanks to the following who have stepped forward
to give of their time, talents, and telescopes:
Gail Smitherman writes:
I have e-mailed Rick that I have a couple of items to donate as prizes; a book from life: man in space, $10.99 found in Wal-Mart magazine section (really great pictures from Sputnik to Columbia) and an electronic educational solar system game. Remind everyone to bring those old Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines, Orion, catalogs, etc. that are lying around the house for a free grab table. See you soon. GailGreat idea Gail! I’m sure the rest of you have some of the items Gail mentioned to share with our Astronomy Day visitors. We’ll also have an e-mail sign-up sheet and copies of the “Frequently Asked Questions” handouts for prospective members.
Bill Blankley sends his regrets that he’ll not be able to join us that day, but writes:
I have some materials from Kalmbach and NASA that you might want to use for handouts. I'll bring them to the meeting, Friday.
The planned evening for the star gaze in Monday evening, May 12th. They have planned a "cow pattie" event that afternoon and early evening as well and, thus, should lead to a sizable crowd. A map to their campus is here:
They have a couple of parking lots with fairly close access to fields--including the football field. I think there shouldn't be too much problem finding a suitable place to set up without much of a hike--if any. The cow pattie event will be taking place on the baseball field and there is a large field next to it where they suggest setting up the telescopes. These fields are well behind the school buildings (and lights). They do not plan to turn on any of the athletic field lights; the cow pattie drop should be over before dark.
The cow pattie drop starts at 6:00. We can arrive whenever we want to.
No rain date. If it rains, well.... It's just too close to the end of the year to schedule a rain date.
[Editor’s Note: Don’t let this slip up on you – it’s the Monday following Astronomy Day. Please let Jim know if you can help with this event.]
At our April meeting, we had the pleasure of meeting Bill Blankley. Here is Bill’s on-line interview:
I thought I would give you a short report on the Mid South Star Gaze of this past weekend. This was held at the observatory of the French Camp Academy near Starkville, MS. The observatory, or actually observatories, since there are about 6-8, sits on a hill with very nice horizons to the east, south, and west.
I took my Televue 102 refractor to this one and left the 16" dob at home as the weather reports were very "iffy". I arrived Friday afternoon under very clear skies, so things were looking good for the night. As night fell things were looking very good, not a cloud in the sky. I was quite humid and a little breezy, making transparency about average and seeing poor. From dusk till about midnight, I observed Jupiter, several globular clusters, and split some nice doubles. But with only 4 inches of aperture, I was wishing for my 16 inch. I was set up next to a guy from New York who had come down to take delivery of a very nice Night Sky (Jim Nadeau) 18 incher with go-to and tracking. I spent a lot of time viewing with him. Bill Prados was there from B'ham with a 7" Mak-Cass. At midnight the clouds rolled in spoiling the show. I went to bed; but I heard the next day that it cleared again by 2 AM.
The next day, Saturday, was overcast all day. I caught up on my reading until about 10 PM and went to bed. At about 1 AM I woke up to clear skies and observed with others (I was too lazy to get my scope out) until about 3. We observed many of the summer treats in Scorpius and Sagittarius.
I was fairly impressed with the darkness of the site. If the atmosphere had been drier, the skies would have been quite nice. I would say it compared favorably to the Deep South site. All-in-all, the star gaze was enjoyable, and I will probably be making a return trip.
Hope to see everyone at the meeting, Friday,