Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
October, 2008

In this Issue

Events Calendar New Member
MOTDF Stargaze Yarbrough Elementary Stargaze
Magazine Renewals Space News
Web Links Regional Star Parties
New Astronomy Clubs Horseshoe Bend Star Gaze

Events Calendar

This month’s meeting/stargaze will be on Saturday, October 4, at Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest, on Moore’s Mill RoadNote the date change.  We’re combining our October business meeting with the public stargaze.  There will be NO Friday meeting this October.

You get a choice of star party venues this month.   For those who need to stick close to home, you can go to our Macon County site at Cliff Hill’s farm.  For those die hards who don’t mind a long drive and primitive conditions, you can’t beat the Conecuh National Forest .  Both star parties will be on Saturday, October 25, clouds permitting of course. 

October 2, Lecture by Captain James Lovell at Faulkner University, Montgomery
October 4, Monthly meeting/Forest Preserve Stargaze, Saturday – NOT Friday
October 7, Yarbrough Elementary School stargaze (tentative date)
October 8, Space Shuttle Atlantis to service the Hubble for the final time
October 25, Star Party at either the Conecuh National Forest or Cliff Hill’s farm
October 28 – November 2, Deep South Regional Star Gaze XXVI
November 1, Horseshoe Bend Stargaze

New Member 

Please join me in welcoming Jennifer Reuss of Auburn.  Jennifer uses her  Orion Starblast 4.5 EQ to explore the night sky.  We look forward to seeing Jennifer and her family at our meetings and star parties.

New to the mail list this month is Gary Forsythe, who is new to the area and is interested in getting with an astronomy club. Gary and his wife have a 10” Zhumell Dobsonian,  and are itching for some dark skies to observe.

Forest Ecology Preserve Stargaze 
Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest 
Auburn AL 
Saturday, October 4, 7:00PM

Jennifer Lolley and the members of her forest ecology preserve group have invited us back to the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest for a stargaze.  Jennifer has already sent out flyers announcing a 7:00 PM start time.  Sunset will be about 6:20 PM.  The gate will be open from 5:30 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 Moore’s 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.  Here is the list of volunteers we have to date.  Let us know if we can add your name. 

• Rhon is bringing the AAS 8-inch (need someone to act as facilitator)
• Russell Whigham, C-11 SCT, 
• Mike Holley, CPC-1100, SCT
• Frank Ward, 12-inch Dobsonian. 
• Alan Cook Meade 10-inch SCT 
• Jason Hill, CPC1100, SCT
• John Tatarchuk, 18-inch Dobsonian
• Jennifer Reuss, Orion Starblast 4.5 EQ 
Here is Jennifer's announcement: 
"Starry Nights" 
Saturday, October 4th 
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 with a laser light. The Auburn Astronomical Society will have their high-powered telescopes set up for your viewing pleasure. A Space movie will be shown with "out-of-this-world" treats! Children must be age 6 and up to attend this program. Please 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).

If you’d like to help, but don’t have a telescope, we’ll need someone to point out the four, 3rd magnitude or brighter satellites during the first half hour. 

Remember to wear your AAS Shirt.  Check out images of our 2005 and 2008 MOTDF stargazes.

Yarbrough Elementary School Star Gaze
John Tatarchuk

Now that I'm back in Auburn, my mother wants me to come in to her 3rd grade class some time during the day and do the sun.  I was curious if the PST was available?  It would be great to show the kids two different parts of Sol, the chromosphere and photosphere, especially if it is quiet and boring in the photosphere.

Additionally, I told my mom that I would be willing to do a star party for her class or even the whole school.  She told the principal and he wants to do it.  I could bring at least my two scopes (18" and 25"), but I was curious if you think that this might be something the club could officially host?  Personally, if I had to choose a date, I'd pick first quarter moon, October.  The time change should have just happened, so it will be getting darker earlier, and I think Jupiter should still be around in the evening.  October's a pretty clear time of year too, and there are also lots of bright deep space objects that would be viewable under Auburn city skies, like M15, the Double Cluster, Alberio, etc. 


Magazine Renewals

AAS discount subscriptions/renewals to Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazine are due in October and November.  We need 5 subscriptions to qualify for each magazine.  Sky & Telescope discount rate is $ 32.95 (Regular $ 42.95), and  Astronomy magazine is $34.00 for AAS members (Regular $ 42.95).  Subscriptions for to both will be $66.95. 

Make checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society. Only members of Auburn Astronomical Society are entitled to club subscription rates. If you are unable to attend our October meeting, mail checks to: 

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

Space News
John Zachry

October 2008 - China's Shenzhou 7 spacecraft with 3 "Taikonauts" launch
October 6 - 2nd Mercury Messenger spacecraft flyby of Mercury 3:39 a.m. CDT
October 9 - Cassini spacecraft passes Enceladus at height of 15.5 miles!
October 12 - Expedition 18 Soyuz spacecraft to I.S.S. with Richard Gsarriott tourist
October 14 - Space Shuttle Atlantis to Hubble Space Telescope for repair launch
Late Hubble News:  Hubble Mission Delayed

Web Links

Looking for something to fill that empty space in your eyepiece case?  How about a 17 mm TeleVue a 100 degree Ethos to complement your 8mm and 13mm.  Go ahead and preorder for your 2009 delivery.  $750.00 

First ever image of a planet orbiting *another* star. <>

From Edwin Wisse, sct-user@yahoogroups

Somebody has added a nice toy to the flickr photo site, especially for astrophotographers. When you put an astrophoto online and add it to the "astrometry" photo group a tool called the blind astrometry solver
automatically annotates your photos with the stars and objects on it.

For two examples see my two (not very good) astrophotos:
Actually they are pretty bad photos but you get the idea.

The astrometrics photo group can be found on:

From Larry Owsley

The Personal Stories Behind the [Particle] Physics

Earth from space:  A magnificent video of Earth from space (day and night (whew, this really highlights the areas of human congestion and light pollution)) along with astronaut spacewalks:  <>  The images showing day/night are mosaics with artificial terminators.

World AstroCast has a "Live" broadcast . The speaker on Sat 4th October at 20-00hrs UT is Prof Pamela L. Gay of the southern Illinois University, and Astronomycast fame. Her presentation is entitled "The Origins of the Universe". In this talk she will address the Big Bang and how we know it happened. She will travel through three lines of evidence, following from Olbers paradox, through helium abundances, up through the microwave background.  The webinar is available on the following URL

Farthest Seeable Thing:

Regional Star Parties

Deep South Regional Stargaze XXVI
Tuesday, October 28th - Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Camp Ruth Lee, Louisiana 

DSRSG Liability Release and Registration forms are in the files section of the Yahoo Group at: 
Checks should be made payable to "DSRSG" and sent to :
Len Philpot
DSRSG Director
110 Choctaw Drive
Pineville, LA 71360

Georgia Sky View 2009
The Flint River Astronomy Club will host its fifth annual Star Party on April 23- 26, 2009, Camp McIntosh - Indian Springs Park.

New Alabama Astronomy Clubs

The University of Montevallo is well on the way to completing their James Wiley Shepard Observatory and have already formed an astronomy club. Check out their Web pages for the dome, telescope , and construction photos  The dome will be installed the week of 29 September.

David Hofland, who lives in Centre AL wrote to ask about observing at the Conecuh National Forest.  David writes: 

We just got this little club (Jacksonville State University/Northeast Alabama Astronomy League "JSU/NEAAL") started up here about a year ago.  Me and a physics professor here got it started but its been slow going getting membership.  We still just a few, a very few, active members.  We don't have a website, we aren't listed anywhere and we don't even charge dues.  One day..... 

Again, thanks so much for putting me on the email list and for letting me tag along next time, hopefully 25 October!  I really look forward to it. 

Both are now linked from the AAS Links/Neighboring Societies.

Horseshoe Bend Stargaze

We'll be offering another stargazing event at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park on November 1 starting at 7:00 and ending when the last person goes home. We had a good turn out last February and hope to have a repeat.  Any help from AAS members or friends would be great. Please let me know if you can make it. 

Rand Becker

Here is our link to last February’s stargaze at Horseshoe Bend: 

Hoping to see everyone at the stargaze,