Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
November 7, AAS Meeting 8:00PM in room 215
of the Aerospace Engineering building.
Moon To Hide Its Face
While not necessarily of astronomical importance, eclipses of the moon can be beautiful. The moon’s surface is not completely darkened, but is reddish or copper colored. This coloring is due to the light rays that reach the moon after being bent by the earth’s atmosphere.
The moon will enter the lighter portion of the earth’s shadow (the penumbra) at 4:19 PM, just before moonrise at 4:41 PM to the east northeast. It will begin the actual eclipse at 5:40 PM, when it enters the darker part of the shadow (the umbra). Total eclipse will be from 7:00 PM until 7:36 PM. The moon will leave the darker shadow at 9:00 PM and the lighter shadow at 10:20 PM, ending the eclipse.
Those wishing to observe the eclipse through telescopes,
furnished by the Auburn Astronomical Society, are invited to the parking
lot of the Auburn Kroger Supermarket (near the Glenn Avenue entrance).
Thanks Paul. It was a wonderful evening.
Deep South Regional
Star Gaze 2003
The twenty-first meeting of Deep South Regional Stargazers was held on October 22-26. Since its inception, the event has been held at Percy Quin State Park, near McComb MS. Representing AAS this year were: Eddie Kirkland, Robert Rock, Ray and Ann Kunert, and Russell Whigham.
The days leading up to the long weekend had been of the typical cool, dry, late October variety. Fall foliage was just beginning to turn and the cotton fields were ripe for harvest, making the drive quite pleasant. But no matter how beautiful the day is, it’s still right at 350 miles or six hours, including a quick stop for lunch, from Montgomery. Add another 60 miles and another hour if you’re coming from Auburn. I arrived at the park just after 2:00PM, unloaded my sleeping bag and suitcase in our cabin, then went to observing field to claim our traditional spot on the eastern side of the field. Moments later Eddie arrived. Eddie furnished the AAS canopy again this year, that we had up in only a matter of minutes. The field had been recently mown, but was quite dusty as a result of nearly a month without any significant rainfall. We had a light supper of what I call “pulp-wooder” food – canned meat & crackers, and what remained of my Thermos of coffee from the drive over. We waited until nearly dark to set up the scopes because of the dust stirred up by people driving onto the field. While waiting for the skies to totally darken, someone called our attention to an Iridium flare, and shortly after that, the passing of the Hubble Space Telescope. Ray joined us as we put the finishing touches on the telescopes.
The sky was clear and dark. Seeing was good but not great. We searched in vain for the elusive Comet Encke. We checked with several others on the field many of whom were very experienced observers, many with larger telescopes, but no one could see the tenth magnitude comet. Ray visited with us and others on the field in his quest to learn as much as possible about the choices of telescopes available while he decides which would be best for him. I logged 31 objects that first night. Eddie bagged a few more as we swapped looks through our telescopes and suggested targets to each other until about 1:30 or 2:00 AM Thursday morning.
Thursday we woke again to blue skies. We spent the day inspecting the other telescopes on the field and making a list of objects to observe after dark. There were a couple of telescopes on the observing field equipped with hydrogen alpha bandpass filters that showed several large prominences on the limb. Yet others had (filtered) white light images that showed those gigantic sunspot displays. At 4:00PM the first of several door prize drawings was held. Ray won a “glow-in-the-dark” Moon T-shirt – talk about beginners luck! Following the drawings, we left the observing field for our traditional trip just outside the park to “Mr. Whiskers” catfish restaurant. And who should we run into there but Robert! Filled with enough fried food to last us the entire week, we returned to the group camp for another night of observing. The temperature was pretty close to perfect and only required a sweatshirt later in the evening. I had commented to several others about how good Wednesday was, only to have that outdone by the best ever Thursday night! The notoriously faint and bland object, M-74, showed spiral structure in crisp detail the likes of which I have never seen before with my C-11. NGC-891 was as bright and well defined as I’ve ever seen it – the dust lane of the famous edge-on galaxy was easy. By 3:00AM we’d had all the fun we could stand and called it a night.
We had two programs Friday: Jack Huerkamp, of the Pontchartrain Astronomy Society, on "Planetary Software - Update and Review on what is available", and after lunch, Barry Simon, also of PAS, gave a presentation on "The Okie-Tex Star Party in Pictures". Friday started out nice but was beginning to cloud up by sunset. As it became more obvious that the sky was not going to get any better, the evening evolved into relaxing and socializing with our friends from Mobile and Pensacola.
The two Saturday programs were: Dr. Kent Clark, of the Mobile Astronomical Society, on "Founders of Celestial Mechanics", and later, Bruce Housey, of PAS on "Mars Opposition in Review". We filled the idle hours shopping at Rex’s Astro-Stuff, the only vendor for the event.
After supper, Phil Harrington, gave a presentation,
"Phil Harrington on Binocular Astronomy".
2003 was a very good year for DSRSG. We could have used one more clear night and would have stayed up even longer Thursday had we known what Friday was to bring, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire weekend. Hats off to event chairman, Barry Simon, and his staff of volunteers, who made DSRGS 2003 another terrific success!
I sent Astronomy magazine an e-mail asking them to begin my new subscription with the January 2004 issue. They said OK. I wonder if other members would like to do the same? For November and December I will just buy at newsstand. - John
AAS: Are you a seasoned amateur astronomer or just getting into the hobby?
Thanks for sharing this with us. If you have an e-mail address that I can send to, please let me know.
Following the Power Point presentation of Rick Evans’ “Tribute to the Auburn Astronomical Society” at our October meeting, several people expressed interest in having a copy their own.
Option 1 is to download the zipped file from the server.
After Un-Zipping, you should save both of the files listed below in the same directory:
Alabama - On This Side Of The Moon.mp3Option 2, will be that you reply here to let me know by Thursday night, that you’d like for me to burn you a CD and bring it to the meeting Friday. I only ask that you bring a blank CD to exchange. Let me know.
Mark Moe is back in the area. Here is our exchange:
At 09:07 PM 10/27/2003 -0500, you wrote:
Great web site "Upcoming Planetary Events and Missions". http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/upcoming.html
Where I get most of my information about upcoming events.
[SCT-User Mail List] djhanson100(at)yahoo(dot)com
From the “A Word A Day mail list http://wordsmith.orgClear Sky Clock: It’s Moved --Never Mind, It’s Back
Greg Glasscock had sent the notice of Clear Sky Clock’s problems with their Web host, but the problem now seems resolved. It’s back at: http://cleardarksky.com or http://www.cleardarksky.com A list of cities in Alabama is at: http://cleardarksky.com/csk/prov/Alabama_clocks.shtml
David King Jr. and Lucille Petruny had their photo of the aurora seen from Auburn on the evening of October 29, published on the SpaceWeather.Com page. You can see it in the archives for October 31 at http://www.spaceweather.com/archive.php
Following his return from DSRSG, Ray Kunert has ordered a Meade 10-inch LX200 GPS SCT. We look forward to playing with his new toy at the next star party.
Hope to see everyone Friday at the meeting,