Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
February, 2008

In this Issue

February Events AAS Membership Dues
AAS Shirts are Here Horseshoe Bend Star Gaze
Forest Ecology Preserve Star Gaze Cool Links

February Events

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, February 1, 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. 

In lieu of our regular dark-sky star party, we’ll be helping with the Horseshoe Bend star gaze on Saturday, February 9, clouds permitting of course.  See details below.

February 1, Jupiter and Venus 0.6 degrees apart in the predawn sky
February 1, February meeting in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building
February 9, Horseshoe Bend Star Gaze
February 6, New Moon
February 13, First quarter Moon
February 20, Full Moon + Total Lunar Eclipse
February 28, Third quarter Moon 

2008 AAS Membership Dues
John B. Zachry

AAS membership dues ($20.00) were 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
Contact John at if you have questions.
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 Paid
Kim Cluck W Kim Paid
Mike Holley M XL 1 Mike Paid
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.  So we can get your shirts to you, please make your checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society send to: 

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

Randall Becker, park ranger at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, is hosting a stargazing / astronomy program  at the park on Saturday, February 9.  It will begin at 7:00 with a short PowerPoint presentation covering light pollution awareness, basic orientation to the night sky and some Creek / Cherokee star myths.  We will then move out to the parking lot and have a constellation tour with more stories.  Please let me or Rand know if you plan to bring your scope to help.  Horseshoe Bend is located ten miles north of Dadeville on ALA 49. It's about one hour from Auburn / Opelika; and 1.5 hours from Montgomery. Sunset will be about 5:25 pm.

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

At the invitation of Jennifer Lolley, administrator of the Forest Ecology Preserve in Auburn, we helped share the night sky with an estimated 200 visitors who braved the January cold to enjoy the experience.  Representing AAS were:

Mike Holley, CPC 1100 SCT
Russell Whigham, C-11 SCT
Alan and Susie Cook, 10-inch Meade LX-50 SCT
Allen Screws, the AAS 8-inch Dobsonian 
William and Olivia Baugh, 18-inch StarMaster Dobsonian
Rhon and Joyce Jenkins 
Jeff Louge and Erika Lefever 
Frank Ward
The event was held on the grounds of the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest, located on Moore’s Mill Road.  Jennifer had astronomical exhibits set up under the pavilion along with patio heaters as warming stations.  Snacks provided for the guests included coffee, hot cocoa, Rocket juice (Kool-Aid), Milky Ways and Moon Pies, and Starbursts.  She also had red lens filters for the visitors’ flashlights.

For most of the afternoon the skies were overcast.  We went with the Clear Sky Clock prediction of clearing by 8:00.  By 5:00PM as we began setting up the telescopes, we could see breaks in the clouds and were rewarded with mostly clear skies by 7:30.

Promptly at 7:00PM, the program began with a welcome by Jennifer followed by an overview of the evening’s activities.  She then introduced AAS president, Rhon Jenkins, who in turn introduced the AAS members who brought their telescopes.  Rhon then went on to explain how the telescope enables us to see small and faint objects in the night sky, using the AAS 8-inch loaned scope in the demonstration.  At the conclusion of Rhon’s talk, the visitors headed out into the darkness.

Out on the observing field, Jennifer siphoned off some of the group for a constellation recognition presentation using her green laser pointer, while other visitors queued up behind the telescopes.  The  four-day-old Moon, Uranus, and Pallas, had slipped behind the pine trees, and Comet Tuttle was hazed out by the time the visitors approached the scopes, but with the Moon out of the way, the prospects of the winter deep-sky objects were suddenly an option.  Guests were treated to views of Mars, the Orion Nebula, open clusters M-35, M-41, M-46, M-47, and the Andromeda Galaxy.  
Thanks to Jennifer Lolley and AAS event coordinator, Rhon Jenkins, for his work to make this happen.  See images of the event under “Field Trips/Educational Outreach/ Mary Olive Thomas Forest Preserve 2008

Cool Links

Georgia Sky View, April 19th - 22nd, 2007

More proof of Life on Mars

Asteroid 2007 TU24 Flyby

The sky is falling!

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting and star gaze,