Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
This month’s meeting will be on Friday, June 6, 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.
Our regular dark-sky star party will be on Saturday, June 28, at Cliff Hill’s farm, clouds permitting of course.
June 6, meeting in room 215 of the Aerospace
Astronomy Day fell later than usual this year. It was Mother’s Day weekend. It was also warmer. But the biggest obstacle to another successful Astronomy Day was to be the clouds.
Because of the uncertainty of the weather, and the price of gasoline, out of town volunteers were excused from their commitments. Astronomy Day has always been a “rain or shine” event. So, dismal skies not withstanding, we celebrated Astronomy Day 2008 on Saturday, May 10, at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium in Oak Park in Montgomery for the eleventh consecutive year. Planetarium director, Rick Evans, worked with us again to bring astronomy to the people.
Rick had appeared as a guest on the interview segment of the 12:00 news on WSFA , channel 12, on April, 21, to promote Astronomy Day. He followed up on his excellent presentation, by having a promo aired on Alabama Public Radio's WTSU-89.9 (Troy and Montgomery) as well as sister stations,WRWA-88.7, and WTJB-91.7, following "Star Date", Mon - Fri 2:57PM; Sat 11:55AM (underwritten by the planetarium). Ray Kunert and I had set up the 12.5-inch Dobsonian in the planetarium lobby in hopes of stimulating some interest with the planetarium visitors, prior to our event. We also had excellent promotion for the event by Rich Thomas, at WSFA, channel 12. We were assured of having a good turn out, regardless of the sky conditions.
Ray was ready at 3:00PM for solar viewing, indulging those who insisted on looking at cloud bottoms in the light of H-alpha through the telescope. By 4:00, we began to get a few breaks in the clouds – enough to have glimpses of the totally bland solar surface, completely devoid of sunspots or prominences, and very soft image of the cloud filtered five-day old Moon.
We brought the AAS’s 12.5-inch Dobsonian out of the planetarium lobby for its debut in its reconfigured design to allow time for the primary mirror to reach thermal equilibrium.
At 6:00, Rick welcomed the visitors into the auditorium for the presentations and door-prize drawings. In a very thoughtful gesture by Rick, all of the mothers were given carnations.
It was at this time that Rick had pizzas and cold drinks delivered for the AAS volunteers.
At 7:00, Rick gave a "Tour of the Night Sky" in the planetarium, giving the guests a preview of what they would see when they see when they stepped outside.
At sunset, right on cue, the clouds began to dissipate, the shadows grew crisper, the sky bluer, and by the time the estimated crowd of over 100 visitors exited the auditorium at 8:00 they were treated to a cloud-free sky, for telescopic viewing of binary stars, the planet Saturn, its rings and moons, and the mountains and craters of the five-day-old Moon.
Thanks to the following who volunteered their time and telescopes:
Ray Kunert; AAS PST
solar scope and AASs 12.5-inch
And special thanks to Rick Evans, who, year after year, seems to out-do himself to make our annual joint venture a big success. Thank you, Rick!
Images at http://www.auburnastro.org/aday_08.htm. Or, from the Main Menu, select: “Field Trips”/”W.A. Gayle Planetarium”/”Astronomy Day, 2008”.
If the sky is clear, we will have an excellent opportunity to see the International Space Station with its crew of ten pass over Montgomery-Auburn-West Point on Monday, June 9 and again on Wednesday, June 11. On Monday, June 9 the I.S.S. can be seen traveling from Northwest to Southeast between 8:52 p.m. - 8:57 p.m. CDT (9:52 p.m. to 9:57 p.m. EDT). On Wednesday the I.S.S. can be seen traveling again from Northwest to Southeast this time between 8:01 p.m. - 8:07 p.m. CDT (9:01 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. EDT). The I.S.S. will be approximately 210 miles above the Earth traveling at a speed of approximately 17,240 mph. The I.S.S. will be much brighter than usual due to the addition of the large Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” which is 36.7 feet long and 14.4 feet in diameter having a weigh of approximately 32,600 pounds. The I.S.S. will have the appearance of a very bright fast moving star easily seen without binoculars or a telescope
June 7 - Launch date for the Gamma-ray Large Area
Space Telescope, or GLAST.
Follow the latest news from the Mars Phoenix Mission
New hardware from the Northeast Astronomy Forum & Telescope Show Videos
Rod Mollise’s Used SCT Buyer’s Guide
From David McConnell: I think if you were to add the sky clock you would have everything you need to predict what a weekend was gonna be like anywhere in the world. It's called Crawler 3 D Earth screen saver but you can keep looking and adding and Doppler, moisture, you can speed up or slow down the animation...you just have to check it out.
Tonight’s Sky (and archives) Press [Play Movie]
The International Astronomical Union’s Communicating Astronomy with the Public
Joe Champion wrote:
I drove past this site yesterday in Elmore Co. I thought it was real interesting. It is near Titus off 231.
Thanks for passing this along.
Shane Bledsoe has his 8-inch Meade LX200
up for sale. See images on the AAS “Exchange”
Here's an update on the status of our loaner scopes:
Ray Kunert discovered that the PST has a stripped tripod leg-adjustment clamp screw. He's going to see if epoxy will make it like new. Otherwise we'll see if Orion can help us.
The 12.5-inch preformed wonderfully at Astronomy Day. I didn't get a chance to weigh the two major components --we kinda had our hands full. Ray had a plaque made acknowledging the folks who contributed to its restoration. John, Ray needs a check for $36.28 for the plaque. I'll bring the receipt to the meeting.
Ray Kunert has had a plaque made for Auburn
Astronomical Society’s 12.5-inch f/7 telescope:
Bom dia, from Fortaleza, Brazil. The sky here is usually partly covered with thin clouds but I am able to see Omega Centauri well with my 10x binoculars. I hope that the later part of the trip will have darker sky sights but then there will be more of a moon. Send my best to those reading the Astrofiles.Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,