Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
In this Issue
We’ll hold our March meeting on Friday, April 2, 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. 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 6:45PM.
Our new moon star party this month will be on Saturday, April 10, at Cliff Hill’s farm
April 02, April
meeting, 7:45 PM, in room
215 of Davis Hall
April is going to be a very busy month for us. Please let me know which of these you’ll be able to help:
• April 03, American Heritage Girls Stargaze, near Prattville
Terri Klose, troop leader for her American Heritage Girls in Prattville, wrote to ask if we could bring our telescopes for the girls in her troop. The location will be at a home off of Autauga County Road 40, between Prattville and Deatsville. They want to work on their space exploration merit badge. We had to cancel the original stargaze date because of clouds. We’ve rescheduled this event for Saturday, April 3. Ray Kunert, Frank Ward, and your editor are onboard for this one.
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.
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 sent out flyers announcing a 7:00 PM start time. Sunset will be about 7:14 PM. The gate will be open from 5:30 on, if you prefer to set up your scope before dark.
Directions to Mary Olive Thomas Forest:
GPS: Latitude: 32° 34.881'N, Longitude: 85° 25.328'W
Let us know if you can bring your telescope. 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. Check out images of our previous MOTDF stargazes.
The Auburn Astronomical Society in partnership with the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, will celebrate National Astronomy Day, at the planetarium in Oak Park in Montgomery, on Saturday, April 24. Planetarium director, Rick Evans, has 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 their new facility and its 20-inch PlaneWave telescope.
Astronomy Day has traditionally been our best attended event of the year. We extend a special invitation to those of you who live too far away to attend most of our events, to come and spend the afternoon and evening with us. If you plan to attend, please let me know. If you’re bringing telescopes, let us know what type(s) and size(s). Planetarium director, Rick Evans, needs a list of names for the name tags and a head count for refreshments.
If you don’t have a telescope, but would like to help, we need volunteers to assist visitors with the AAS 8-inch and 12.5-inch Dobsonian telescopes as well as the ETX-90, the Astroscan, PST solar scope, and the 20X80 binoculars from our loaner scope collection. And, we always need help at the AAS information table where we'll have some FAQ and membership application handouts, and an e-mail sign-up sheet. We will also need someone to help keep an eye on the clock to point out satellite passes (times and locations will be provided) to our guests. We’ll also need a digital photographer to capture images for the Web page.
Here is this year’s tentative agenda:
2:00-3:00PM: AAS members and friends begin setting up telescopes in time to have them ready by the time the visitors begin arriving. If you can't be there that early, just come when you can. We'll try to set up around the entrance to the planetarium first, and save the area to the east of the sidewalk for those who arrive later.
3:00PM: Early visitors will be able to view the eight-day-old Moon, and the Sun in the light of hydrogen-alpha with the AAS PST solar scope, and members’ scopes filtered white-light images.
5:00PM: Telescope Clinic will be open for guests to bring their sick, disassembled, or otherwise malfunctioning telescopes for repair. This year, we will expand the telescope clinic to include a walking tour of our telescopes, stopping at each for the owner to describe his/her telescope, why they selected the one they did, and its assets and liabilities. If it turns out that there are six SCT's, some owners could use their time to explain:
• Why they have a box full of eyepieces and filtersBy spending five minutes or so at each telescope, we could impart a lot of information about telescopes without taxing the visitors' attention spans, and finish in time for Rick to start the indoor programs at 6:00 . When Rick turns them loose to come back out to the telescopes at 8:00, they should have a better appreciation of what they're looking through.
6:00 PM: Dr. Michael Sterner, and Dr. Michael Patton‘s presentation on the construction and operation of their new observatory at the University of Montevallo in the auditorium and door-prize drawings.
7:00 PM: Rick will present a "Tour of the Night Sky" in the planetarium, giving an overview of what the guests will see when they see when they step outside.
07:22 PM: Sunset
8:00 PM: The guests come out to view Venus, Mars, Saturn, the mountains and craters of the waxing gibbous Moon and several binary star systems. The Moon will be three days past first quarter, making the “Straight Wall” and lunar highlands an impressive view.
For those who have never attended one of our Astronomy Day events, you can get a feel for what goes on, by going to the “Field Trips” link from the AAS menu, then to “W.A. Gayle Planetarium Events”.
Here are a few reminders to help make the most
of your Astronomy Day experience:
Ray Kunert and your editor are going to
Sky View 2010, at Camp McIntosh - Indian Springs Park (near Jackson,
GA) this year. Want to join us there?
We’ve had one renewal, Aniket Shirgaokar, and two new members, Manoar Kulkarni, and Chris Young, since last month. This brings our total membership for 2010 to 20.
See the current membership list at: AAS Members
Paid members for 2010 are in blue. If you’re grayed out, you’re fading fast. 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
Apr ?? - Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), End of Primary Mission
Apr 02 - Soyuz TMA-18 Soyuz FG Launch (International
Space Station 22S)
Apr 05 - STS-131
Launch, Space Shuttle Discovery, Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Apr 05 - Cassini, Titan Flyby
Apr 07 - Cassini, Dione Flyby
Apr 12 - Dragon Qualification Unit Falcon
Apr 15 - Obama Space Summit, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Apr 22 - Lyrids Meteor Shower Peak
Apr 27 - 37th Russian Progress cargo launch to I.S.S.
Apr 28 - Cassini, Enceladus Flyby
May 14 - STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis to I.S.S.
with Russian Mini-Research Module 1
Hope to see you at the meeting, stargazes, and Astronomy Day,