In this Issue
this month's meeting on Friday, April 1, at 7:45PM, room
215 of Davis Hall, 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 6:45PM.
party this month will be on Saturday, April 9, in conjunction
with the Forest Preserve Stargaze, on Moore’s Mill Road (see
April 01, Monthly
meeting 7:45PM, in room 215 of Davis Hall.
New Moon; Saturn at opposition
Forest Preserve Stargaze 7:00-9:00
First quarter moon
Full Moon, Moon at perigee (another Big Moon)
Third quarter Moon
May 03, New
May 07, Astronomy
Day for 2011/ May AAS meeting
May 10, First
May 17, Full
May 24, Third
2011 will be on Saturday, May 7, at the W.
A. Gayle Planetarium . Here are the programs Rick is working on for
the space Chimp; Retired Col. Marvin Grunzke; Faulkner University professor
let me know if you can help with your telescope. More on this
Camp;Melissa Snider, Camp Education Programs Manager,
• The James
Wylie Shepherd Observatory; Dr. Michael Patton & Dr. Michael Sterner,
University of Montevallo
Aliens: Friends, Foes, or Just Curious?" By George Michael
Ecology Preserve Stargaze
Thomas Demonstration Forest
April 9, 2011
Lolley and the members of her Forest Ecology Preserve group have invited
us back to the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest for this year’s “Spring
be just after 7:00pm. The gate will be open from 5:30 on if you prefer
to set up your scope before dark. We’ll need 10-12 telescopes
to accommodate the usual 200+ visitors. Please
let me know if you can help with your telescope.
to Mary Olive Thomas Forest:
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.
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
If this will
be your first time there, you can have a look at our past stargazes there
would enjoy this Northern Lights video. My wife found and shared it.
to be amazed at the beautiful planetary images by Brian Combs from
his observatory near Buena Vista, GA. http://www.bcastropics.com/images
John Zachry, wrote to say that Gail Smitherman has renewed her membership.
Gail is our only member from the Selma area and finds it difficult
to attend most of our events, but we hope to see her again this year for
Hofland, Centre AL
just finished a new 16" f/4.5 and I am about finished with a 22" f/3.6.
Weather hasn't been very cooperative, and I'm beginning to think my new
telescopes are to blame . Hopefully the clear moonless nights
will return soon.
wanted to remind you guys, that I had finally been relocated to Newport
News, Va. So it would be a bit difficult to get to a meeting.
Please, (reluctantly) remove my email address from your list.
be missed, Elliot. At least now, you’re bilingual and shouldn’t have
much trouble speaking Virginian. ;-) We enjoyed your stay here.
I received this e-mail:
name is Kelly Nicastro and I am a writer for the Auburn Plainsman.
This week I'm writing an article about Virgin's commercial space flight
proposal and was wondering if I could ask you about your thoughts on the
idea. I'd like to know whether or not you think that traveling commercially
into space is a good or bad idea and what could be the consequences or
benefits that could come from it.. Thank you so much for your time. Look
forward to hearing from you.
the message to Rhon. Here’s his excellent summary:
My name is
Rhonald Jenkins. I'm a retired Emeritus Professor of Aerospace Engineering
at Auburn University and president of The Auburn Astronomical Society.
During the past 40 years, I've worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry
and been involved as a faculty member in research with government agencies,
primarily NASA. FWIW, I'll give you my 2 cents. Please note
that this is my opinion only and I do not in any way represent Auburn University
with this opinion.
Any large scale
effort in spaceflight must involve government support, simply because of
the tremendous sums of money involved. Private industry either does
not have the huge amounts of capital outlay required, or is unwilling to
risk the entire cost. One cannot blame them for this, since companies
are businesses run for profit, and most of them have to answer to their
NASA is a government
agency, and like all such agencies is a bureaucracy. The tendency
for NASA is to be very conservative, especially since the shuttle accidents.
For instance, the space shuttle of today was designed over 40 years ago.
No major design changes have been made over that time, though several have
been suggested. This is certainly understandable, but tends to repress
more creative approaches to a problem. Companies could be (but are
not necessarily) more creative in their thinking. But make no mistake
about it; industry can make creative mistakes too. Unfortunately, the usual
rule in both government and industry when a new idea is presented is "that's
a great idea ... we'll might try it someday, but we need something we are
sure will work right now". So advances in, say, propulsion systems
I think that
the most efficient approach for commercial spaceflight is to have a true
partnership between government and industry. By this I mean that
government would provide significant startup money so that all the risk
would not be assumed by industry. Government (NASA) would NOT impose
significant restrictions or rules on the use of the money, except for a
mutual agreement as to what the final goal is. Personally, I believe
that NASA should stick to what is done so beautifully in the past .. unmanned
exploration of the solar system and basic research. The partnership
would then concentrate on commercial spaceflight.
a lot of time to answer your basic question about commercial spaceflight,
but here it is in a nutshell: development of commercial spaceflight
is an absolute necessity if humankind is to really blossom into space.
I'm certain, however, that this will not happen until commercial spaceflight
is made profitable
Sterner, University of Montevallo
28 Mar 2011
would like to express our gratitude to the UM community and to all JWSO
supporters. We were awarded $1,500 in grant money from the Rain Bird Intelligent
Use of Water competition.
to support us in #2 and #3 below. The voting (and viewing) ends 30 June
James Wylie Shepherd Observatory is attempting to construct an outbuilding
consisting of a control room, storage room, and restroom with self-composting
toilets and recycled rainwater.
proposals will help us raise the necessary funds for the project.
Vote for our Intelligent Use of Water Award grant proposal at http://www.iuowawards.com/Projects.aspx#project|b7a1c29f-9b49-4130-9493-776b04583c4d
putting a shortcut to the site on your computer desktop, and vote daily
to help support the growth of the James Wylie Shepherd Observatory complex
at the University of Montevallo.
You may vote
once per day. Voting ends on 22 March 2011.
- $3000) Vote for our True Hero: Rewarding Community Service grant proposal
You may only
vote once per email address, and you must supply your email address to
confirm your vote. (You will receive a confirmation email to validate your
vote, but will not be put on any spam lists.)
Watch the YouTube Video at the above link! This is a separate competition.
You may watch
the YouTube video as often as you like (as often as possible).
The True Hero
voting ends 30 June 2011.
With many thanks,
Hope to see
everyone at the meeting,