Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
January, 2008

In this Issue

January Events AAS Membership Dues 
AAS Shirts are Here Forest Ecology Preserve Star Gaze
Space News Cool Links

January Events

Because of the New Year’s Day holiday weekend, we are combining our January meeting with a star gaze at the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest (on Moore's Mill Road, in Auburn) on Saturday, January 12 (see below).

January 12, Forest Preserve Star Gaze

January 30, An asteroid "2007 WD5" traveling at 13.5 km/sec, may be on a collision  course with Mars. The odds at this time are about 1 in 25 of a hit on 30 January  2008.  The  asteroid is 50 meters (164 feet) across. At an orbital speed of about  28,000 miles per hour. It’s will be on the order of 3 megatons or more.

2008 AAS Membership Dues
John B. Zachry

AAS membership dues ($20.00) are due in January. Make checks payable to “Auburn Astronomical Society”. Special thanks to those members who do not attend on a regular basis but still want to help us out by paying A.A.S. membership dues. 

Auburn Astronomical Society
c/o John B. Zachry
501 Summerfield Road
West Point, GA 31833
Please join me in welcoming Ms. Memorie Souza, Abbeville, AL.  We hope Memorie will be joining us at meetings and star parties soon.
AAS Shirts are Here
The AAS shirts are here.  We’ll have them at the Forest Preserve star gaze.  The cost will be $31.50 for shirts with names and $29.00 for no name shirts.  Make checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society.
Amount Due
Shane  Bledsoe M XL Shane $31.50
Don Cluck M L 1 Don $31.50
Kim Cluck W Kim $31.50
Mike Holley M XL 1 Mike $31.50
Ray Kunert M XL 1 Ray $31.50
Trey Lee M XL 1 None $29.00
Erika Lefever W S None $29.00
Jeff Logue M XL 1 None $29.00
John Tatarchuk M L None $29.00
Frank Ward M L 1 None $29.00

Many thanks to Scott Thompson, for doing this.   AAS treasurer, John Zachry, reports no payment for the shirts have been received.  So we can get your shirts to you, please make your checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society send your to: 

Auburn Astronomical Society 
c/o John B. Zachry 
501 Summerfield Road 
West Point, GA 31833 

Forest Ecology Preserve Star Gaze
Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest
Auburn AL 
Saturday, January 12, 7:00PM

Jennifer Lolley and the members of her forest preserve group have invited us back to the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest for a star gaze.  Jennifer has already sent out flyers announcing a 7:00PM start time.  Sunset will be about 5:00PM.  The gate will be open from 5:00 on, if you prefer to set up your scope before dark.

Here is Rhon’s description of the facility: 

The Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest  is on Moore’s Mill Road.  I can honestly say that it’s probably the nicest site (from the standpoint of amenities) that we’ve ever used for an event like this... including the planetarium in Montgomery.  The site is about 1/3 mile off the road (Moores Mill) on a very accessible dirt/grass road.  It contains a nice open area (about 3 to 4 acres) for viewing, with good visibility to the east and south, acceptable viewing to the west, and Auburn city lights to the north.  There is a covered pavilion area (I’d guess about 40 ft by 60 ft) and restrooms for the guys and gals.  It has power and lights, and the lights are on switches.   The road, and a residence near the road, are definitely well shielded by trees.  Oh, and there’s a nice parking area for visitors too. 

Directions to Mary Olive Thomas Forest: 

For those familiar with Auburn:  on Moore’s Mill Road, one mile east of the Ogletree Village shopping center ... on the north side of the road.  There will be a sign at the gate.  The shopping center is at the intersection of Moores Mill Road and Ogletree-Hamilton road.  This intersection is east of Dean Road, on Moores Mill. 

For those coming from out of town:  take exit 58 off I-85 (Tigertown exit) south (away from Tigertown).  This exit road takes a curve toward the east and, approximately 0.7 miles after you get off the interstate, intersects Society Hill Road (runs north-south).  It's a fairly large intersection, so it'll be hard to miss.   Approximately 3.2 miles later, Society Hill intersects Moores Mill at a flashing red light.  There's a convenience store called the LAZ-B at this intersection.  Turn right on Moores Mill.  The gate will be about 0.9 mile on the right. 

Activities will begin at 7:00, but the gate will be open before sunset.  Here is Jennifer’s announcement:

"Starry Nights"
Saturday, January 12th
7:00-10:00 p.m.

Enjoy a night under the stars with the Forest Ecology Preserve staff and the Auburn Astronomical Society at the A.U. Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest on Moore's Mill Road. A short educational program will start the evening. Jennifer Lolley will present a star show. The Auburn Astronomical Society will have their high-powered telescopes set up for your viewing pleasure. A warming station will be set up with a hot drink and some "out of this world" treats. Children must be age 7 and up to attend this program. Please dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Red cellophane will be provided. For directions to the Demonstration forest, Check our web site  . If weather is questionable (too much cloud cover), call Jennifer Lolley at 707-6512 or call the Preserve and listen to a recorded message (502-4553). 

Rain date will be February 12th.

Check out images of our May 2005 Star Gaze.

Space News
John Zachry

January 9, MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System cameras will begin gathering pictures of Mercury as the probe zeros in on the planet. ... “We are about to visit Mercury for the first time in more than 30 years ... this flyby will let us see parts of Mercury never before viewed by spacecraft."

January 14, 2008 -  Mercury Messenger spacecraft will past 124 miles above the  surface of Mercury at 1:05 p.m. CST for first close-up view in 33 years. Closest  point of Mercury flyby will be on January 14 at 1:17 CST.

January 15-16, Statically coldest days of the year. 
January 22, 2008 - Mercury at greatest eastern elongation.
January 24,  Tentative launch date for Space Shuttle Atlantis carrying Columbus module to I.S.S. 
January 30, 2008 - 1 chance in 25 that asteroid "2007 WD5" will hit Mars.
January 31, 2008 - 5Oth Anniversary of Explorer I (US first satellite.)

Presidential Candidates position on Space Interesting web site:

Cool Links

New Cartes Du Ciel Beta from Rod Mollise
In case you haven't heard, there's a new version of everybody's fave astro-soft available:
Yeah, I know it's still called a "beta," but there's really no reason to stick with 2.76...this works FINE.

Astroshorts Eddie Kirkland sent those of us on the auburnastro Yahoo! Group an interesting documentary on the Rocky Mtn. Star Gaze.   There are many good videos here.  Check out “Poor Pluto”.

Comet 8P/Tuttle
After a 13.6 year absence, Comet 8P/Tuttle is once again traveling through the inner solar system. On Jan. 1 and 2, 2008, it makes its closest approach to Earth -- only 24 million miles away.  The emerald-colored comet will brighten to a predicted magnitude of 5.8, visible to the unaided eye from dark-sky sites and a fine target for backyard telescopes anywhere. for sky maps, photos and more information.

A Glossary of Astrophotography and Digital Imaging Terms, from Jerry Lodriguss 
I have just added a glossary of more than 200 astrophotography and digital imaging terms to my web site:

Universe Song
Another graphical iteration of Monty Python’s Universe Song.

Hoping to see everyone at the star gaze,