This month’s meeting
will be on Friday, May 5
, at 8:00PM
in room 215 of the Aerospace
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 from Toomer’s
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
Our dark-sky star party
this month will be
on Saturday, May 27,
, clouds permitting of course.
Blondheim Star Gaze
wrote to say that everything is
set for this event . Rick said that Mr. Blondheim expressed interest
in having a facility for Montgomery
that would be home to a state-of-the-art planetarium and/or observatory.
Rick asked that we do a star gaze for the Blondheim's and their friends
at their home, on May 4. This could be a really nice thing
to the AAS volunteers for this event:
Ben Wouters - C-11 CPC
Russell Whigham - C-11
Patrick Moylan - EXT125
Aaron Wilson - 8-inch Meade LX90
Jim McLaughlin - 8-inch Meade LX200
Wayne Martin – Meade ETX 70
We’ll have a report on how it went at Friday’s meeting.
Astronomy Day 2006
This year, the Auburn
observed Astronomy Day in conjunction with
NASA's "Vision for Space Exploration Experience" exhibit at the W.
A. Gayle Planetarium
on Saturday, April 15th.
sky was clear most of the afternoon, but unseasonably warm, with temperatures
approaching 90 degrees at mid-afternoon.
day began at 3:00 PM with solar viewing provided to the public with the
planetarium's and AAS's Hydrogen alpha filtered telescopes as well as a
few scopes with traditional white light filters.
relatively quiet, the Sun did show one prominence and a lone tiny sunspot.
The Telescope Clinic was open, but we had no "patients"
this year.Normally members from the
Auburn Astronomical Society host a telescope clinic to answer questions
about different types of telescopes as well as doing minor repairs and
Guest speaker, Mitzi Adams, gave her talk in the
auditorium at 6:00 PM.Her presentation
was followed by remarks from Auburn Astronomical Society President, Dr.
Rhon Jenkins, telling the visitors of the purpose and activities of the
At 7:00 PM , visitors were treated to a "Tour of
the Night Sky" with the Spitz STP projectorin
the auditoriumset to display the
stars as they would be seen outside.A
brieftour of the simulated night
sky was conducted to point out the constellations visible from inside the
8:00 PM - Telescopic celestial viewing:The
Auburn Astronomical Society provided telescopes for the public to view
the wonders of the night sky.
Here is the list of telescope folks & scopes
who made this possible:
Rhon & Joyce Jenkins --
AAS PST solar scope
Mike Holley – AAS 8-inch Dob
Russell Whigham – Celestron C-11, SCT
Ray Kunert -- Meade LXD55 Refractor & Takahashi Sky90
Taylor Jernigan -- Meade ETX 125 Maksutov
Alan Cook -- 10-inch Meade LX-50
Wayne Martin and Jean Hafer – 5-inch reflector and ETX-70
Ben Wouters -- Celestron 11 CPC
Greg Glasscock -- 12.5” StarMaster
Patrick Moylan -- Meade ETX-125
John Tatarchuk -- 18-inch Obsession
Paul Williamson -- 120 ST rich field refractor
Thanks to all who volunteered -- especially those
who drove from out of town, as well as those who were unable to attend
this year for sending your regrets.
the photographs at the Astronomy
Day 2006 Web page
or from the AAS main menu, select “Field Trips/W.A.
Gayle Planetarium Events/Astronomy Day 2006”.
Please join me in
Peggy Russell of Montgomery
to the society.Peggy is eager to
learn to use her Tasco 11 TR reflector.New
to the mail list this month are Mr. and Mrs. Tom Eubanks,
and from Astronomy Day 2006: Kenneth Lenn, Tony Allen, and
Evans.We look forward to seeing
each of you soon and often.
Star Party Reports
From Aaron Wilson:
Observing Report: 22 Apr 06 Cliff Hill
weather looked too good to pass up, so I drove out to C.H.F. for a solo
observing session. The evening started out with a splendid view of
the ISS as it rose through Orion, just passing Mars, and fading into the
North through the Little Dipper and Draco. With my Dewbuster earning
its keep, I observed Jupiter, Saturn, and several Messier and NGC objects.
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (73P) oblong tail was barely visible at a
dim mag 9.2 in Corona Borealis. I then tried some guided imaging
with my 300D at prime focus and an 80mm guide scope I apparently didn’t
do so well on the comet, but did manage some decent images of M104, M65/66
Leo Triplet, M3, and M57. I still need to finish processing the images,
but M104 is attached for viewing. About 14-15 mag 3 or higher random
meteors were observed between 8pm and 1am, most of course occurring after
Overall, it was a nice evening
despite the presence of two enemies: high humidity and biting bugs.
Be prepared to combat moisture and mosquitoes the next time you head out!
Ray K and the April Star Party
Forget Sky Clock and the Weather Channel.Ray
Kunert has figured out how to tell if the weather will be good for
a scheduled star party at Cliff Hill’s farm.If
the newsletter editor sends a cancellation, the sky will be clear.Ray
missed the e-mail canceling the event and had 4 hours of clear sky all
to himself.In Montgomery,
we couldn’t even see Jupiter!Good
Georgia Sky View:
I haven’t heard if
any of our folks attended, but Rod Mollise, author of: Choosing
and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope and: The Urban Astronomer's
Guide, has written a report on the 2006 edition of the Georgia Sky
View, on his Astro Blog:http://journals.aol.com/rmollise/UncleRodsAstroBlog/
Loaner scope steward,
Jenkins, reports that the PST solar scope will be available at this
has reserved the 8-inch Dob for May.
You may have noticed
the new link on the AAS main Menu:
“Loaner Scopes”.Instructions for
using the 8-inch are now online.
know ASAP if you (members only) would like to borrow either of these scopes.
Venus Express News
May 7, 2006 - Venus Express reaches final 24-hour
polar orbit around Venus
June 4, 2006 - Official start of Venus Express observations
"A series of further engine and thruster burns are
planned to gradually reduce the apocentre during the following 16 orbital
loops around the planet and the spacecraft is due to attain its final 24-hour
polar orbit on 7 May, ranging from 66 000 to 250 kilometers above Venus."
Such opportunities will not occur again during the
nominal mission, starting on 4 June 2006, when the range of distances from
the planet will be much smaller."
whole comet train is now several degrees long, chugging from Corona Borealis
into Hercules well up in the east by late evening. Don't miss this event!
Use the charts in the May Sky
& Telescope for bright Fragment C. Fragment B is currently
(May 1st) following about 4 days behind it and 5° farther north. Detailed
finder chart for C, B, G, and R.
On the evening of May 7th for North America,
C will pass almost exactly over the Ring Nebula in Lyra! Closest approach
should be around 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (3:00 May 8th Universal
Time). Mark your calendar.
This comet broke apart back in 1995 and is now in
up to 36 fragments. With binoculars and a dark sky, observers will
see the combined light of these -- the fragments are only visible in larger
It will appear as fairly large faint fuzzy glow from dark skies.
Because the approach is so close to earth, the apparent motion is relatively
fast with the key word being relatively
. As viewed against
the background stars, the motion will have the approximate apparent motion
of the minute hand of a clock.
Seeing , Darkness, and Transparency
From John Mahony and “Starhopper44” via the Yahoo!
"Seeing" refers to the effect of atmospheric turbulence
on the image. Stars may appear to bounce around or wiggle or blur.
It affects planet images or views of close double stars. It doesn't
have much affect on deep-sky objects (usually faint and viewed at lower
power, so you don't notice the effect as much), but it can make it difficult
to guide a long exposure image accurately.
One of the most common mistakes in terminology that
newbies make is to use the term "seeing" to refer to atmospheric viewing
conditions in general. They incorrectly lump "seeing" with "transparency",
which refers to how clear or hazy it is. Good transparency is needed
for good views of faint deep-sky objects, but doesn't have much effect
on bright planets or double stars.
for an explanation of the Pickering
seeing scale, and animated examples of what stars look like in different
seeing conditions. This is a 10 point scale.
A good explanation & how it's applied to your
Clear Sky Clock can be found here: http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/astro/seeing_e.html
.And if you'd like to read up on
the subject in more depth, Google up this text string: "Pickering
scale" +seeing .
Thad Floryan via the Yahoo! SCT-Users Group
firstname.lastname@example.org, "magsterone2001" wrote:
Just wondering what y'all use as scope covers for outside? What
materials and where to buy it?
Rolled into a cylinder and fastened with Reflectix tape, then a "cap" also
made from Reflectix and joined to the cylinder with Reflectix tape.
Mine's worked fine for almost 2 years now:
the Reflectix at OSH
(hardware subsidiary of Sears) but it's also available at Home Depot and
any similar type of store.
on WSFA Channel 12
Recently, Rich Thomas, chief meteorologist at WSFA,
has launched an "Astronomy Minute" to the Sunday 10:00 newscast, near the
end of the broadcast. The first
two installments have dealt with what’s up, how to find Jupiter and Saturn,
and how to locate Arcturus and Spica, using the Big Dipper as a guide.I’ve
offered our input on local activities and events that have been welcomed
by Mr. Thomas.If you have suggestions
for topics to be aired, contact Rich
Hope to see everyone at the meeting,