Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
April, 2008

In this Issue

Events Calendar Maxwell AFB Star Gaze
Astronomy Day Help Wanted
Space News Web Links

Events Calendar

This month’s meeting will be on Friday, April 4, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.  If the sky is clear, some of us will be at the Georgia Sky View.  If it’s cloudy, 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.

The parking  situation behind the Aerospace Engineering Building has changed.  The only access now is from West Magnolia.  You may still park behind Samford Hall in the Student Union Building parking lot and walk the remaining half block, but will not be able to drive through.

Our regular dark-sky star party will be on the following Saturday, April 5, at Cliff Hill’s farm, clouds permitting of course.  Will anyone be joining me at the Georgia Sky View?

April 4, meeting in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building
April 5, dark-sky star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
April 4-6, Georgia Sky View, Indian Springs GA
April 8, Moon occults the Pleiades
April 18, Maxwell AFB Star Gaze (see below)
May 10, Astronomy Day at W.A. Gayle Planetarium

Maxwell AFB Star Gaze

My name is Mellisa Mullin. I am the Reading Teacher for Maxwell AFB Elementary School.  We are hosting an event to coincide with our School Book Fair called “Reading Under the Stars”.  This takes place on Friday, April 18th beginning at 7p.m.  We were wondering if you would be interested in setting up some of your telescopes to enhance our event even further.

The students bring books, sleeping bags, flashlights, tents, etc. and set up in the dark to read under the stars.  We also have fire pits and roast marshmallows and make smores.  It is a wonderful event for the students and the addition of the telescopes would be simply amazing!  Your group came a few years ago for another event hosted at our school with Mrs. Becky Hill and the Gifted students and she highly recommended you to come again.  Please let me know if this is something that can be arranged.

Hello Mellisa,

Thank you for writing.  Yes, we'd love to bring the telescopes and help in any way we can.  Because of the brightness of the Moon (will be full only two days later), about all we'll be able to view with the telescopes will be the Moon and Saturn, but if that's OK, we'll plan to be there.  It may be possible for us to point out some satellite passages as well.  I'll add your request to the April newsletter and see how many other volunteers we can get.

If possible, we'd like to set the scopes up on an open grassy area, and because some of the scopes are rather large and heavy, we will need to be able to park near this area as well.

Sunset will be at 7:15 p.m.  We'll plan to be there before sunset, but it won't be dark until about 8:00 p.m.

Looking forward to our visit,


That is so awesome…I am so glad that you can bring the telescopes!   We will find the best possible place for you to set up the telescopes as well.  We have plenty of grassy places surrounding our school.  I will be in touch with the details and will probably meet you at the gate the evening of the event.  
I look forward to meeting you.  I know the students will enjoy the view through the telescopes no matter what…just being able to see into space is exciting!!! Thank you for adding us to your calendar.
As soon as you know who will be accompanying you to the base I need to know their names…first and last…so we can get you all a Pass and ID from the base…you will all need insurance, car registration, and your own ID (driver’s license) to get a vehicle on base.  I can meet you at the base gate that night.  


Mellisa Mullin

If you live in the Montgomery area and think that you can bring your scope to help with this, please let me know, so I can get a list to Mellisa for base security.

Astronomy Day

We will celebrate Astronomy Day 2008 with the public on May 10, at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium .  Planetarium director, Rick Evans, is working with us again to bring astronomy to the people for the eleventh consecutive year. 

We’ll follow a similar agenda to past years.  We will begin at mid-afternoon with solar viewing for early arrivals.  Later we’ll hold the telescope clinic, followed by a program (TBA) in the auditorium, and winding up with telescopic viewing at about 8:00 pm.  

Aside from the volunteers who bring their personal scopes, we will need someone to assist the visitors with the AAS, PST solar scope, the 8-inch Dobsonian, and the 12.5-inch Dobsonian, where it will make its debut in its reconfigured design.  

We’ll also need volunteers to help at the AAS information table, and with satellite observing.

Help Wanted

From: "david gunnells"

I'm writing to see if perhaps anyone in the Auburn Astronomical Society took pictures/video of a brilliant earth grazing meteor we witnessed during the Leonid shower of 2001 the night/morning of Nov. 17/18.

Space News

From: Everett Leonard 
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 02:09:29 -0000
Subject: ISS/Shuttle/ATV

Hope others were fortunate enough to see this evening's pass of the European ATV "Jules Verne" followed by Shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station.

The ATV rose in the southwest and passed through Canis Major before disappearing into the Earth's shadow. It was bright enough to be spotted easily.

Several minutes later, the Station rose and was so bright I could see it through the tree line before it cleared. Endeavour was performing the flyaround maneuver at the time, heading behind then below the station. They were difficult to separate at first, but as they 
climbed in apparent altitude, I could easily distinguish Endeavour through binoculars as it moved behind the Station. It was also interesting that after they passed into shadow, I could still follow the Station in binoculars nearly all the way to the eastern horizon. 
NASA TV showed lights shining from Endeavour toward the station, which may have been the source of illumination, at least in part.  The TV image from the Station camera was also impressive in that you could see the Orbiter's maneuvering thrusters firing in the darkness.

Web Links

Arthur C. Clarke 1918-2008    

From: Syd Spain 

I feel sure that you’ve heard of Microsoft’s Worldwide Telescope.  If not, it might be of interest to club members, since it is due for release sometime this spring.  Here are a couple of links:  


Hoping to see everyone soon,