Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
This month’s meeting will be on Friday, October 7, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building. If available parking space is still an issue, Rhon suggests trying the on-street parking on Wright St., the first street (north) off of W. Magnolia. 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. Alan Cook wrote:
I have been contacted by a reporter from the Opelika-Auburn Daily News, our local newspaper. After answering his questions he asked if it would be okay to send a photographer to our next meeting.
October 7, October meeting
Time to sign up for club subscriptions for Sky & Telescope and/or Astronomy magazines. AAS treasurer, John Zachry, would like to get all of them in this month. John writes:
The cut off date will be Wednesday, November 9, 2005 when I will send them in. I will mail in club subscriptions for members anytime after that date but as a favor to me if you want a discount subscription I wish you would tell me early even if you have not given me a check.
If you cannot be at our next meeting to pay for their subscription(s) please send John an e-mail (and pay later) or letter (with check) telling him you want to be included. We need at least 5 subscriptions to each to qualify for discounts. Checks must be made out to “Auburn Astronomical Society”.
Address: Auburn Astronomical Society
We've just celebrated our 25th year as the Auburn Astronomical Society. I think everyone who attended the anniversary event will agree that it was something special, as have been the past 25 years. When the AAS began in September 1980 our dues for full membership were $15 per year. As we begin the next 25 years, the full membership dues are still $15 per year. However, old man inflation is breathing down our necks and it's getting harder to keep our treasury balance on the plus side. The only way to keep going is to increase our membership dues. Thus, beginning with the 2006 dues year, membership dues will be:
My name is Charlie King and I got your e-mail address form the AAS website. I'm a resident of Montgomery and I am interested in attending the upcoming star party scheduled for Sat. Oct. 1st. and maybe a meeting of the AAS, just to see what it's all about. I'm very much an amateur but have had some past experience in astronomy. Are non-members allowed to attend AAS star parties ? I currently own a 200mm Newtonian on a driven equatorial mount, and a small Meade go-to scope.
I somehow missed your earlier correspondence about AAS. I've just added you to the AAS mail list. You'll be receiving the e-newsletter as well as other special announcements about our activities.
We're glad to have you with us.
Thanks for your kindness in doing this. I sent my membership check to John today.
Syd Spain, Ph.D., AICP
I’m fairly new to the area, and would like to join the club. Barring any circumstances, I’ll be at the next monthly meeting in Oct, and will mail in my membership dues per the website this next week.
The link above gives a nice timeline of events
for the 2005 opposition of Mars. Here is a brief comparison of this
years and the once-in-a-lifetime event we had a couple of years ago.
Mars appears to make a loopty-loop in the sky
as it goes through opposition. Ptolemy employed epicycles to explain
this phenomenon. Then along came Copernicus, rearranged the solar
system, and gave us a simpler reason for this bizarre behavior on
the part of Mars. An animation of Mars’ retrograde makes this obvious:
Which side is visible? Scroll down to near the end of this link to launch the Java Script: http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/article_997_1.asp
CLICK HERE to download Mars Previewer II (3.0MB).
Is there any interest in doing a public event
for this? We can talk about it at the meeting.
AAS 25 Year
Our 25-year anniversary banquet was held on Saturday, September 10, 2005, and served as our September meeting. Rick Evans, director of the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, in Montgomery, graciously allowed us to use the facilities for the banquet and the presentation that followed. This date fell within two calendar days of the actual first AAS meeting, 25 years ago. Our special guests, Keith Hudson, founder of the Auburn Astronomical Society, his wife Carolyn, and daughter, Mandy, were there from Florence AL.
Society members began arriving just after 5:00 to meet and mingle . We all enjoyed seeing each other and getting to know the families of our members.
Rick and staffer, Jennifer Dobbs, outdid themselves decorating the planetarium for us. The tables and chairs were already arranged for the banquet -- each table with its own window view. Stars and planets adorned the tablecloths, and the scrolling banner sign made note of our special day.
Following welcoming remarks from AAS president,
Jenkins, we began eating at 6:00PM. Demitri Polizos and his staff
from the Capitol Grill in Montgomery, catered the event and served as we
processed down the buffet line that included: grilled chicken,
roast beef, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, and a broccoli / cauliflower
mix; rolls; bread pudding for dessert; and tea . Rick had made coffee
available as well. The following members attended the banquet: Joe
and Kathy Albree; Glynn and Mary Alexander;
William and Janet Baugh, and daughter,
Alan and Susie Cook; Jeff Graves; Mike Holley;
Keith and Carolyn Hudson, and daughter, Mandy;
Rhon and Joyce Jenkins; David King;
Eddie and Liz Kirkland; Ray and Ann Kunert;
Chuck and Bette Lewis; Jim and Kayla McLaughlin,
and son, Sam; Patrick and Susan Moylan; Allen and
Screws; Gail and Marvin Smitherman; Russell
Cathy Whigham; and John Zachry.
With house lights dimmed and stars projected overhead, Rhon presented Keith with a AAS shirt as a token of our appreciation for his vision and leadership in the early days of the society. In his acceptance remarks, Keith thanked us for carrying on the tradition that he had envisioned.
At this point, Rick asked Rhon to remain up front as he presented to Rhon, in the society's behalf, a proclamation from Governor Bob Riley, designating September 10, 2005, "Auburn Astronomical Society Day". It was at Rick's urging that the proclamation was issued. Thanks to Rick for doing this. What nice surprise and a thoughtful gesture.
Next, yet another surprise from Rick. On the dome was projected a 15-20 minute Power Point presentation set to appropriately astronomical music, with images of the society's past, including many of our members and friends, in sync with the music, .
Following a heart felt round of applause for Rick's tribute, Rhon introduced our speaker, Dr. David T. King Jr., who gave a an excellent presentation on the Wetumpka meteor crater.
David began with an overview of the conditions at the site at the time of the impact. The shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico covered the area 80-83 million years ago. He described the composition and angle of entry of the carbonaceous condrite asteroid, comparing the size of the asteroid to that of Jordan-Hare stadium, in Auburn, and the awesome devastation to the entire region that ensued. He then went on to describe the rebound and crater wall formations. Conclusive proof was collected in 1999 when shocked quartz was found in the core samples of an exploratory well.
David's presentation was interesting and informative employing attention grabbing graphics and presented in primarily lay terms for the benefit of most of us there. His talk made liberal use of analogies and every-day comparisons to help us cope with the otherwise incomprehensible statistics. At the conclusion of his presentation, David entertained questions from our group.
Special thanks to David for working us into his busy schedule. He left early Sunday morning to attend a geological conference in Tennessee.
Special thanks as well, to Rick Evans who had a long day -- traveling to Talladega for another commitment and returning in time to host our event.
And, to our officers: president, Rhon Jenkins at the helm; vice president, Allen Screws; and treasurer, John Zachry, who have kept us going for most of the past 25 years, our grateful thanks for jobs too often taken for granted.
And finally, and most importantly, our eternal thanks to Keith Hudson without whom, none of this would have ever happened.
Event organizer, Barry Simon, has had better years. He evacuated his home in New Orleans as hurricane Katrina approached. He was staying at his sister’s beach house in Galveston until hurricane Rita came knocking. He just retruned home last week to access damage, but he’s determined to make DSRSG 2005 happen. In a major break in tradition, the location of this year’s DSRSG had been moved from it’s erstwhile permanent home at Percy Quin State Park, near McComb MS, to a darker location, Camp Ruth Lee in Louisiana -- about another hour farther away from us. It’s just as well, since Percy Quin was commandeered to be used as housing by storm restoration crews.
Due to the extreme circumstances, the DSRSG 2005 has been shortened from 4 nights to 2 nights. That means that general registrants cannot arrive until Friday morning, 10/28. You can download the registration form from the Yahoo! Groups Deep South Regional Star Gaze files section.
Peach State Star Gaze 2005
See the link on the PSSG Registration Information
Chiefland Star Party
Oct. 4 Expedition 12 crew docks
NASA held a news conference on Monday, Sept. 19 at 11:00 a.m. on NASA TV about future plans to return to the Moon. Bad time to advocate new $ 100 billion program. NASA says they want to return to the Moon by 2018. We’ll have a copy of news conference to view at the meeting.
China plans to launch their next men in space October 11, 2005. This certainly will help NASA's Lunar Landing Program. ESA will launch Venus Express October 26, 2005 - expect to arrive March 28, 2006 and be operational April 2, 2006.
Haven't heard anything about expected global dust storms on Mars - usually occur one to two months after perihelion.
If you can get the Science Channel you will be
able to see a new updated version of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series That
began on Tuesday, September 27 at 8:00 p.m. CDT .
Thought you would like to see one of my better shots with the 20D. I have been working on getting my tracking down on the repaired scope lately and it has paid off. You can tell the IR is well blocked with the pre-filter but I really like the blue response I got although not totally natural. Enjoy...Scott is referring to his image of M-27, the “Dumbbell” nebula. I’m pretty sure that this is THE best image ever made by anyone in AAS. Other members, Ray Kunert and Chuck Lewis are venturing into astro-imaging. New friend, Aaron Wilson also has expierence in this area. Perhaps we can get them to give us a program on imaging.
AAS members are entitled to Oceanside Photo and Telescope discounts that run from 2% -10%, depending on the item. Refer to the Auburn Astronomical Society and discount number 70003 when ordering.
Here is a link to a astronomy web site the features
monthly constellations and telescopic objects:
I found this on Sky Clock. It shows a huge dark sky region west of Greenville. From this link, click on the “Image Overlay” link (small font just above the map). Be sure you have “Boundries” and “Roads” selected in Goggle Earth.
I don’t ordinarily put commercial links here, but here are two that may be of interest:
Starry Night Lights is a night sky friendly lighting retailer. www.StarryNightLights.com You might want to get one of these for your neighbor. We might want to get one for Cliff Hill’s neighbor.
Imagetech-Ontario’s primary business is to enlarge and print astronomical images and photographs. http://www.imagetech-ontario.com/
I had a call from Rick Evans, director of the W. A. Gayle Planetarium in Montgomery. Rick is ready to take our cooperative ventures to the next level. He suggested that in addition to our annual Astronomy Day and special events such as the Mars Gaze, that we have monthly “How To” programs at the planetarium aimed at budding amateur astronomers. Rick proposed that we begin with a November program entitled, “Choosing a Telescope” just in time for Santa’s helpers to get their orders in for the holidays. This would be followed by “Using Your Telescope” in January, and a program in following months on: binoculars, eyepieces, star charts, solar system observing, deep sky observing, and practical observing techniques.
This is something we can discuss at the meeting. It will require a commitment from members willing to volunteer their time to this. We have enough experienced people to make this work without making it a burden on a handful.
Hope to see everyone at the meeting,