Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
We’ll hold our November meeting on Friday, November 13, at 7:45PM, in room 215 of Davis Hall, the Aerospace Engineering Building. The doors to the building automatically lock at 8:00PM, so if you’re running late, rap on the door nearest our meeting room and we’ll let you in. It’s an away game weekend in Auburn, so it should be a little easier to find a parking space.
Our new moon star party this month will be on Saturday, November 14, at Cliff Hill’s farm
November 06, Normal first Friday meeting changed
to 11/13 because of home football game
This year the Elmore County Economic Development office is coordinating the 2010 crater tours on Feb. 20. Their contact is Amanda MacDonald Brasington, Tourism Coordinator. Her number is 334-514-5843. Her e-mail is: <email@example.com>. There may be a lot of interest this year, so it is wise to make reservations early.
Best wishes.. David
David T. King, Jr.
For the past several years, Jennifer Lolley
and the members of the Forest
Ecology Preserve group have invited us to come to the Mary Olive Thomas
Demonstration Forest on Moore’s Mill Road in Auburn to host a stargaze.
This year’s Fall Astronomy Night will be on Saturday evening, November
21, from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. CST. Sunset
is at 4:38 CST. If you’d like to set up your equipment before dark,
you should try to be there by 4:30. The five day old Moonset
is at 8:52. Eurpoa begins its transit of Jupiter at 7:30. Please
us know if you think you can be there with your telescope.
Directions to Mary Olive Thomas Forest:
For those coming from out of town: take exit 58 off I-85 (Tigertown exit) south (away from Tigertown) on Gateway Drive . Follow the curve toward the east and, approximately 0.7 miles after you get off the interstate, turn right on 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.
Latitude: 32° 34.881'N
If this will be your first time there, you can
have a look at our past stargazes there at:
Tom McGowan gave a wonderful presentation/demonstration of his beautifully crafted and well designed 12.5-inch telescope at our October meeting. Tom has reduced the price to $2795.00.
[Editor’s note: Club subcriptions to Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazine were sent in last month. John has written that if you missed the initial offer, he’ll still submit your discount subscription. Thanks to John for doing this for us. RDW]
AAS discount subscriptions/renewals to Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazine are due in October and November. 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
Nov. 02 Cassini spacecraft will make its deepest plume passage yet, flying 63.8 miles from the surface of Enceladus. http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/flybys/enceladus20091102/
Nov. 10 Mini-Research Module 2, a new docking
compartment for the International Space Station. launch aboard a Soyuz
rocket at 8:22 a.m. CST.
Nov. 13 Dawn spacecraft enters the Asteroid Belt
for 2nd and final time.
Nov. 16 STS-129 Launch, Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-129) launch to International Space Station at 1:28 p.m. CST. Will deliver the first two Express Logistics Carriers with an array of spare parts for the outpost
Nov. 20 Mars Fall in Mars Southern Hemisphere begins. Site of Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
Nov. 17 Leonids Meteor Shower Peak. http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/calendar/
Nov. 21 Cassini, Enceladus & Rhea Flyby
Dec. 07 Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) Delta 2 Launch at 8:10-8:23 a.m. CST. Satellite will observe the entire sky in mid-infrared wavelengths with greater sensitivity than ever before.
Dec. 12 Cassini, Titan Flyby
Dec. 13 Geminids Meteor Shower Peak
Dec. 20 Soyuz TMA-17 Soyuz FG Launch (International Space Station 21S)
Dec. 21 Winter Solstice, 17:47 UT
Dec. 22 Ursids Meteor Shower Peak
Dec. 28 Cassini, Titan Flyby
Dec. 31 Venus Express, Mars Express, End of Extended Mission
Dec. 31 Partial Lunar Eclipse
October 12-17 was supposed to be the best time of the year for regional and local star parties. Weather patterns had other ideas. William Baugh had travelled early in the week to the Peach State Star Gaze, but returned home after two nights of clouds and more in the forecast. The cold front didn’t clear the skies until Saturday night/Sunday morning. Ray Kunert and I, having more flexible schedules than some, opted to travel to Conecuh National Forest, for an all-nighter on Sunday evening (October, 18) when near perfect conditions were predicted. As is the tradition now, we stopped at the Church’s Chicken in Brewton and picked up our chicken sandwiches to go, then drove the last twenty-five miles to CNF. The trip was uneventful until we turned onto the forestry road from US 29N. The recent heavy rains left a giant mud puddle/small pond in the road and had washed out parts of the sandy road in several places. I went first in the 4WD Blazer and Ray’s minivan was able to navigate the road hazards as well as the berm at the entrance to the field by carefully attacking it from an acute angle. We dispatched several briars near where we set up the telescopes. Ray would be putting his new TEC 140 f/7 APO refractor through its first dark sky trials. I had the C-11, as usual.
Sunset was around 6:15 and Jupiter popped out easily in the deep blue sky shortly after. We ate our supper while waiting for dark. With polar alignment out of the way, we started with glorious views of the “summer” objects in the Milky Way in the west. It was soon obvious that the high humidity was going to be a problem. The transparency was good, but when you hear the dew “raining” onto the canvas tarp, it’s time to crank up the juice on the dew controllers. By 9:00, I was getting the low voltage alarm from my inverter. I replaced the first “jump start” battery with the spare as I worked westward across the sky. Ray had better luck with the dew issue, but the falling temperatures took its toll on his laptop’s battery. Fortunately, the sky is so dark, that Ray didn’t need the go to feature because so many of the objects are naked-eye down there. We continued with objects on our observing lists. The refractor was really in its element on the wide-field objects like the Double Cluster and the Andromeda complex. By midnight, the dew was winning the battle with my optics and the cold with Ray’s drive. I tried in vain for the next hour to spot some of the geo-synchronous satellites that John Tatarchuk has always been so good at finding for us. We sure missed you, John. After the batteries all died, we had our naps before heading back home at daylight.
If you’ve never observed from dark skies, you should plan to join us down there next October.
The reason for no green stars
Remember the Kiesel
Park Observatory project? Here’s AU’s 16-inch redux:
Did Galileo discover Neptune?
The famed Hubble Space Telescope is no longer the biggest space telescope, and for viewing the births of stars in the infrared, no longer the best either. The Herschel Space Telescope honors William Herschel’s discovery of heat as infrared wavelengths with just a thermometer and a prism back around 1800. Link to it at: <http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/63275062.html>
The sky is falling… Again –NOT! <http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/64430612.html>
NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft has made it possible for scientists to construct the first comprehensive sky map of our solar system and its location in the Milky Way galaxy. <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ibex/allsky_map.html>
Very few extremely massive stars collapse into black holes as they die…most instead collapse into neutron stars, which may be detected if still new enough and hot enough as pulsars in gamma ray wavelengths. Fermi is finding them by the handfuls… <http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/jul/HQ_09-153_Fermi_Probes_Pulsars.html>
Retracing the observations of Galileo
Reassembling Clyde Tombaugh's 16-inch reflecting
See the current week in space online: http://www.yearinspace.com/the-week-in-space
Blue Light <http://docs.darksky.org/PR/PR_Blue_White_Light.pdf>
White House star party: <http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/White-House-to-Host-Star-Party/>
Mysterious supernova in a class of its own
Hoping to see everyone at the meeting,