Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
July, 2005

In this Issue

July Events Maxwell School Star Gaze
Loaner Scopes AAS Shirts
Upcoming Events AAS 25-year Anniversary Celebration
Member News Earth

July Events

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, July 8, 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. 

Our dark-sky star party this month (tropical storms and hurricanes permitting) will be on the following Saturday, July, 9, at  Cliff Hill’s farm

Maxwell Elementary School Star Gaze

Last month, I received a phone call from Ms. Peggy Dorminey, fourth grade teacher at Maxwell AFB Elementary school, asking that we do our thing with the telescopes for her class.   She wanted to have it in conjunction with the annual Perseid meteor shower.  Please let me know if you can help.   Here is my reply to Ms Dorminey:

Thank you for your invitation to host a star gaze for your students.  The Auburn Astronomical Society does host star gazes for interested groups such as your class, and your event is just the sort of thing we would like to do. 

As I mentioned in our telephone conversation earlier this evening, the Perseid meteor shower will peak on the night of Friday/Saturday, August 12/13.  Again, the first quarter Moon will wash out all but the brightest of the meteors, but we can have the kids look at Jupiter, Venus and the Moon through the telescopes.

I'll mention your event in our next e-newsletter and put out a call for members to bring their telescopes.  We can work out the details as time draws nearer to the event.

Here's a link to the "Deep Impact" event on July 4:

If you'd like to have the kids walk a model solar system,  the following link will calculate the scaled distances, as well as the relative sizes of the planets:

We're looking forward to your event.  Thank you for doing this for your class.


Loaner Scopes

Jim McLaughlin used the PST in June and David McConnell has it for July.  Rhon reports that use of both the PST and the 8-inch Dob have picked up lately.  If you want to reserve your time with the loaned scopes, make your request with Rhon. 

AAS Shirts

Scott Thompson just returned from his vacation in France.  He called to see if our shirts were ready, only to find out that they were closed for the Fourth of July week.  He’ll try again next week.  We should have the shirts by the August meeting.  Thanks again to Scott for handling this for us. 

Upcoming Events

  • July 8, AAS Meeting – Note the deviation from the 1st Friday because of the holiday conflict
  • July 8 - Mercury at greatest eastern elongation
  • July 9, Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm
  • July 13 - Space Shuttle Discovery launch date
  • July 14 - Cassini flyby of Enceladus at 2:56 p.m. CDT (109 miles altitude)
  • July 17 - Mars at perihelion - Global dust storms expected in 1 - 2 months thereafter -
  • August 2 - Messenger spacecraft to Mercury flyby of Earth for gravity assist
  • August 5, AAS Meeting
  • August 6, Star Party at Cliff Hill’s farm
  • September, AAS 25-year Anniversary Celebration.  Date TBA
Thanks to John Zachry for the dates of upcoming space events. 

AAS 25-year Anniversary Celebration

Rhon is still working on a date that will be satisfactory to all concerned. Rick Evans is allowing us to use the facilities at the W. A. Gayle Planetarium.  William Baugh is working with the caterer.  Rhon is firming up details up our speaker, Dr. David T. King Jr.  We’ll let you know about the menu and cost of the meal as that information becomes available.

Member News

If you were at the June star party, you already know that William Baugh bought Rhon Jenkins’ 18-inch StarMaster.   And, lest you think Rhon is going to be scopeless for very long, he writes that he has an 11" Celestron CPC scope, a Denkmeier binoviewer, and two 22mm Panoptics on order.  Ray Kunert is gearing up to try some digital imaging with his new Meade CCD.  Your editor bought Scott Thompson’s Canon EOS 10D, and Scott is the proud owner of a new 20D.  You can see the fruits of Scott’s labor with his new camera while on his vacation in France at:


This is marginally astronomy related as Earth is the most important (to us) planet.  It’s a great new (free) offering from Google at:  It’s an enhancement of Google’s “Keyhole” satellite image product.

“Earth” is a high resolution 3-D satellite image world atlas, that lets you zoom, tilt, and "fly" anywhere on Earth.  You'll need at least DSL or cable and a fairly new computer (less than 4 years old) with a 3-D graphics card.  The interface takes 5-10 minutes to download and just a couple of minutes to install.  It also lets you place overlays for streets, restaurants, lodging, etc. as you “fly” over the streets of the city you’re visiting.    Be sure to check “Buildings” when flying over Manhattan or Chicago.  The red circle on the direction control is the joystick knob.  Click and drag toward the direction you want to go.  I think you'll be impressed.

Hope to see everyone at the meeting and star party,