Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
October, 2004

In this Issue

October Events Origins Series on PBS
Occultation of (223) Rosa New Comets
Please Welcome… Member News
Regional Star Parties Domain Name Connection Tests

October Events

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, October 01, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  Riders from the Montgomery area are welcome to meet at the home of Russell Whigham, 518 Seminole Dr., and carpool over to Auburn.  Plan to be ready to leave for Auburn at 7:00PM.

The Coronado PST Hydrogen-Alpha Solar telescope with tripod and equatorial mount that was ordered from Orion Telescopes in July, has arrived. We'll have the official unveiling and set-up demo at the meeting.  We’ll also have a video on solar phenomenon, so we’ll know what we’re looking at with the new scope.

Our star party this month will be the following weekend, Friday/Saturday, October 8/9, at  Cliff Hill’s farm.  We’ve had good success at scheduling our star parties on either/or Friday/Saturday evenings.  Keep an eye on the weather and pick the best night.  All things being equal, Saturday seems to be the day of choice for most. For those not attending the Deep South Regional Star Gaze, the following weekend, October 15/16 will be good too.

Origins on PBS

Dr. Neil Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, will be hosting  a series of NOVA programs for PBS entitled "Origins", which will be broadcast on September  28 and 29 from 7-9 PM, CDST.  The program has its own website:

Dr. Tyson has also written a companion book to the series (with Donald  Goldsmith), which has just come out.  The book is entitled:   Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution and is published by W.W. Norton.

John Zachry sends the following links:

You can subscribe to NOVA Bulletins about upcoming programs at  

 Watch your head!
Live coverage of SpaceShip One launch at 8 a.m. CDT on the Science Channel also on

Occultation of (223) Rosa

From: David Dunham <>
Subject: Need your help with Rosa Tuesday night 

No, not the woman in Spiderman, but to observe an occultation by the 87-km mainbelt asteroid (223) Rosa that will occult 11.1-mag. TYC 5814-00435-1 Tuesday night, actually early Wed. morning September 29 UT at 6:35 UT (2:35 am EDT) across south-central and northeastern North Carolina (with Norfolk and Hampton Roads, VA in the n. uncertainty area), northern S. Carolina, and n. Georgia (Atlanta just inside n. limit); at 6:36 UT (1:36 am CDT) over southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, and Louisiana (over s.w. part and Baton Rouge); at 6:37 UT (1:37 am CDT) over s. Texas (Houston, Victoria, Laredo, and Galveston in s. uncertainty zone); 6:38 UT over n.w. Mexico; and 6:39 UT (12:39 pm MDT) over southern Baja Calif., with La Paz just inside the n. limit.  Let me know if you’ll try this fairly good event so that we might coordinate coverage.  If another woman, tropical storm Jeanne, gets out of the way as she’s forecast to do by then (her motion seems to already be a little faster than predicted during the last few hours; Accuweather forecasts that it will become mostly clear in Kitty Hawk, NC by about midnight, and any remaining clouds are likely to be in the n.e., the opposite direction of the star in the s.w.), I will lead an expedition from the DC area to observe the occultation from northeastern NC, probably between Myock and Kitty Hawk (from near the n. limit to the central line).  There will probably be other mobile observers so let me know your plans; we don’t want to duplicate fixed-site observer chords and the Accuweather forecast is pretty good over the entire track in the USA.  If I have time, I’ll prepare and distribute a station list tomorrow evening; if I go, I would like to leave the DC area before 4 pm on Tuesday.
The target star is at J2000 RA 22h 33m 00.3s, Dec. -11 deg. 42’ 51” in Aquarius about a deg. south and a little east of 5th-mag. Sigma Aquarii.  Some detailed finder charts, path details, and a map of the path can be found on Steve Preston’s Web site at A central occultation is expected to last 9 seconds with an easily-seen 3.6-magnitude drop.  Good luck with your observations.

David Dunham, IOTA, Sept. 27 UT, 4h UT

New Comets

2004 Q1 Tucker is a newly-discovered 12th magnitude comet in Cetus.   Comet Tucker was discovered on CCD images by Roy A. Tucker of   Tucson, Arizona, on August 23. This comet should brighten until   around November 1, when it should be brighter than 11th magnitude   and be in Andromeda. Throughout this time it will be well placed for evening observation from both the northern and southern hemispheres.

You might try for 2004/Q2 Machholz.  It is about 45 degrees lower than Q1 Tucker, but presently about 2 magnitudes brighter.

Please Welcome…

Elizabeth Copelin first visited with us last winter.  Elizabeth is senior at A.U., majoring in  Aerospace Engineering.  Welcome to AAS, Elizabeth!

Tom McGowan, (gee this name sounds familiar) comes to us from Kingman, Arizona.  Tom has relocated to Alabama in search of muggier skies and larger mosquitoes.  He also makes big Dobsonian telescopes.  Oh, now I remember!  Tom was a member here a couple of years ago!  Tom asked that I keep his return a secret so he could surprise everyone, but I just can’t keep this kind of information in the vault.  Welcome back, Tom!  It’s great to have you, Julie, and Katie back with us.

Member News

From Gail Smitherman:   
I took advantage of the power being out in my neighborhood Friday night to do some stargazing.  Could see the milky way streaking overhead very easily.   Lights were on some in Selma and I could definitely see just how far up the light pollution extended  to the south of my house.  Hope you made it OK through Ivan.  We went 48 hours with no power , counted ourselves lucky.

Deep South Regional Star Gaze 2004

The dates for this year’s DSRSG are October 13 - 17, 2004, at Percy Quin State Park, McComb, Mississippi.  The web address is: .  Once in the DSRSG Yahoo Group, go to files, and DSRSG 2004 Registration and Liability Form.  So far, representing AAS are Ray Kunert, and Russell Whigham.  

The major door prize for this year is the Coronado MaxScope 40 hydrogen alpha solar telescope that will be awarded on Friday afternoon.  Other prizes this year include a 4.5" f/4 reflector, complete with equatorial mount ; (2) 80 mm rich field refractors complete with case, eyepieces and tabletop mounts; and a pair of 10x50 Orion UltraView Binoculars.

This Friday, October 1st is the deadline date for DSRSG registrations without paying higher penalty rates. 

Chiefland Star Party – 2004

This year’s Fall Star Party at the Chiefland Astronomy Village in Chiefland, FL will be held November 7-14.  Anyone interested attending may visit the website at .  Please note that the event is now “Pre-registration only” and registration forms must be in by October 1.  Hope to see you there!!

Domain Name Connection Tests

Thanks to all who assisted with the test in connecting to  With your help, I was able to point EarthLink engineers to the problem that seemed to affect only EarthLink/MindSpring users in Alabama.  The problem seems to have been fixed.  I only knew of this because I am a MindSpringer.  If you have problems consistently failing to connect to the AAS Web site, please let me know.

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,