Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
May, 2007

In this Issue

May Events Upcoming Events
Astronomy Day Member News
AAS Shirts Short Subjects

May Events

 This month’s meeting will be on Friday, May 4, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  On the agenda will be a discussion on ordering AAS shirts for those who have joined since out last batch a few years ago.   The parking lot behind the AE building has reopened. 

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. 

We have two chances for a dark-sky star party this month. The first will be on Saturday, May 12, then again on the following Saturday, May 19, at Cliff Hill’s farm, clouds permitting of course. 

Upcoming Events

May 4, May meeting
May 12, 1st May star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
May 19, 2nd May star party at Cliff Hill’s farm / Sidewalk Astronomy Night? 
June 1, June meeting
June 16, June star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
July 13, July meeting.  Note date change for the holiday weekend.
July 14, July star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
August 3, August meeting
August 11, August star party/Perseid meteor shower at Cliff Hill’s farm
Astronomy Day 2007

Saturday, April 21, was a beautiful clear spring day with temperatures in the mid-to-high 70's and with a mild breeze all afternoon and evening.  The Auburn Astronomical Society in partnership with the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, celebrated the tenth anniversary of their combined efforts in celebrating National Astronomy Day, the planetarium in Oak Park in Montgomery

Planetarium director, Rick Evans', announcements on National Public Radio's WTSU (and satellite stations) and nice article in the Montgomery Advertiser brought out an estimated crowd of 250 visitors for this year's event.  Rick is as good a host as he is a publicist.  Rick had name tags for us and later, pizza and soft drinks.   Rick also had a huge cake decorated with an image of the Andromeda Galaxy on it for the visitors to help celebrate our tenth year of cooperation. 

The following were there with their scopes to help with Astronomy Day: 

• Rhon & Joyce Jenkins  -- AAS's PST solar scope 
• Alan & Susie Cook, 10-inch LX-50 SCT; 
• Mike Holley & Donna  Celestron CPC11, 
• Ray & Anne Kunert -- Meade LXD55 Refractor 
• Tom & Julie McGowan 8-inch Homemade Reflector 
• Allen & Christy Screws, AAS's 8-inch Dobsonian
• Eddie Kirkland, 10-inch Dobsonian 
• Scott Thompson 7-inch Astro-Physics refractor 
• Russell Whigham, 11-inch f/10 SCT
• Don & Kim Cluck, TeleVue NP-101 refractor
• Scott & Rocio Roberts, 12-inch Orion Intelliscope Dobsonian
• Shane & Mary Beth Bledsoe, 8-inch Meade LX200 SCT
• Chuck Lewis, 10-inch Meade LX200 SCT 
Scopeless this year, but there for moral support were: 
• Gail & Marvin Smitherman
• John Tatarchuk 
• Ben Hammond
• Frank Ward
• John Howard
• Nichole Long
• Rod Havens
Several visitors with scopes from a 60mm refractor, to a 12-inch Dobsonian showed up to help.  Scores of AAS information handouts, catalogs, and past issues of magazines were taken by our visitors. 

Our day's events included:

3:00PM:  AAS members and friends began setting up telescopes.  Early bird visitors were able to view the four-day-old Moon, and the Sun in the light of hydrogen-alpha with the AAS PST scope, and members filtered white-light images. 

5:00PM: Telescope Clinic was open for guests to bring their sick, disassembled, or otherwise malfunctioning telescopes for repair. 

6:00 PM: Planetarium show in the auditorium. 

7:00 PM: Rick presented  a "Tour of the Night Sky" in the planetarium, giving an overview of what the guests will see when they see when they step outside. 

8:00 PM:  The guests came out to view the planets Venus, Saturn, its rings and moons; the mountains and craters of the four-day-old Moon and binary stars. 

Many thanks to all who participated, and special thanks to Rick Evans for making this happen every year for the past decade.  It was great to visit with our old friends and make some new ones.  

Images of the day's activities are at “Field Trips” link from the AAS menu, then to “W.A. Gayle Planetarium Events”. .   

Member News

Jeff  Logue wrote to say that he has ordered an eight-inch Dobsonian.

John Zachry had to get a new computer and will be out of e-touch for a week or so.

John Tatarchuk is going to Huntsville this summer for a co-op position and will be back with us in the fall.

AAS Shirts

It’s been two years since we placed our last order for AAS shirts.  Since then, we’ve had several new members requesting shirts.  If you are interested in having one (or more), let me know and I’ll forward the order to Ricky Woods & Scott Thompson, who have so abely handled this for us in years past.  We’ll need to know:

  • Men’s or Womens
  • Size
  • Quantity 
  • With or without your name embroidered.
We also might want to consider ordering additional shirts to keep an inventory for future 

Short Subjects

Tele Vue Announces new Eyepiece Design

From: "Robert Harris" <>

Tele Vue has a page up on its new Tele Vue 13mm Ethos eyepiece now:
The following specs are from that page:

Tele Vue 13mm Ethos Specifications 
*       Apparent Field: 100º 
*       Focal Length: 13mm 
*       Effective Field Stop: larger than a 16mm Nagler Type 5 
*       Eye Relief: 15mm (accepts DIOPTRX(tm) eyesight astigmatism corrector) 
*       Barrel Size: 2"/1¼" 
*       Weight: 1.24lbs. 

Availability: Summer/Fall 2007

NexStar Tours

From: "Victor" <>

Through this post I would like to let you all know I put 284 NexTours online, for use with Celestron's NexStar controlled telescopes and software.

Many of you read the Spring 2007 edition of Uncle Rod's Skywatch, for which I wrote an article titled "Guided Observations". The guides on my website have matching Autostar tours for use with Meade's telescopes. 

Yesterday I added Nextours to it, 284 in total. The number of tours will continue to grow and will be updated whenever it's needed. I hope you will give the tours a try, with or without the matching observation guide(s). Please let me know how they work!

They can be found on my website, under Guides, Logs & Tours.

New Astronomy Magazine

From: "Thad Floryan" <>

Just heard about this earlier today: Astronomy Technology Today.

A sample article about Hyperstar on a C14 is here:

Sidewalk Astronomy Night  (April 19, 2007)

Fresh on the heels of our April program on John Dobson’s push for “taking astronomy to the people”, let’s see if there is interest in doing this:

Female Amateur Astronomers

Dear Amateur Astronomer:

We are actively seeking your input!  As part of a research project in public astronomy education, two of your colleagues would like to gather data on the interests, attitudes, and experiences of female amateur astronomers.  Judy Koke and Laura Danly have devised an on-line survey and invite women amateur astronomers to participate.  The survey takes no longer than 10 minutes to complete.  The survey can be found at: 

The results will be published in an upcoming volume from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific on amateur astronomers and astronomy education entitled "Science Educators in Our Midst: Amateur Astronomers Engaged in Education and  Public Outreach" (working title)  due out in September, 2007.

We expect to finish collecting data by the middle of May.  We would be most appreciative if you can visit our survey web site before that time. The more responses we gather, the better we can understand the landscape for women in amateur astronomy clubs.  We hope our results might help illuminate how AA clubs can better recruit and serve women generally, and thus grow club membership.

If you have any questions or concerns about this survey, please feel free to contact either of the researchers.

Thanks so much for your time and your thoughts,
Judy and Laura.

Dr. Judy Koke   Dr. Laura Danly
Senior Research Associate Curator
Institute for Learning Innovation  Griffith Observatory
166 West Street  2800 E. Observatory
Annapolis, MD 21401    Los Angeles, CA  90027
Hoping to see everyone at the meeting and star party,