Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
March, 2010

In this Issue

Events Calendar Wetumpka Crater Lecture
2010 Membership Astronomy Day, 2010
Winter Constellation Class
Outreach Volunteers Needed 

Events Calendar

We’ll hold our March meeting on Friday, March 5, 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. 

Our new moon star party this month will be on Saturday, March 13, at Cliff Hill’s farm

March 05, March meeting, 7:45 PM, in  room 215 of Davis Hall
March 13, Star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
March 14,  Spring ahead to Daylight Savings Time
March 15,  New Moon
March 20,  Vernal Equinox, spring begins at 12:33 PM CDT today
March 20,  American Heritage Girls Stargaze?
March 22,  Saturn at opposition, with the rings now about 10 degrees open
March 23,  First quarter moon
March 25,  Moon passes four degrees south of Mars
March 30,  Full Moon
April 02,   April meeting, 7:45 PM, in  room 215 of Davis Hall
April 03,   American Heritage Girls Stargaze?
April 06,    Last quarter moon
April 10   Star party at Cliff Hill’s farm
April 14,   New Moon
April 16,  Eastwood School Stargaze in Pike Road 
April 17, Forest Ecology Preserve stargaze at the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest
April 22,   First quarter moon
April 23,   Moon passes 4.4 degrees south of Mars
April 24, National Astronomy Day
April, 25   Waxing gibbous moon passes 7 degrees south of Saturn
April, 28   Full Moon
May, 13-16  Georgia Sky View 2010, Camp McIntosh - Indian Springs Park (near Jackson, GA)

2010 Membership

We currently have 17 official AAS members: 

  • Joe Albree
  • Andy Camerio
  • Alan Cook 
  • Jason  Davis 
  • Abhijeet Deshpande 
  • Mike Holley 
  • August & Debra Johnson 
  • Ray Kunert 
  • Jim McLaughlin 
  • Michael Pastorett 
  • Allen Screws 
  • William T. Sprankle 
  • Scott Thompson 
  • Frank Ward 
  • Robert West 
  • Russell Whigham 
  • John B. Zachry
If you thought you had paid for the current year but don't see your name listed, contact AAS treasurer, John B. Zachry to resolve the discrepancy. 

AAS memberships ($20.00/$10.00 for full-time students) are due in January. Make checks payable to “Auburn Astronomical Society”.  If you’re unable to attend our March meeting, mail your dues to: 

Auburn Astronomical Society 
c/o John B. Zachry 
501 Summerfield Road 
West Point, GA 31833
If this will be your first time to join,  please print out the Membership Application form, and include it with your check.  We need your address to ensure that you’ll receive your Reflector. 

Special thanks to those members who do not attend on a regular basis but still want to help us out by paying AAS. membership dues. 

Winter Constellation Class

You may recall that Jennifer Lolley had scheduled her winter constellation class on the evening of Friday, February 12.  You may also recall that it snowed that day.  Jennifer’s rain/snow date was the following Saturday.  Jennifer wrote:

We had it -- a great turn out for the weather. The skies were perfect. Had over 30 in attendance. I think they learned a lot. I had created a pretty good power point to show them what we would be looking for. My laser light did not work well. Guess we are getting too much light out there now. I am going to go out to Kiesel Park and see if it would work better for our programs. Do we want to set a rain date for the April program?
Thanks, Jen

Jennifer Lolley

Wetumpka Crater Lecture

Tomma and Michael Pastorett, Ray and Ann Kunert, and your editor, attended the lecture given by Dr. David T. King Jr., on February 18, in Wetumpka. Dr. King  opened his presentation with an overview of discoveries made at the crater through 2008, then recounted the details of his new NASA funded research from four new core wells made this past summer.  I’ll try to summarize: 

Recall that the remaining crater rim is a horseshoe shape, with the south rim missing.  Originally it was thought that the asteroid came in from the northeast at a low angle and blew the south wall out.  The new core well samples strongly suggest that the southern wall of the crater was first pulled deeper into the sea that covered the site, then returned as the associated tsunami washed the separated crater wall section back into the newly formed crater, filling it in with remnants of the southern wall.   This is a very simplified version of Dr. King’s conclusions.  Be sure to attend his next lecture for a thorough explanation. See the AAS crater page at

Astronomy Day

Astronomy Day 2010 is set for Saturday, April 24 at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, in Montgomery.  Planetarium director, Rick Evans, has already secured the keynote speakers, Dr. Michael Sterner, and Dr. Michael Patton, directors of the James Wiley Shepherd Observatory at the University of Montevallo.  Their presentation will include the construction and operation of the facility and its 20-inch PlaneWave telescope. 

Outreach Volunteers Needed

Eastwood Christian School

Tracy Shamburger, a parent at Eastwood Christian School, wrote to request that we host a stargaze on Friday, April 16, at a farm in Pike Road.  If there is any way you could make this event that would be great.  I replied to Tracy that we already had another stargaze scheduled in Auburn on Saturday, April 17, and that our annual Astronomy Day event at the planetarium here in Montgomery would be on the following Saturday, April 24.  I know that we’re going to be quite busy with events in the middle of April, but if you can help, please let me know so I can let Tracy know our plans.

American Heritage Girls' Leader Troop 0125

Terri Klose, troop leader for her American Heritage Girls wrote to ask if we could bring our telescopes to her Millbrook home in for the girls on.  She wrote that It was fairly dark at night in their 4 acre backyard.  They want to work on the merit badge, Space Exploration, and suggested dates of  March 20, March 27, April 3, or April 24

 I suggested the March 20, as a target date, with  April 3 as a second best choice.

When Terri comes up with a date certain, we’ll need volunteers with telescopes.

Have a good meeting.  I'll see you at the stargazes,